It can be easy to get lost in the thrill of a new semester. New classes, new friends, new awkward ice-breakers, but most importantly; new knowledge. This semester has already started off as one of the most intense, yet rewarding times of my life. At the end of last semester I was elected as President of the National Panhellenic Association on campus. In short, I act as the liaison between the Panhellenic sororities (all 17 of them), and the University of Michigan. This job was not at all what I expected, however the experience has been exhilarating. My life has gone from occasional all nighters and the library and working 20-30 hours at a local restaurant, to limited sleep and constant meetings and emails. On top of all of this, I am starting an LSAT prep course in the middle of February. This will be a task that I have never endeavored before, but that I am welcoming with open arms.
I’m the type of person who loves to be busy, but this new constantly stressful lifestyle has taught me a lot about myself:
- Put yourself first. Not in the sense that everything I choose to do has to be selfish, but in the sense that my health and wellbeing is essential to keep everything I do running well. If I am not putting myself and my needs first, I will fail at all else I try to accomplish.
- Honesty is the best policy. No matter what situation I’m put into, no matter who is in the room with me, and no matter who I will potentially hurt; honesty is the best policy. If I am to leave a legacy and my “mark” on my community, I want it to begin and end with honesty and integrity.
- Utilize your connections. When you’re involved in as many organizations and ventures as I am, it can be easy to get lost in all the connections you hold. However something that I have found to be crucial is leveraging your connections and now shielding them selfishly from others. Sharing connections with others opens doors for collaborations, connections, and potentially innovative ideas.
- Be mindful of others. Working in an environment consisting of many nationalities and being a person of Hawaiian descent, I always considered myself mindful of others. Yet I found that as a culture we speak and act in ways that are not openly offensive, yet still cause harm. I have put it upon myself to be mindful of the way in which I speak and act towards all individuals, to create a respective and welcoming environment.
- Break stereotypes. Ah. The number of times I’ve told people that I am in a certain sorority or a member of Greek Life and they have said “what? but you’re so down to earth?” is quite sad. Greek Life has a reputation of wealth, disrespect, sexual assault, and risky behaviors. Although this may be a cultural phenomenon or the act of a few individuals, it is my goal to break stereotypes everywhere I go and to encourage others to do the same.
- Leave a legacy. Now, this bullet point is a bit more difficult to write. Solely because the word “legacy” carries such a heavy weight and the need for substantial change or impression. Yet, I believe leaving a legacy can be as simple as making friends who speak highly of you, creating one program that really speaks to a sorority, or just helping one person overcome a mental health disorder. I want to leave a legacy.
The semester has started, but my intentions and hope for the future have only begun.