By Hara Henshell, Director of Member Services
CHANGE. Few words can elicit such a spectrum of emotions. Change can be exciting, like when you get a new car; change can be stressful, like when you start a new class; change can be adventurous, like when you try a new hair color; change can be devastating, like when you lose a loved one; change can be rewarding, like when you get a promotion; and change can be intimidating, like when you are the first to create the change.
What feelings does the idea of creating change bring out in you?
In preparing to write this blog post I asked myself the same question. My initial reaction was that change can be hard and scary. However, in thinking about it further, I quickly realized that change has been an underlying theme throughout my experience in Phi Mu. I joined my chapter at a time of great change.
Within my first year we doubled in size which required changing everything from where we held meetings to how we matched big and little sisters. Although this change came with some growing pains, the benefits were obvious as we were able to welcome so many into the bond of Phi Mu.
As president I was responsible for leading my chapter through the challenge of changing much of the way we had “always” done things to better follow Phi Mu policy and ensure a positive experience for all members. Many of these changes were difficult and at times unpopular. Looking at everything that needed to change was overwhelming, but one step at a time, we were able to make change. With the support of our adviser, area, and national officers, the members began to embrace the change and grew into a stronger and more stable chapter that would continue to flourish for years to come.
As an alumna Phi Mu, I continued to create opportunities for change when I was offered a position at the National Headquarters and moved 800 miles away from home, by far the biggest personal change I had ever made. Although changing careers and moving to Georgia was scary, the opportunity to take my dream job and the knowledge that I would be surrounded by Phi Mu sisters gave me the confidence to make the change.
As Director of Member Services, change continues to be a large part of my Phi Mu experience. I work with both chapters and individual members on a daily basis who are faced with creating change and am constantly inspired by their ability to do so. From making the necessary operational changes to function more efficiently, to taking on an executive committee position, to reaching total for the first time in 15 years, our members and chapters prove they are capable of challenging the norm and creating change.
National Hazing Prevention week is drawing to a close, but the opportunity it presents for creating change continues. I challenge you to think about your own experiences with change. I think you will find, like I did, that while change can be hard, it can also be necessary and rewarding.