When the opportunity to become ATC arose, I was a bit nervous. I had been involved with Delta Gamma on an alumnae level, but I had not been involved on the collegiate side since my own collegiate experience. I expected to be viewed as an obstacle to fun. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I walked into the lecture hall at the University of Delaware for the first time. I was welcomed by a room full of ‘snaps’ from the women of Zeta Chi, who were excited to have additional support after becoming accustomed to limited adviser involvement. This warm welcome assured me that accepting this position had been the right decision.
My first year as ATC was spent learning about the chapter and campus dynamics by attending meetings and events in person. Due to relocation, I have been forced to become a distance adviser. When I am not able to be physically present, I am able to maintain my relationship digitally (email, phone, text, Skype, etc.). Through both of these advising experiences, I have learned that timely communication is key to a successful and respectful advising relationship. I may not always have an answer to their questions immediately, or at all, but letting these women know that I will work to help them find an answer or an appropriate resource keeps everyone informed and stress-free. Being an adviser is not about giving answers and enforcing rules. It is about helping to give these young women the tools, resources, and guidance they need to find their own answers, conduct themselves with dignity, and essentially run their own business.
Many of my friends ask me why I continue to be involved in Delta Gamma at my age, or why I don’t transfer my advising positions to a collegiate chapter that is closer to where I currently live. The answer is simple: Over the past two years it has been amazing to watch the women grow personally, professionally, and as a chapter. My relationship has grown even deeper to include not only adviser, but mentor and friend. For me, Delta Gamma is a lifelong commitment, and I hope to inspire these women to feel the same way.
Cara Deitcher, Beta Sigma-Maryland is the Advisory Team Chair for Zeta Chi - Delaware. She can be reached at email@example.com.