March 24, 2015 § 1 Comment
I am a physical book kind of girl.
I love the feel of the pages, the aesthetic of the inside cover panel and the way I can gauge my progress simply by glancing at the bookmark. I can’t read a book without a highlighter & page flags close by. Every book I’ve ever read is a well-loved, dog-eared, color-coded wonderland.
I’m sharing this with you because I want to help you understand my love affair with books. You see, this is a relatively new thing for me…
I always thought that by this age, a man would have my heart.
However, as a traveling sorority consultant working primarily with 18-22 year old women, run-ins with the male species are hard to come by. So, I’ve been spending most of my free time cozying up with books, and I’ve come to realize that they make great companions. They make me less stressed, more interesting, and I can count on them to be there whenever I feel lonely. Plus, as soon as I’m done with one, there is always another waiting in the wings!
I enjoy reading for the same reason as anyone else—an escape. I love the way a book allows me to insert myself into somebody else’s story. It allows me to spend time with fictional characters in faraway lands while real life waits in the parking lot.
One of my favorite things about reading is that the stories stay with me after the covers are closed. While I’m no longer immersed in the pages and the names of the characters inevitably escape me, the lessons learned from each book I read follow me wherever I go. If ever I need to be reminded of a sentiment, I refer back to my well-marked pages.
In a way, I feel like the books I’ve read are like my diaries.
If you were to gather them all, flip through and read every passage I’ve ever highlighted, you would really understand me; the way I think, what I believe in, what I wish I were like, what I wish I had written first. There is something so beautifully vulnerable about that.
You can learn a lot about a person by noticing their highlights and paying attention to the things they appear to love.
But there is still so much to wonder. Did they love it because it made them laugh? Cry? Think? Dream? Smile? Did it bring them back to a memory? Did it make their heart pound?
I feel naked when I think of another person reading the books I’ve read, wondering about all my markings. Do they make me seem more predictable or more complex?
They would come across coffee specks on the outside margins and wonder if I read that chapter in my kitchen or somewhere else. Maybe they would picture me at a hole-in-the-wall bakery or on the neighbors’ back porch.
They would come across mascara-stained pages and wonder which line was the one that made me feel. Maybe they wouldn’t need to wonder because they felt it, too.
I think that’s why I am so infatuated with the idea of books that once belonged to strangers. Someday soon I want to raid a used book store and buy the most tattered and marked-up books I can find. I want to buy books with inscriptions inside the front cover and notes in the margins. They feed my fascination with the way books connect people.
I’m in love with the way a book can tell the story written on its pages as well as the story of its reader.
Unfortunately, books are heavy. So are my suitcases.
So for now I leave my physical books in places I’ve been, to tell pieces of my story through words written by authors who don’t even know I exist. I’m anxiously awaiting the day I’ll have a library of my own filled with shabby, highlighted pages that will keep me alive long after I’m gone.
[Book list coming soon]
March 4, 2015 § 1 Comment
It’s been 19 flights, 17 cities, 4 Ubers, 3 cabs, 1 train ride and a Canadian rental car since I last blogged. (I don’t really count the poem I wrote for Dr. Seuss).
- I turned 23.
- I hung out with Minnie Mouse.
- I “rang them bells” at Club Cumming.
- I got my first speeding ticket (Cool? Debatable. Noteworthy? Yes.)
- I watched my sister star as the lead in a Broadway show.
- I gambled in a casino for the very first time.
- I got hightop, snakeskin Nike sneakers.
- I starred as Frosty the Snowman in a kindergarten play.
- I traveled to 11 countries in 10 hours. (Thank God for Epcot)
- I watched the Patriots win yet another Super Bowl.
- I hugged Emma Stone.
- I “fangirled” over the Spice Girls with Emma Stone.
- I missed my MegaBus back to New Hampshire because of Emma Stone.
- I basically stopped breathing BECAUSE OMG EMMA STONE.
When I’m not doing cool things like those I mentioned above, I’m doing other cool things with collegiate chapters of Alpha Delta Pi. As my time as a Leadership Consultant is quickly dwindling, I can’t help but look back and be grateful for all of the wonderful experiences I’ve had and lessons I’ve learned thus far, like the importance of flexibility, patience, independence, and packing the heaviest items toward the wheels of my suitcase.
The most important lesson, however, is one that was difficult for me to articulate. But that’s why we have mentors and loved ones… to help us find the words we can’t find ourselves. More on that later.
Toward the end of last semester, I spent a few days in Charleston visiting with all my favorite people at my old stomping grounds. As a woman who prides herself on “flying by the seat of [my] pants” most of my visits were surprise drop-ins to friends, co-workers and professors alike. I was so excited when I caught my former boss, the always-busy & always-smiling Stephanie Auwaerter, at a good time to talk. As I was sharing with Steph all the places I’d been and skills I’d developed, I struggled to articulate my favorite part of the job—my appreciation for the creative freedom that comes along with it.
I shared with Steph that although I’d always held leadership roles and worked hard, I’d often held back a little more than I’m proud to admit. I rarely shared my opinions if I didn’t think they’d be well received and I usually relied on my classmates to ask the questions I was too embarrassed to ask. My mind is often overflowing with ideas, but I developed this pattern of silencing myself due to lack of confidence. I almost always thought someone else would come up with something better, or what I was thinking might be stupid. I’d been living so much of my young life as the Queen of TalkingMyselfOutOfThings. It wasn’t cool and it wasn’t propelling me forward.
Throughout college I worked toward sharpening my skills and growing comfortable contributing more substantially in group settings. It was a slow but steady process. Now that I’m traveling on my own and facing new challenges and opportunities each day, I have developed the confidence to recognize areas that need improvement and capitalize on them in true Kara Cronin style. I feel entitled to think up a workshop or share my outlandish ideas with the knowledge that maybe they’ll resonate with others, come to fruition and make an impact. And if they don’t? Well, I think there’s a quote somewhere about the biggest failures leading to the greatest successes. Live and learn.
So Steph looks at me and says, “You know what you’re saying, right? You’ve developed a gut you can trust.”
I love that! Don’t you love that? She is so right. I may have always had a good gut instinct but it has taken me 23 years to fully believe in it. It is so refreshing to believe in it.
If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to expose yourself to situations that will help you develop a gut you can trust. Find a job or a hobby that motivates you to challenge yourself while feeling confident and empowered to do things your way. I promise, it feels damn good.
March 3, 2015 § Leave a comment
Hard to find perfect words but I guess I will try,
November 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
It’s been 8 flights, 6 cities and 5 rental cars since I last blogged. I’ve officially fallen prey to “not having enough time” and I’m sick of it. It is a terrible excuse. SO here I go again, re-starting my mission to blog regularly without big gaps… to make time for this pastime I just so happen to love. Personal challenge accepted.
To catch you up, here are some recent highlights of my life:
- My favorite season [autumn] officially arrived!
- I met the largest Rice Krispie treat on the planet
- The Voice Season 7 began
- I finished what is now my favorite book (I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson)
- I stole Sadie’s identity at Christopher Newport University
- I tried [& enjoyed] Strawberry Phosphate
- I was upgraded to First Class
- The Panera employees in Rome, GA learned my order so I can now say “the usual”
- I had my first (and second and third) Sheetz experience with ADPi at Allegheny
- Theta Upsilon was officially installed at Shorter University
- I went to a Mask and Wig show and went on an impromptu “dessert tour” at UPenn
- I discovered my new favorite coffee shop (Swift & Finch)
- MY SISTER GOT MARRIED!
- I had a “selfie photo shoot” with Alan Cumming
In between each of these monumental events, I was able to grab coffee with old friends or make new ones and encounter many of the nicest strangers! From flight attendants and people around me in airport security lines to NYC cab drivers and street florists, I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by great people. These people and moments have reminded me, once again, to find the payoff in every situation. If you always look for the positive, not only will you find it but it will likely come looking for you!
If you know me at all, you know that I am a firm believer in small things and their power to make the biggest differences. I remind myself of that daily, and I try my best to encourage others to adopt that perspective. Never let anything distract from the importance of appreciating, acknowledging and creating little victories for ourselves and those around us.
On one of my recent visits an ADPi sister and I got to talking about our mutual love for this mentality. As a result, she shared with me a TED talk which she had used in a chapter workshop and I have now shared on every chapter visit since. The speaker in the video, Drew Dudley, does an excellent job helping the audience understand the idea that we are all change agents and we are all capable of making a difference in this world simply by making a difference in the lives around us.
Watch Dudley’s TED talk here:
(Big thanks to Katey Barley (ΘΝ) for sharing this video, therefore creating a “lollipop moment” for me.)
I hope Dudley’s talk resonates with you and helps you begin to expect lollipop moments every day– to create them and to acknowledge them. Using this mentality we can come one step closer to making this world a little happier.
As Dudley said it best, “It’s a simple idea but I don’t think it’s a small one.”
September 18, 2014 § Leave a comment
September 9th brought with it a new set of butterflies in my tummy as it was the day of my first visit outside of Georgia. That means the first visit I would fly to, the first visit when I would worry if all my bags would make it to claim, and the first visit when I would walk out of the airport doors and look for a car with ADPi letters, not knowing who would be inside and how they would react to me.
My nerves quickly subsided when my plane landed smoothly, my bags were the first on the conveyer belt and I walked outside to meet Jenna & Gab. They welcomed me with big hugs and bright smiles and didn’t skip a beat before asking me how much I loved Britney Spears. As we were reminiscing about the days when Brit & Justin were the poster children for denim and true love, I knew I was going to love Theta Rho.
Once I arrived on campus I looked at my schedule and realized that over the next three days I would be meeting with 8 different sisters named Katie. That made my job of remembering names extremely easy, but explaining which one I was actually with presented a whole new challenge.
One of the very few non-Katies that I got to spend time with was my roomie Snicks (fun fact: she doesn’t even like Snickers)! Snicks and her roommates showered me with goodies including a lifetime supply of hummus, a stuffed baby Alphie and a face mask so we could #treatourselves the night before recruitment.
Just to add another Katie to the mix, I got to have lunch with KATIE B! For those of you who don’t know Katie B., she is the best friend/soul sister of my consultant sister, Meg Hoffay, and basically became a celebrity during LC training. Katie B. showed me around New Haven, introduced me to yummy mexican food & took me to Quinnipiac to visit her old stomping grounds, meet the Theta Theta chapter president and of course take some pics to make Meg jealous. We love you girlfriend!
Katie B. was only the beginning of the special visitors… I got to spend a little time with the lovely parents of my best friend and big diamond sister, Kat. The Shidlers stepped in as my second family for the night, treating me to a delicious dinner complete with lots of laughter. It was so nice to be around such a happy couple who remind me so much of my own parents.
The next day, President Katie Tuohy took me on an excursion to the fanciest two-story Target where we got to use the cart escalator. That’s a real thing, people! We took a break from all the craziness by taking a quick breather on the floor of the drink dispenser aisle, because anything goes during recruitment!
I would be remiss not to mention all the fabulous and iconic dining establishments the Theta Rho sisters introduced me to. If you’re ever in Fairfield/Bridgeport (the line is blurred) you should go to Chips for breakfast, Colony for dinner and Galaxy basically anytime. If you’re in dire need of some late night eats you absolutely MUST make a quick visit to Merritt Canteen to try their infamous Mac & Cheese bites. They taste even better than they sound!
Recruitment went by in the blink of an eye– so much hard work, so little sleep. It all payed off and we welcomed 46 new Alphas home on bid night. SO proud! ADPi really does pick the best! Shout out to International Officers, Katherine Levasseur and Cassie Sherry for making the trip to Sacred Heart. They are both excellent resources and gave off the perfect energy to add into the recruitment mix. Plus, it’s always nice to see familiar faces!
Before I knew it, bid night turned into travel morning and it was time for me to jump in the car with Jill Gray and head to the airport, which nearly turned into a trip to the Cheesecake Factory instead. As luck would have it, the stars aligned for dramatic effect and Sam Smith’s Stay With Me blared through the speakers as we approached the Delta terminal, nearly causing me to shed a tear.
As tempting as Jill’s sing-along was, it was time for me to check my bags, hop on a plane and head back to the peach state!
Ladies of Theta Rho– I feel so lucky to call y’all my sisters. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to work with you and I’m excited to watch as you continue to grow. Thanks for all the memories. Hopefully we can sing Oops I Did It Again together someday in the future!
September 8, 2014 § Leave a comment
It is important to make time for happy things no matter how long or stressful your day may be. That is what I told myself just over a year ago and it has since led me to wonderful stories, videos and organizations such as SoulPancake, UpWorthy and TED Talks. It has opened my eyes to the beautiful things going on in the world around us and has allowed me at least a moment of “warm & fuzzy” every single day. Today I felt like sharing a few of my finds. Some are the most recent and others from long ago but they will all give you your daily dose of rainbows and sunshine. Enjoy!
1. Here you can watch this adorable little boy get a foul ball at Fenway Park and selflessly give it away to the little girl behind him.
2. Read the uplifting message Taylor Swift sent to a fan who was getting bullied here.
3. Watch this video promoting the Always “#LikeAGirl” campaign, centered around empowering women and redefining what it means to do something like a girl in a beautiful way.
4. In this video SoulPancake encourages people on the street to take a moment and write themselves a love letter.
5. In this video “The Impression Guys” pretend to be celebrities and make phone calls to random people to brighten their day.
6. Watch 13 year-old Logan Laplante as he wows the TEDx audience by sharing his perspective on education.
7. Let your heart smile while you watch Kid President throw a surprise party for the most deserving retiring teacher.
8. Listen to how this lesbian woman responded to a 4 year-old who asked if she was a boy. I promise, this will apply to you regardless of your sexual identity.
9. Check out this prankster as he pretends to be a homeless person but actually gives back to everyone who gives to him.
10. Last but not least, I will leave you with this masterpiece, a throwback, from the one and only Justin Timberlake. You are a genius, sir. I have yet to see a day that couldn’t be fixed by watching this:
BONUS: This song & this scene. Enjoy!
August 30, 2014 § 1 Comment
I may not have visited the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain or the Sistine chapel, but my time in Rome has been full of both history and beauty.
Just over two weeks ago I began working with the women of the Shorter Colony of Alpha Delta Pi. Up until this past Spring, these women were members of a local sorority by the name of Epsilon Sigma. These women courageously decided to affiliate with an NPC
organization and lucky for us, they chose ADPi. The women received their bids in May and spent the summer learning all about the history of our wonderful sisterhood which originated as the Adelphean Society back in 1851.
When I first had the pleasure of meeting the ladies of Shorter Colony, we recapped what they’d learned in their new member education sessions. Not long after, we did a little role reversal where I became the student. These women didn’t skip a beat before teaching me a history lesson of my own.
Here are a few fast facts that I learned:
- Ep Sig was founded on St. Patricks day in the late 1860s
- Due to their founding date, they adopted green and white as their colors and a shamrock as their symbol
- Ep Sig began as the Eunomian Society
- The Eunomian Society was originally a literary society and published “The Chimes” magazine which Shorter still publishes today
I was very intrigued by all of this new information, but I couldn’t help but wonder how exactly they chose ADPi out of the 26 sororities in the National Panhellenic Conference. I can’t say I was surprised they chose us, because way back when I was a PNM going through recruitment, it was a no-brainer! But there is always an aha-moment (or even a few) when you realize ADPi is the right fit for you. For me, it was Kat Shidler and a glass of pomegranate lemonade. I wanted to know theirs.
The reason Epsilon Sigma decided to affiliate with Alpha Delta Pi is because, while researching, they found that the two organizations share very similar values and history… exactly why everyone should choose which house they want to belong to! (I promise, that was all a big part of it for me too, but Kat, the drink and maybe even a Lion King reference definitely sealed the deal.)
After a few fun days of spirit and bonding, the women of Shorter University were initiated into Alpha Delta Pi at Executive Office by our International President, Tammie Pinkston. The collegiate women were joined by eight alumnae members of Epsilon Sigma who were also initiated into Alpha Delta Pi. Talk about a special day… I had goosebumps!
That day, August 17, 2014, has officially taken the cake as my favorite experience as an Alpha Delta Pi thus far.
Not only did I get the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible experience for our new sisters, but I was also able to observe an outstanding support network of sisters far and wide who all rallied to celebrate the Shorter Colony.
After the initiation celebrations commenced, I drove to Rome, GA where I’ve spent the last two weeks working with the women and watching as they recruited an amazing Alpha class which has nearly doubled the colony in size!
It has been such a joy learning about where these ladies come from and I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to help point them in the direction they are headed, preserving the history of the old while eagerly adapting to and appreciating the new. That’s what life is all about and these women are shining examples of that.
Now that it’s time for me to say ciao to Rome, I will have you know that I’m leaving with great appreciation for a few things that are new to me; wide, slanted parking spaces, the phrase “might could” and 1 in 3 women I meet being named Hannah.
Thanks for all the memories, ladies… I reckon’ I’ll be back soon! :)