By Hana Johnson, Kansas State, 2014–2015 Leadership Consultant
My name is Hana Johnson–my friends call me HJ–and I’m a Kansas gal, born and raised. I guess you could say that I grew up in the flatlands. I like to consider my hometown of Wichita, Kan., to be the heart of the Midwest. No matter which way you look at it, I can guarantee that if you look long enough or hard enough, you’ll find the beauty it has to offer.
In May 2014, I graduated from Kansas State University (go Wildcats!) with a degree in public relations. During my time an undergraduate, I served as Vice President-Organization and Vice President-Standards. My college days taught me that the moments you learn the most from are those when you take a leap of faith and challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone. I found that my experience as a Kappa challenged me to do just that. As I began my senior year, I began to reflect on all I had learned in college and all that my days as a Kappa had taught me. The challenges I had faced and the life lessons I learned as a result of those challenges are what inspired me to embark on the adventure of being a Leadership Consultant for the Fraternity. The idea of being able to share the lessons I learned and encourage others gave me great excitement, an excitement much like one has on their first day of kindergarten.
I remember watching, with great anticipation, the big yellow school bus pull up to the end of our street on my very first day of morning kindergarten. I remember climbing up the steps of that odd smelling, strangely humid school bus and starting the quest to find what I felt was just the right sticky, brown, synthetic leather seat. You know, the one situated about two-thirds of the way back, right above the left-rear wheel of the bus? The one that left you little-to-no leg room, yet for some reason was the seat most coveted by all the elementary school kids below the third grade? Yes, that’s the one. For any of you that have ever had the pleasure of riding the bus to school, I’m sure you can relate. I can remember feeling so small in that moment, but yet thinking to my 5-year-old self that this was the beginning of a brand new adventure.
I suppose you could say that the feeling I experienced in that moment, while some days might subside, never completely goes away. Sure, it ebbs and flows, as does most everything in life. But the times when you are reminded of that feeling of smallness, but yet are on the cusp of such a great adventure, are some of the times when life teaches you the most. During my days as an LC, I am often reminded of this feeling.
Life as an LC has, thus far, certainly not been easy. Five weeks of Recruitment have come and gone, and I won’t be upset if I never have to see another mini cream puff again. Lack of sleep has become no stranger. Time zones suddenly have become a barrier in communication with friends and family back home. Balancing paperwork and emails for several chapters at a time can become a juggling act at times, and nine meetings in one day has become a normal part of the routine.
And there, in the midst of it all, you sometimes begin to wonder if indeed you chose the right seat on the bus on this adventure.
However, soon, you also learn that your teammates are feeling the exact same way, and experiencing the exact same things. They are your biggest allies and they need you just as much as you need them. You learn that even though you’ve only spent two weeks total of your lives together, you will be lifelong friends.
You learn that the members of Fraternity Council are used to receiving phone calls at all hours of the night, and that it’s okay to seek help to find the answers. You learn that they’ve been there, they understand, and they’ve got your back.
And, perhaps maybe most importantly, you learn that all the struggles, the hard days, the nights of bad dreams or no sleep, the days of playing phone tag with mom when you really need some encouragement, the days when you didn’t get lunch (or dinner), for some reason, are absolutely worth it.
Sure, there will be days where everything that can go wrong will indeed go wrong.
But then, there will be days when you help a Chapter Council member have an aha! moment after trying to problem solve for an hour and a half. There will be days when you have the chance to go on a bicycle ride with a chapter member and learn more about who they are, which in turn inspires a change within you. There will be days when you get to ride a roller coaster and feel like a kindergartner once again. There will be days when you’re able to experience the richness of being part of an organization so much bigger than yourself. There will be days of self-discovery and self-reflection that will help you become a better version of yourself.
As an LC, you’re sure to encounter a few bumps in the road. But looking back to the days on the school bus, the bumps were almost the best part of the ride. The feeling of anticipation in the pit of your stomach as the school bus flew down that really tall hill or bounced over a speed bump was just enough to get you through to the laughter on the other side.
And in all honesty, the journey of an LC is one in the same. Sure, there are bumps now and then. But the knowledge that there will be good things waiting on the other side makes the quest to find your seat on the bus worth every bit of time and energy that you invest in it.
I feel incredibly lucky to say that, for now, I know I’ve found my perfect seat.
Editor’s Note: The Leadership Consultant application is now available. Deadline to apply is December 1. Visit the Our Team page to learn more about the position and apply today!