Thursday, March 31, 2011

just workin' on my fitness

One of my many Lenten missions this year is to make working out a larger part of my weekly routine. 3 trips to the gym per week is my goal. It doesn't sounds like much, but it is just right for me!

To motivate myself, I have "Gym Time: 1 2 3" written at the top of each week in my planner. Every time I make a trip to the gym I put an X through each number, starting with 3 to make it like a countdown. There is nothing I love more than crossing things out that I have successfully completed in my planner!

My new Nike sneaks that Daddy got me for Christmas give me even more incentive to go to the gym! I love getting to show off these bad boys to all the people working out at McComas.

So far I have been doing great, and feeling great! It's so easy to forget how important it is to stay fit when you are a busy college student. Going to the gym at the end of an action-packed day is a GREAT stress reliever, and I hope I will be able to keep it up...even once Lent and Easter are over.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

rain is a good thing

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.
-Gilbert K. Chesterton

Monday, March 28, 2011


Well now that I have written a BORING leadership blog post about Ring Weekend, I figure it is only fair to write a CAT's meow reader-friendly one. I apologize for my lack of blogging during the past week. My life was 100% devoted to 2012's Ring Banquet and Ring Dance. I breathed, ate, slept, and lived Ring Dance all week long. Literally. I put my schoolwork and social life aside to be at Squires Collonial Ballroom during every free and waking moment.

During the week, the 2013 Leadership Team bonded so so much. We are now a REAL team! From unloading trucks, to sawing wood, to meticulously decorating masks, to non-stop junk food intake, to late night Walmart runs for was certainly an eventful week with an amazing group of 2013-ers. It is safe to say I am already experiencing L-Team withdrawal.

After countless hours of dedication, I am proud to say that the weekend was a HUGE success! Ring Banquet went very smoothly and Ring Dance was...well, a busier night and definitely a learning experience.

I don't have any pictures from the hectic week, but here are a few gems from the weekend.

traditions unveiled

lots of laughs along the way

my OFFICIAL 2013 nametag

the ring

2013 ladies

marketing co-chairs


It is so hard to believe that it's all over. Now it is our turn to start making plans for our Ring Weekend. 2013 style!

teams in modern organizations - 2013 leadership team

This past weekend was the Class of 2012’s Ring Weekend. This weekend consisted of a Ring Banquet and Ring Dance, both huge parts of the Ring Tradition that Virginia Tech prides itself in. The 2012 Leadership Team spent countless hours dedicated to creating their unique class ring and planning their own Ring Banquet and Ring Dance, and now it was their turn to enjoy the Ring Tradition at Virginia Tech. 

As members of the 2013 Leadership Team, it was our role to assist 2012 in whatever they needed as far as decorating, construction, set-up, and clean-up during the week leading up to Ring Weekend. Our Leadership Team was also responsible for running the events during the weekend so that the 2012 Leadership Team could simply enjoy the weekend they had worked so hard for.

So What?
I know I speak for the rest of the 2013 Leadership Team when I say that our team is one of the strongest Leadership Teams Virginia Tech has ever seen, and I think we really proved that to ourselves and to the 2012 Leadership Team this weekend. What makes our team dynamic so strong is our diversity. There are both positive and negative effects to diversity in a group. However, this week and weekend has definitely displayed that our diversity is a positive asset to our team.

After Ring Banquet on Friday and Ring Dance on Saturday, our team met up to disassemble, clean-up, and regroup on Sunday morning. To start off the morning, our leader, Kelley English (2013 Ring Dance Chair), had us go around in a circle to discuss things that stood out to us, things we liked, and things we wanted to change for our Ring Dance next year. It was during this meeting time that I noticed our team’s diversity playing a major role in the group dynamic.

According to Levi, some positive effects of diversity include improving group process skills and establishing a safe environment. Our team improved group process skills by creating a safe environment where all team members were able to give their opinions and ideas regarding Ring Week and Weekend. This approach equalized power in the team for communication to break boundaries. Our team leader encouraged everyone’s participation, showing appreciation and minimizing impacts of status differences or favoritism toward team members.

Now What?
After this week-long marathon, our Leadership Team is ready to start preparations for the Class of 2013’s Ring Banquet and Ring Dance. Our team’s use of a safe environment to improve group process skills on Sunday morning displayed how strong of a team we are. Due to our team’s immense diversity, we have lots of new ideas on how to make Ring Weekend 2013 the best it has ever been. I can’t wait to see what our diverse Leadership Team can do in the coming year!

Saturday, March 19, 2011



I am so excited for you all to begin your journey as members of Alpha Phi. Welcome to the good life. I'm so proud to call each and every one of you a sister!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

hokie hokie hokie hi!

At 5:30pm on every Wednesday of the spring semester I have OL training. All 30 OLs and OAs, plus J.Jo and Meg, meet in the basement training room of New Hall West to conduct our training sessions. This Wednesday, however, J.Jo had a special surprise for us! We all got an email that went something like this...

Welcome back! Tomorrow’ s training session will feature VT Traditions presented by Dean Tom Brown. Tom has arranged for training to be held in one of the South End Zone suites! If driving, you can park in the Lane Stadium lot (pass not enforced after 5pm). You will need to enter through Gate 2 (behind ticket booth in the Lane Stadium lot). Either myself, Meg or an OA will direct you to the suite.

We will be providing Domino’s pizza; you will need to bring your own beverage. If you have a legitimate dietary concern and you cannot consume pizza, please let me know ASAP.

See you tomorrow,

What better way to start your week back at Tech than getting THAT email?! I was P-U-M-P-E-D (as Meg would say).

Wednesday evening finally rolled around, and I ran up to Lane stadium to be directed by the OAs up into the suite. And this is what I walked into...

We had some team building and bonding with our new OL teams, followed by trivia on VT history and traditions. Team Jen Davis was in the lead for the trivia just about the whole time, until the final few questions when we blew it. It's okay though! Our team is anything but a bunch of quitters. We will have our time!

What a wonderful Wednesday, to say the least! All of the OLs felt like such VIPs!! It truly was an unforgettable experience. Thanks J.Jo, Meg, and especially Dean Tom Brown for our incredible lesson on VT history, traditions, and spirit. And for taking us to one of the COOLEST places I have ever been on campus!

Friday, March 11, 2011

i'm feelin' it

Well, I am back with more NOVA spring break adventures. KW and I were waiting for the perfect day to make a Georgetown trip, and oh did we pick the perfect day. Thursday. Weather forecast: rain, rain, rain, with a chance of mudslides and flooding. There was no turning back now, so we started out the day right at 10am.

We took a pre-adventure pic before heading out, and I assured KW that "I was feelin' it." This was going to be a great day!

First things first, and that was the metro. So we drove out to the Vienna metro. Every single entrance to the metro had signs saying the lot was full. This had never happened to either one of us so we had no idea what to do. We continued to drive around for awhile, and I finally saw a man in a metro SUV, so I asked him if there were any open lots. He said we needed to drive out to the Dunn Loring metro station because Vienna was full. Really?

So we drove down Lee Highway to get to Dunn Loring. Luckily there were no signs at any of their parking entrances. We roamed around looking for a spot, and couldn't find anything, again! So we asked a random man that was walking in the parking lot who looked like he maybe worked for the metro. He definitely didn't. We asked him if he knew if this lot was full. And his response was, "you goin' to immigration." Ummmm no, just the metro actually. I guess we looked foreign? So we just continued to drive around and finally found a spot in the corner of the lot. Already quite the adventure.

Once we got out of the car (finally) we zipped up our raincoats, opened our umbrellas, and headed to the metro station. We had never been to the Dunn Loring station before, so we had a hard time finding where the metro was at first. Luckily, there was a businessman who looked like he was heading in that direction, so we decided to follow him.

After getting on the metro, we had 8 stops until Foggy Bottom where we had to get off. I don't know what it is about the metro but I always get so sleepy when I ride it. We were so pumped driving to the station that morning, but KW and I were dozing off as we rode the metro to DC.

Once we heard that Foggy Bottom was the next stop, we perked back up and were ready to get off and face the weather to get to Georgetown. It is supposedly a 15 minute walk to get from the metro station to the shops and restaurants of Georgetown. For whatever reason, the walk only felt like it took 2 minutes! KW and I were definitely prepared for and expecting the worst. But so far, our trek to Georgetown had been painless! We observed a mudslide and a few puddles along the way, but nothing unbearable by any means. 


And things continued to work out well for us throughout the duration of the day!

We met up with Audrey at La Madeline for lunch. We all got stuffed french toast (because it was $5 and we are sooo cheap). But it was delish! It didn't quite fill me up though, so I went over to the drink station, and to my surprise there was free bread, butter, and jam! Perfect. I am all about the free food!

After lunch, the 3 of us "shopped" around the stores of Georgetown. We went in Cusp, Urban Outfitters, J. Crew, H&M, Anthropologie, and other stores. Everything we saw was wayyy out of our price limit, but it was fun to look. 

We also went into the Georgetown Mall, in hopes of going to the National Pinball Museum that Audrey had heard about. We walked in, and the man working at the museum asked us what we were doing. We said that we were just going to take a look around. He politely responded, "in order to go in, you need to pay admission." Oops! We thanked him and left. 

Next stop: Georgetown Cupcake! The real reason we made a trip to Georgetown on this miserable Thursday afternoon. Along the way, we ran into some fake cupcake shops including Georgetown Scoops and Sprinkles.

But we were going for the real deal. I was so prepared to stand in line for at least 20 minutes, in the rain, just to get my cupcake. But as we turned the corner to walk up to the shop, there wasn't a line in sight. Was it our lucky day or what?! We walked right into Georgetown Cupcake and ordered! Wow.

I got my milk chocolate birthday cupcake, and was the happiest little girl in the world. What a fabulous ending to a fun-filled day on the rainy streets of Georgetown!

new blog on the block!



Thursday, March 10, 2011

issues teams face - paragon yearbook

During my junior and senior years at Oakton High School, I was on the Paragon Yearbook Staff. I was a staffer during my junior year, which simply meant I was part of the team without a specific leadership role. My job was to put together pictures and write copy for about 4-5 pages of the yearbook. Just about every new student to yearbook was a staffer. This role was basically a training position since there was so much to absorb about the formatting and everything that went into creating an award-winning yearbook.

The following year, my senior year, I took on the role of Sports Editor. With this leadership position came much responsibility, conflict, stress, etc. I learned much more about the creation of the yearbook from start to finish, and how to divide up pages and tasks within the staff. But most importantly, I learned how to manage the short amount of time that we had to complete a book that had to be published before June.

So What?
In a team as large and diverse as the Paragon Yearbook Staff, there are many types of problems that may arise and disrupt a team’s decision-making processes. According to Levi in “Group Dynamics for Teams”, three main causes of group decision-making problems include disagreements, time pressure to decide, and outside stress.

These three causes were all very prevalent to the yearbook staff in different ways. First, of course there was disagreement among the staff and editors. At the beginning of each year, it was the staffers’ and editors’ responsibility to come up with a theme for the yearbook . This resulted in a lot of heated disagreement for everyone involved. Second, the time pressure to decide on a theme kicked in among all the disagreement. Picking a theme for the book was only the beginning of a lot more work that was required to create a yearbook. Finally, outside stress also played a role as the year moved along. Every student in yearbook was involved in many other activities, a full schedule of classes, and on top of it all were deadlines for yearbook proofs. Together, these 3 things created a fair amount of conflict when making decisions for the betterment of the Paragon and the yearbook.

Now What?
Now that I further understand the 3 main causes of team decision-making problems, I will apply this knowledge to the current teams I am on. I am lucky to have had many team decision-making experiences in high school that I can learn from as I enter many new teams at Virginia Tech. Working with teams has been, and continues to be, a great learning experience for me. There is so much that every student can learn from working with a team and having to make difficult decisions amongst disagreement, time pressure, and outside stress.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

nice try

This year I am spending spring break in the lovely vaca hot spot called NOVA. I know, so exotic! With that said, my partner in crime, Kelsey Wiley, and I decided we were going to put together some adventures to make our spring break a little more exciting.

On Sunday we were planning on making a DC and Georgetown trip. But it was raining...or monsoon-ing really. Nice try CT and KW.

So we decided to make a fun indoors day that included trips to Michael's and Target, baking, homemade pizzas, redbox, and crafting.

We started off by going to Michael's to return some stuff KW didn't need, and get some other critical crafting supplies for the DZ lit. We walked aimlessly around Michael's for about an hour. Clearly our priorities were to chit chat and catch up over searching for paint and stickers. Nice try CT and KW.

Next we went to Michael's to look for some book that KW needed. Naturally they didn't have it...or anything else we needed. Nice try CT and KW.

Then we went to Giant. This trip was even worse than the Michael's and the Target trips combined. We had to get the ingredients to make homemade pizzas and the ingredients to make KW's roommate's famous cookies.

We literally could not find ANYTHING we needed in the Franklin Farm Giant. The hardest thing of all to find was "dried cherries". After asking about 3 Giant employees, we finally found them in the produce section. However, after looking them over for awhile we somehow reasoned that getting the Ocean Spray Craisins that were "cherry infused" instead of the Ocean Spray Dried Cherries was the best idea. Nice try CT and KW.

When we got back to KW's house we started baking the cookies.

We were kind of making a mess so the demon dog, Kylee Wiley, starting licking everything off the floor. And since we were standing right where the mess was, Kylee was biting our feet! OUCH!

After putting all the ingredients together, KW and I ate about half of the cookie dough instead of putting it in the oven to make cookies. Can you say stomach ache? Nice try CT and KW.

Then Sarah Webster (aka Webkins) stopped by for a little bit while we were making our pizzas. Luckily since KW and I have made pizzas so many times, we couldn't mess those up. Phew, things were finally starting to look up for us!

Once our pizzas were ready, we brought them and the cookies downstairs and popped in Burlesque. It was an interesting movie. Not good, but not bad. Nice try CT and KW.

After the movie was over, we realized we hadn't done ANY crafting. Oops! So we sat down and painted lots and lots of things. I think they turned out pretty well. It was a positive way to end our less than "blog worthy" day. 

But to top it all off, as I was leaving Kelsey's for the night, I looked outside and it was SNOWING. Really NOVA! Is this what you give us for spring break? 

Stay tuned for more CT and KW spring break adventures...hopefully more eventful ones!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Today was a BIG day!! It was team reveal for the Orientation Leaders and Orientation Assistants of OL XI.

All 24 OLs were sent on a scavenger hunt around campus to find their OA. We had six clues that described buildings where each OA was located. And the clues were NOT easy! In fact, some people (Erica) even got lost along the way. Once we got to the correct building, we had to find the OA, open an envelope with our name on it, and inside was either a note that said "Sorry! This is not your OA. Onto the next clue...." or "CONGRATULATIONS! Welcome to your Orientation Team!"

The first building I was sent to was McComas, where Amanda was waiting with her envelopes. I quickly opened mine up and the note said...

So I was off to the next building, which was Wallace Hall. Jen was waiting there. When I got to her I took the envelope and opened it, and the note said....

YAY!!! I was the first person to arrive on Jen's team. We jumped and screamed and hugged and anxiously awaited for the rest of our team members to arrive. One by one came Tanaka, then Matt, and then Carly! WHAT A STACKED TEAM!!! Naturally the first thing we did was group hug, and then take a team picture! The first of oh so many...

I love you Team _______ (still working on our team name). As Jen says, "the name will come with time".