A week ago today we were wrapping up the Emerging Leaders Institute, which is our largest undergraduate leadership conference with close to 400 participants. We as a staff logged incredible hours over the 5 day affair. After one of the days I was unable to spell my name backwards and had no idea what day it was. After we finished on Tuesday morning, the consultants had the rest of the day off, and needless to say we slept most of the day.
At points during the weekend it was really hard to keep a positive attitude, or even fake a smile if things were rough. I found myself constantly asking if all the work we were putting in was worth it. The weeks of preparation and the 20+ hours a day were mentally and physically draining.
It was not until today, almost a week later, that I found my answer. I was given the tedious task of typing the six written responses of roughly 200 evaluations from the conference. What started as mind numbing quickly became incredibly rewarding. The responses people wrote were truly inspiring. I got to physically read how much we inspired another person, and you could feel the excitement jump off the page.
Here are some of the responses (emphasis mine):
-"If I knew then what I knew now, I would kill to go ELI"
-"Going from being nervous about the conference to not wanting to leave. I learned so much and have met many new brothers. I am rededicated and refocused to being a leader"
-"I would love to come back, but I would love for another Brother to have the opportunity to experience this! Thank You!"
"Overall I found this to be a great experience in growing in the spirit of Phi Delta Theta."
-"Fantastic. All new initiates should be required to attend."
It reminds me a lot of the Starfish Story. While the conference itself was huge drain on myself and everyone on staff, I lost track of individual victories being scored in every chapter meeting, every general session and every educational session. Reading those comments was probably the most rewarding part about being on staff so far.
High: Spending the weekend with Christie - including King's Island and Rascal Flatts
Low: Having to come back to reality Monday morning.