Kansas State University


Student Stories

Month: November 2013

New Leadership Role

This week was a very exciting one for me.  In my last post, I mentioned that I was running for President of my fraternity, and I was fortunate enough to win the position last week!

It is a huge honor, and something that I am really looking forward to.  Everyone who I have talked to has told me that it is one of the toughest, but most rewarding learning experiences you will ever have.  I do realize that some things will be tough, but I am excited for all the positive change I can make.

Through this process of transitioning into the Presidents role, I have reflected on a couple of things I thought I would share:

1.  Go after leadership positions in your organization, even if they seem challenging.  If you are passionate about something, the hard stuff will seem to be a lot easier.  I can already tell after a week that there will be some hurdles, but I care so much about the position, the house, and the guys in it, that I won’t let anything get in the way of doing the best job I can.  I think when you can feel that way about something, and combine it with a drive and good work ethic, the end result will be a very positive one.

2. The second thing to remember is everyone’s experience is different.  Usually when you are in a leadership role, you can probably assume that someone had the position before you did.  And typically, their experience is completely different.  Look to those people for insight when you need it, but don’t let any bad experience of theirs reflect how yours will go.  Listen to the advice that former leaders offer because no matter what the situation is, their insight may come in handy. At the same time, you don’t have to do everything the same.  Most leadership positions expect certain things to be done, but the way you do it is up to you. Gain respect from the people you are leading, and they will trust that you will ultimately make the best decision for the group.

I am really looking forward to diving into my new role, as well as working with my new executive board to make a positive change in my fraternity. I encourage everyone to seek out leadership roles, big or small, in whatever organization you are in! No matter what position, you will have a great learning experience, and grow yourself in the process.

I hope everyone is finishing out this last week strong, and is looking forward to Turkey Break! I know I sure am!!

Have an awesome Thanksgiving, and I will look forward to sharing a post with all of you soon!!


Be Bold

It has just begun to hit me that another semester is almost over. I was thinking today about all that has happened over the semester and how fast it has all gone. Sometimes I feel like the days and weeks and months go by so fast and I don’t have time to take advantage of all the opportunities I have, or experience all of the things I want to experience. I realized that the best way to combat this is to be bold. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and go out on a limb. One of my favorite quotes is “Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” – H. Jackson Browne. This really sums up how I feel about college. I think it is a time to find your passions, explore the world, read a lot, take interesting classes, ask questions, meet new people, and just be bold. You never know what you may discover.

Here’s to being bold!


Senior Year to Senior Year: What’s the Difference?

When landing a job as a senior in college, one would think that stress immediately goes away.

“I have a job. Now I can just breeze through the rest of my senior year. There is no need to stress” is a common thought I have on a daily basis. Let me reassure you…..stress does not go away, it merely changes face.

During these past weeks of realizing that I have a plan after college graduation brings me back to my senior year of high school.

“I know where I am going to college. I can just breeze through the rest of my senior year. There is no need to stress”

Hmm…these two thoughts sound very similar 🙂

We have come to that point in our lives as young adults where we will be making some exciting, yet life changing decisions: Where to attend college, what to major in, where to get a job after graduation, where to live after graduation, etc. This list goes on and on. What I have found is that those stresses we encounter at each of these turns in our lives look very similar at each point.

Here are some similarities:

The same stress an incoming freshman experiences when trying to decide what residence hall = a new college graduate finding a new apartment in KC.

Leaving your friends in high school for the time being = saying goodbye to college friends for the time being.

Acquiring responsibility for paying for your education, books, a residence hall room on campus = acquiring responsibility for paying for rent, insurance, all meals, gas, etc. for the rest of your life.

Taking responsibility for all your college coursework, attending class, and making connections with your professors = taking ownership for your role in a company, making sure you arrive to work everyday on time, and connecting with your boss and employees.

Now…don’t get me wrong. These stresses are time consuming and can take energy, but they are exciting! Don’t think that you need to have your life all put together by the time you step onto campus at K-State. I sure did not 🙂 And some may argue….I still don’t 🙂

Your time as a college student becoming a young professional is all about making mistakes, trying something new, and becoming the best version of yourself. I would argue that the journey is better than the destination.

My portion of the journey has brought me to this interchange of college to the real world, while high schoolers are arriving at the interchange of high school and college. My best advice to you: Grab the wheel with both hands and don’t look back. These next few years about to be the best of your life!

I know mine have only just begun! I can’t wait for it to begin!

Go Cats!


Fall Break!

Hey guys!

Oh man, I am so excited for fall break! A week of relaxing and spending time with family is exactly what I need right. Fall break is a great time to recharge and get your head back in the game in time for finals. Oh, and you get home-cooked food? The dining centers here at K-State are amazing, but nothing compares to a great home-cooked meal. Fall break is also a great way to see how much you have changed so far and to reconnect with high school friends. I can’t wait!

Go cats!


Fall Break

It’s been a while since my last post; time has literally escaped me with how busy I’ve been since I got back from Boston.  Since my last post I’ve: had four tests, three group projects, about a hundred meetings, two date parties, taught 52 algebra class periods, BEEN TO BOSTON, tutored two friends in College Algebra, narrowed down the national search for a new Honors Director to three candidates, interviewed all three, assisted in several recruiting events for K-State and the College of Business, watched the Cats regain the season with some big wins, and managed to sleep for a few hours here and there.  I’ve got three tests next week before I get to head home for Fall Break, but then I’ll finally be able to catch up on some sleep and see Roxie!

My trip to Boston was one of the greatest experiences that I’ve had so far at K-State.  Through the University Honors Program, I was able to go on the trip with almost all expenses paid.  We stayed at a really nice hotel on the north side of the city.  The city alone was incredible, but we were also allowed the opportunity to go to places like Harvard, MIT, Fenway Park, Mass Port, and more!  It was just another amazing opportunity I was able to take advantage of through the Honors Program.  It’s reasons like that why I’m such a huge proponent of the program!  Here are some great pics from the trip:

Flying in over the harbor

An amazing church, right in the heart of the city

Behind the scenes tour at Fenway Park!

The School of Engineering and Architecture at MIT

Taking a “Break”

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to Kansas City to volunteer at The Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald House provides housing to families that have children in the hospital. I spent my day with my fellow K-State students raking leaves and learning more about myself, service, and how to better implement service into my life.

I went with a program at K-State called Alternative Breaks. Alternative Breaks provides students with service-learning opportunities on weekends and over winter and spring breaks. The idea of the program is to get students engaged with various social issues, and then give them hands on experience to help them grow and learn. It is an awesome program and I am so grateful that K-State offers a program like it. I would definitely encourage everyone to explore the program and learn more about it. There are a lot of cool opportunities for leadership and development.

Check out this link for more information!


Getting your “phil”

Advice I often find myself giving to prospective students usually runs along the lines of encouraging further exploration and cultivation of passions you already possess. Simply because you are re-planting yourself in a different environment does not mean you should uproot all of the things you’ve grown to love. After first being introduced to the concept of philanthropy through a high school Student Council fundraiser, I developed a deep connection and knew it was going to be an important part of my life for years to come. As soon as I left the comfort of my home community and stepped foot on campus, I began to discover the plethora of opportunities to get involved with philanthropic organizations at K-State.

For those who may not be entirely familiar with philanthropy, I think it can be simply defined as the act of using your unique strengths and talents to help others. Sounds like fun, huh? Here’s some awesome, on-campus outlets for your philanthropic passion:

    breakdown: Student Foundation members serve as ambassadors of philanthropy for the entire University. They work closely with donors who give to K-State, and work to promote a general attitude of philanthropy about our campus. Fun fact: Student Foundation also hosts K-State Proud, a student-ran philanthropic campaign that has raised over $650,000 to help keep fellow Wildcats who are struggling financially on campus. NEAT-O, RIGHT?
    website: http://www.found.ksu.edu/student-foundation/
    website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/K-State-Proud/110300745700043 
    (Hey, that girl looks kinda familiar! This was a short spot that was actually played at a home football game to a crowd of 50,000. My very short and sweet 15 minutes of fame, guys.)
    breakdown: Relay For Life, a national philanthropy dedicated to raising funds for the American Cancer Society, is an incredible event that you may have even participated in before in your hometown. Our RFL crew at K-State have a blast planning different events throughout the year, and throw one heck of a party on the night of the actual Relay which is at our Memorial Stadium.
    website: https://www.facebook.com/RFLofKSU
    breakdown: Each and every fraternity and sorority at K-State holds philanthropy events for various causes. As a member of the Greek community, I have been able to become the philanthropy chair of my chapter and get to plan events for the entire Greek, K-State, and Manhattan communities to take part in. Whether you aspire to become the philanthropy chair or simply wish to volunteer, Greek life offers tons of incredible opportunities to get in touch with your inner philanthropist.
    website: http://www.k-state.edu/greek/index.html

At the end of the day, it’s always best to fill the cups of others. While you’re at it, why not “phil” yours too by doing a little philanthropy work?

xoxo, ellen

Be About It

“Don’t talk about it, be about it.” I’m about to completely take this line out of context, but hey, great lyrical choice Usher.

Integrity of choice; a fancier way of putting things (no disrespect Raymond). Stickin’ to your guns is 100% of the time easier said than done. Everyone knows people who are all talk, and shoot, we all have our moments.

Ambition is admired. Dreaming is encouraged. Don’t keep anything out of your reach, though. Something that I’ve really committed myself to this past semester has been following through. When I thought of the idea of “following through” it brought me back to when I was a little and my dad was teaching me how to play golf. So many times people keep their mind focused on actually hitting the ball that they forget that the swing is how you get that little guy to fly for days. The key is to think about your swing as a whole– it doesn’t just stop when you hit the ball. Following through gets you where you need to go. I’m not just out here trying to shoot par, I’m looking for some birdies.

Many of us were given help towards  goals our entire life. Even in college, we have advisors who help us keep on the track towards our future. At some point though, it is your turn to be proactive. Whether you’re a prospective student, a current student, or maybe you’ve been through the college experience already, we all have aspirations. Don’t let them stay dreams. Plan things out, take those steps. We live in a time where we are capable of almost anything. We have resources all around us, and people who have been there and done that. Look at the university you’re going to! We hear all the time about K-State alumni that are doing what they love today and I guarantee they’d take time out of their day to help you do the same.

So don’t talk the talk and not walk the walk. Don’t be all bark and no bite. Don’t talk about it, be about it. No matter how you say it, start doing it.

Go Cats,




Staying Focused

This past weekend I went back home to Overland Park for just the second time this year, and it was really nice to be back and relax even if only for a couple of days.  It was my mom’s birthday weekend, so I had on my calendar the entire year that I would plan on heading home that weekend to spend some time with her, and I am very glad I did.  She had a birthday party and all of her friends came out to celebrate.  It was great to see all of them, and update them on all the exciting things I have going on at K-State.  My mom was thrilled to see everyone, as well as have me home for the weekend, so just knowing that made my trip home very fulfilling.

Now, the countdown to Thanksgiving break begins! If your schedules are anything like mine, the next couple weeks are going to be hectic with tests or projects. Here are a few reminders to help you finish these next couple of weeks out strong so you can enjoy every second of your Thanksgiving break:

1.  Make Lists! For everything! Big or small, writing something down and crossing it off once it’s done is a great way to make sure you accomplish everything you need to.  For myself specifically, I write down anything that I have to do that week, that day, or even that hour.  Focusing on the small things leaves a big impact in the end.

2. Adapt your schedule. By now, you probably have a solid idea of what your schedule needs to look like for you to succeed. It is very important to remember though that it is never too late to switch up your schedule to adapt to new challenges.

3. Find time to for yourself. No matter how busy you get, make time to do something you enjoy.  Play xbox, hang out with a friend, or workout – anything that takes your mind off of the everyday stresses in life will relax you, and also make you focus a little harder once you get back to the tough stuff.

On Wednesday I am running for President of my fraternity, and I am very excited for the possibilities of what could happen.  I have a lot of ideas that I think could really move our house in the right direction, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to put those into action.

I will make sure I update everyone on how it goes next week!

Stay focused, and keep up the hard work!

Happy birthday mom!!!


Fall Back

Am I the only one who is a big fan of “fall back” right now? I know it’s not really that different, but the time change has made me think more carefully about how I spend my time. Like many students I balance coursework with employment and campus involvement.

As a result, I find myself having to say “No” otherwise I would need to divide myself in thirds for the past weekend. There was a conference in Wichita, a retreat here on campus, and I was asked to work multiple conflicting shifts. I also had homework, laundry, and some crafting I would have liked to do.

After a long talk with Mom to clear my conscience (I hate letting people down) I decided to keep trying to find someone else who wanted the opportunity to network at the conference.I found someone else at the last minute! I made it to the retreat and it was an excellent use of my time. I have been working a lot and offered to work only one shift and to help out more at work next weekend. This way I can plan ahead and get homework and chores done in advance. I tried to do laundry while I did homework this weekend so that I wouldn’t be so overwhelmed during the week. I got into a rhythm of folding laundry between loads of dishes. I even made enchiladas last night and had dinner with some friends! One even brought a homemade pie!

Overall, it was good to take a little break so that I can really focus in these weeks leading up to break. Like Caroline said, sometimes we have to be “positively selfish.” If you’re needing to take a break this week you should check out some of the events going on this week in the Union for fulPhil!

Have a GREAT week!