By Erin Chatten
I am beyond excited to be starting a new adventure as the Research Director for Phired Up Productions. Now, I know what we all think when we think of the word “research”… nerdy. Well guess what? I am a nerd!
I nerd out on the daily, whether due to my overly detailed, color coded Google Calendar, or my refusal to listen to the radio because I would rather discover new music on my own. I’ve been this way practically my whole life. I love to ask deep questions, talk to strangers, and I’m totally guilty of people watching in public places. At home, I make up songs to sing to my cat and I know an unhealthy amount of information about Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars. This is what makes me make me a straight up nerd. Some of you may be a little nerdy, too.
Maybe you’re a nerd because you get excited over organized excel spreadsheets and Google Drive folders. You may be a nerd because you’ve collected figurines since you were a child. Or maybe you are a nerd because you can speak elvish or quote the entire Pitch Perfect movie. You may not even consider yourself a nerd, but I guarantee we all have a little nerd in us.
I see so much of myself in you, and I believe that you and your authentic inner-nerd can make a real difference in your chapter, in your council, and within yourself. I wasn’t always proud to let my nerd flag fly. I don’t know why, but I just wasn’t.
When I was a recruitment counselor for my sorority, I met a seemingly shy individual in between parties. She seemed sweet, but taken back by the daunting recruitment process. I sat down next to her and we began to talk about Harry Potter. In five minutes, I revealed one of my deepest secrets to this woman: I use to write Harry Potter fan fiction. Some of my own sisters didn’t even know that about me and here I was having a nerdfest with a practical stranger over a side of me that I had tried to hide. Ultimately, she joined my sorority and we got to geek it out on a regular basis.
I started realizing that this whole weird side of me was an enormous asset. So, I raised my freak flag a little higher and embraced these aspects of me that were not weird, but were instead unique passions. I know you can do the same thing. When the going gets tough, get passionate. Get nerdy.
Here are some things I’ve learned about how you can play in to your authentic nerd to make a real difference in your fraternity or sorority:
1) Be up front about your passions. There is a match out there for everyone who is looking for the fraternity or sorority that will accept them for who they truly are. Be authentic, vulnerable, and transparent about your passions with whomever you choose to engage in conversation with, you never know where it could lead you!
2) Embrace that organizational side of you. Whether you color code, electronically organize, or keep things clean and tidy, spread that love to your chapter or council. You can make a choice help organize your names list, match individuals with potential members, keep copious notes during membership selection, or keep track of recruitment assignments and deadlines.
3) Evaluate, analyze, and dig deeper! There is so much value in learning from ourselves. Be the individual who evaluates what makes your chapter or council different. Consider hosting an evaluation for your organization by asking:
- How can we be better?
- What qualities are common of our best leaders?
- Why do members leave our organization or disengage?
- What does the chapter think about the leadership?
- What can we do differently to attract high quality women and men into our chapter?
4) Be curious! The nerd in us loves to ask questions, and good ones! Ask the deep and insightful questions that expose the best side of your brothers and sisters and teach others how to ask these questions to learn more about potential members. Try out a few at your next chapter get together such as:
- Tell me about a passion of yours that your rarely share with others.
- What was the most impactful moment in your life?
- Tell me what color you would use to describe your personality or leadership style. Why that color?
- Describe a time where you felt that you truly made a difference.
Having an interest in a particular area doesn’t just make you a nerd; it makes you a passionate individual. Embrace that!
I’m so excited to see how you embrace your inner-nerd and uncover those passions. I know that you have the potential to do big things, and I can’t wait to hear how it goes. Give me a call, tweet, tag, smoke signal, carrier pigeon, anything! Let me know how you embraced your nerd and how it benefited you! May the force be with you.
Find me on twitter or instagram @Chit_Chatten
Call or text me at 248-895-9082