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Everyone Gets Ritual Nerves


LDCs get to share in many exciting moments with the chapters we visit. From the thrill of Bid Day to a newly elected council’s first meeting, we see it all. The most special moment by far is being able to participate in a Ritual ceremony.

No matter the state or the size of the chapter, it’s a sweet feeling to stand with sisters as we welcome a new group of Kappa Deltas deeper into our circle. During these moments, I can’t help but be reminded of my own collegiate experience.

My first time conducting a Ritual ceremony as chapter president was a whirlwind. I had just been elected and admittedly was still trying to find my inner confidence to lead a large group of women. I stumbled over the words, but somehow got through it. I apologized to the CAB chairman, Liz (a self-proclaimed “ritual nerd”). She calmed me down and helped me realize the most important thing is how you express the meaning behind the words you speak, both in ceremony and in daily life.

The next summer, I had the opportunity to attend National Convention. I was in awe as National Council led sisters from all across the country in an Initiation ceremony. Former National President Beth Martin Langford was at the helm. The ceremony was flawless, as expected, until a brief moment when Beth was behind-the-scenes. She was giving instructions to the rest of National Council and, unintentionally, her words could be overheard through her microphone. The nerves I sensed in her voice were the same ones I felt leading my own chapter. If it weren’t for the microphone glitch, no one in the room would have known she was feeling anything less than confident. She emerged from behind the curtain calm, cool and collected as ever.

Discovering the humanity in such a respected leader solidified Liz’s wise counsel. The meaning you share with others will outlive any shaking voice. Even more important than the confidence it takes to lead Ritual is the confidence it takes to live Ritual.

Sometimes we forget that Ritual exists outside of the degrees of Initiation. If you’re living out the values of Kappa Delta, it means you’re supporting a sister in a time of need. It means you apply for an internship that pushes you out of your comfort zone. It means you build up other women both inside and outside of our circle.

I urge you to take our Ritual into your own hands – literally. You need to read the words with your own eyes, hear them in your own voice and internalize them to truly make them your own. I hope you find the words—whichever ones they may be—that give your life meaning.

Meredith Duncan
Alpha Iota-California/Los Angeles
Leadership Development Consultant