18. Phi Beta Delta: Faculty Can Be Lonely

We often think of loneliness and being at odds as a student phenomenon, and talk a lot in Phi Beta Delta circles about how we can help foreign student adjust to a new and different campus life. But we should remember that not every new faculty member is instantly at home. Nor will every new faculty member easily find friends or mentors.

Phi Beta Delta is a place where students and faculty meet in a less formal setting than the classroom. Chapters have an opportunity to help new faculty get adjusted, met people, and see another side of campus life -- and that could involve running a workshop on where to take dry cleaning or buy organic food, or providing a student helper for the first few weeks of dealing with local transportation and the telephone company. Don't assume that someone is doing all that for them, or that they have a busy social life from day one.

A chapter can make life easier for both visiting professors and those who have come to stay. We all need help in adjusting. It would be too bad if we spent all our time worrying about the new students and none of our time worrying about the new teachers. Keep in mind too that Greek societies will be a new world for some and the difference between social Greeks armed with paddles and our Phi Beta Delta Greeks may not be immediately apparent. The nuances of Greek life are one of the subjects that visitors to the United States find absolutely mystifying, whether it is honorary or social. Explaining that we don't have paddles might be of considerable interest to your newest professors from abroad! You just might have the luck of recruiting an active and valuable member.

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