I graduated from my chapter last spring, although I am continuing on in my fifth (and final) year at the University of Nevada this fall, and I remain a decently involved student on campus.
Starting out, I never wanted to join a sorority, really I didn’t want to be at Nevada at all (hard to believe now considering I use #PackPride in my speech almost as much as I do on my social media channels-but that’s a whole different story).
The first week of my freshman year, much to my dismay, I went through recruitment and had to miss the first football game, thanks a lot mom.
I joined my chapter, gained sisters and friends, went through the new member process and so on and so forth. Fast forward four years to last spring when I said goodbye to my active member life.
My pledge class and I made it through a lot. The number of our class dwindled as we went along, but our core always remained in tact. How many times I thought about leaving I can’t count, but the key word there is “thought.” It was never an actual option. Was I extremely enthusiastic about getting involved? Not always. Was I around all the time taking advantage of events? Not really. Was I really into crafting and screaming “BIG” every chance I got? Um, not even close (although I do have the best Big ever-shoutout to you).
Sorority and Greek life never fully defined me. It was a part of my life, of course. But it was never my entire life.
I am not a crier. When my pledge class and I graduated, I think I was one of the few (pretty sure the only) person in the group that didn’t cry. It wasn’t because I wasn’t sad, because I was. But I had it easier, I was still a student so I knew I would be around. I was also ready to move on and I could feel that it was time- c’est la vie.
Reflecting back as I see faces, new and old, embracing each other and celebrating another recruitment season, another group of new women to be welcomed into the Greek community, I can’t help but think about my time in my chapter and where I am now.
It’s easy to “roll with it” and not understand the impact of different experiences. Whether you’re involved with an organization, going to school, wrapped up in a job or living somewhere for a good amount of time, it’s easy to take it for granted. It’s easy to see the annoying stuff and it’s easy to complain about an obligation. It takes reflection and thought to see the opportunities, to realize that every smile is a blessing and to see the beauty around you.
Looking at my experience now, I remember some stuff.
I remember the women that wanted me to represent them as a Homecoming candidate when I had no idea anyone took me seriously at all. I remember the women who believed that I could be Vice President of Programming for Panhellenic Council when I didn’t think I could speak in front of two people let alone the entire Greek community. I remember the women who told me they valued my opinion during recruitment when I thought they assumed I was simply a partier and nothing more. I remember the women that taught me not to care what people think, to be confident and to follow my dreams, simply because I could. I remember the women that believed in me when I didn’t. I remember the women that looked up to me while I was an active, and I remember the women who look up to me now and continue to inspire me to be better and do better every day.
So, when you look back, you won’t remember the parties, the rules or the mandatory meetings. But you will remember the friends, the role models and the women that looked up to you and believed in you even when you didn’t yourself.
I actually haven’t really realized this until today. I never gave my chapter and the women in it enough credit. Now, when I look back and think about my experience I’ll remember all those things, and know that I can do whatever is ahead of me and you can bet “KAO alum” is now in my Twitter and Instagram bios (PR nerd at heart).
You can also bet that I encourage all members-new and current, to be as involved as possible and scream “BIG” at the top of your lungs as much as you want-it is Theta for a lifetime, but I can’t get away with dressing up like a Ninja Turtle for a fraternity social anymore.