Jennifer T's Story
To give you an idea the of campus life at Youngstown State University, it was 20 minutes from my house and was mainly a commuter campus. As I set off on this next chapter of my life, I was determined to make sure I had the same college experience all of my friends from high school who were going away to college. I had a friend from high school who was in Alpha Xi Delta who invited me to come to a "Spa Night" COB. I knew this was the organization I wanted to join and signed my bid that night. From then, it was quite a journey. I can go on and on about the positions I held, events I attended, and memories I made, however, the one thing I acquired from this organization was proof that lifelong friendships are possible. I remember being told that I was going to find my bridesmaids here. I causally acknowledged that statement with an eye roll thinking I already had friends from high school. There’s no way I will be able to make closer friendships than those. Well, I can gladly say I was proven wrong. When I got married, I had three Alpha Xi Delta Sisters as bridesmaids.
Being 8 years alumna now, I still have that same group of Sisters I met in chapter. We are constantly in contact with each other. We have shared many life experiences since graduating (marriages, moving, pregnancies, children, professional degrees etc), but in the midst of this crazy life, we always make the effort to meet up. I will forever be indebted to Alpha Xi Delta for bringing this group of friends into my life. They have taught me the true definition of friendship. The type of friendship where time can pass you by that you may spend apart, but when you reunite, it is as if time stood still.
Alpha Xi Delta also had an influence on my career. Two women I encountered as an undergraduate who became role models for me were my chapter advisor and greek advisor, both were Theta Upsilon alumna. They were driven, inspirational, and strong. At that time, I was not sure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, but I was sure of the woman I wanted to become. As my college career started dwindling down, I decided to change my career from theater to higher education. I felt that this path would lead me to a life that would fulfill more than any bright lights on a stage. A career in higher education would serve as a way of giving back what these two women, this organization, and university gave to me.
I truly found myself at YSU and in Alpha Xi Delta. It was the first time I did not feel constrained by social expectations. In fact, Alpha Xi Delta inspired me to challenge them. I am happy to report I am currently working at the very college I attended, and the revolution as an Alpha Xi Delta member has come full circle as I am the current Chapter Advisor for Theta Upsilon. Watching the chapter evolve, and the women I advise grow has really brought to perspective how impactful joining a sorority can have on a young woman’s life. I aspire to help my members become stronger than they were when they first joined and to give them the courage to pursue their wildest dreams. The chapter’s values have become the values I live my life by. No matter how much time has passed, I will always keep close to me the ideals of courage, graciousness, and peace.
Written by Jennifer Thomas, '10 Youngstown State