My sister and I are first generation fraternity women. She joined Chi Omega at Eastern New Mexico State University a semester before I decided to join Greek Life. After hearing about her experience, I knew joining an organization was something I wanted to do, but it would be several years later that I realized that it was something I NEEDED to do. I opted out of formal recruitment and couldn’t decide where to start with spring recruitment. One day I arrived early to a 101 class to find a copy of the school paper on a table. It was a small ad, but what caught my attention was the simple question printed: 'Are you ready to write the next chapter of your life?'
I attended a few Alpha Xi Delta events where I had the opportunity to meet Sam and later Winter. To this day, I don't think these women understand how much they changed my life when they presented me with my bid. As the days went on more women were added to my pledge class. During one afternoon of tabling with Sam, I was able to experience first hand, a then stranger, receive her bid. This stranger later became one of my best friends and bridesmaid. Alyssa was a timid Sister with a heart of gold who thought she wouldn't be selected because she was "too old" (her words not mine) and cried when Sam gave her that small white envelope and first set of letters. This is where I learned how real and important this commitment was going to be.
As time went on our chapter grew and times got tougher for me in my personal life. During one late night in the library I ended up in tears after a phone conversation. Erin took me in for the night, so I didn’t have to deal with the problem alone and could focus my major test the next day. That night I learned how valuable the bonds I was creating were.
A couple years later and my time in the chapter was ending another shy member in our chapter was struggling with deciding if she should take on an executive leadership role. After a heart to heart with her I was beyond excited when she decided to go for it. Stephany went on to be one of our best financial vps and chapter presidents. Watching her take on new challenges gave true definition to “realizing your potential” and made me reflect on how much I grew in my chapter as well.
I graduated in December of 2013 and all I have to look back on are hundreds of these little moments, that I hold onto so dearly. When I'm missing my sisters I often find myself looking back on these memories and sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday.
If I could say anything to a new sister who is reading my story and just starting her journey it's this:
- First, get as involved as possible as soon as possible! You'll regret the time you wasted being scared or unsure. Hold your breath and jump in! This is how you will build connections, get to know your Sisters, and gain confidence in yourself.
- Second, let down your guard and let these women in, because they will change your life in more ways than one. There was a low point in my life and I wanted to shut the world out, but my Sisters didn't let that happen. As soon as I let them in I truly understood the strength and bond of Sisterhood.
- Third, understand that everyday is not always going to be heart sunshine, but those may be some of the best memories you take with you when you graduate. These women have been by my side through several high and low points in my life and never left.
Finally, please remember, years later when you get to Senior Ceremony and you find it's too hard to let go and you can't imagine your life without it, you'll know you've done it right.
"I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them." Andy Bernard
Submitted by Staci Delfin, New Mexico '09