Instead of posting an old family photo on Instagram this thursday like I usually do, I figured I would actually post something relevant to throwback to today. As my younger sorority sisters are just now heading to their sisterhood retreat to prepare for another exciting year of recruitment at Clemson University, I am brought back to exactly a year ago, as I was preparing for my final year of my undergraduate career.
I remember Jaclyn asking me if I would speak at Preference Round- I freaked. Of course I would love to speak at Pref Round, but I was certainly not capable of coming up with anything serious. This was Paige she was talking to. She then continued to ask me throughout the next week how it was going, and I lied every time saying, “yeah, it’s almost done!” Had I started? Of course not. Maria knew how seriously I was taking this and knew that I probably wasn’t getting anything done in my own apartment (thanks Laur and Melissa), so she made me go over to her apartment and sit in silence until it was done. I kid you not, I sat down and wrote my speech the night before Pref Round. It took maybe an hour, but I never stopped writing, never edited, and never proofread. We gathered all the girls to Maria’s apartment to hear it for the first time. Obviously, I couldn’t make it through the speech without crying, and neither could anyone else, really. I considered keeping this all to myself, but after my incredible sorority started posting some great PR content, I knew I had to share it. Good luck, ladies, I hope you have a fabulous recruitment and know that I miss you all!
Alpha Chi Omega. Little did I know four years ago how much those three words would change my life. At the beginning of Recruitment, just as many of you probably have, I struggled when it came to differentiating the various groups of women from one another. The moment that I knew Alpha Chi Omega was the place for me is still one of my fondest memories of this sorority. I was overcome with tears upon watching the skit and dance so much so that several people actually came up to me to make sure that I would be okay. Mortified at my overwhelming emotions, I explained to them that no, I was not upset or offended; I was crying because I felt as if I had known these women for my entire life. And for the first time in my life, I felt like I was a part of something so much bigger than what it had initially seemed on the surface. For it is that moment that would lead me to the best decision I could have ever made: Alpha Chi Omega.
To me, Alpha Chi Omega is more than just the functions, the mixers, and the t-shirts. It’s more than the block seating at football games or the Greek letters on the back of my car. It’s even more than always having a network of women you can turn to when you need advice, or a job. To me, Alpha Chi Omega is the sisters who knew you needed a support system way before you knew it yourself. It’s the girl who set you up for your first function, who would become your big a week later, as well as one of the main reasons you made it through your freshman year alive. It’s the group of women who were there for you no matter what the circumstances or the situation, even when they hardly knew your name. It’s the sister you barely knew who volunteered to come on your Spring Break trip Freshman Year with a bunch of people she’d never met who became your best friend and future bridesmaid. To me, Alpha Chi Omega is a phone call to California when you needed someone to piece you back together when you were falling apart. It’s the random Sunday morning you and your sisters watched the sunrise over Death Valley and realized how truly blessed you are to get to spend 4 years in this place. It’s your roommate who can normally sleep through a tornado, but just happened to wake up when you needed her most, and spend the rest of the night letting you cry on her shoulder; and the same roommate who brought you cookie dough the next morning because she knew you needed it. It’s the last sister you thought you’d ever be friends with who would eventually get you your first internship and who you would spend a week with in Disney World, just the two of you, going back to your childhood for the last time before entering the real world. To me, it’s the best friend who drops all of her plans because you decided to make an impromptu trip to Charleston, and waited up until 3 in the morning until you got there, even when she had to work at 6am the next day. It’s the sister whose wedding you can’t wait for because, boy, do you have some fabulous plans for what you’re going to say in her toast! It’s the women who you lived on the hall with, who accepted you for everything that you are as well as everything you are not, and never passed judgment even when it was so easy to. And it’s those same women who are the sole reason you are so comfortable in your own skin; they are the reason you have more confidence in yourself than you could have ever imagined. To me, Alpha Chi Omega is the best part of your life that you never realized you were missing until you were actually a part of it. It’s beyond a sisterhood. It’s an extension of who you are.
These are all a series of moments that are just a part of what make up Alpha Chi Omega. These moments are the foundation for relationships that will last a lifetime and will be the basis for even more moments. Graduation, getting your first job, getting married: those are all just minor, passing moments that help make up the big picture. And being a part of Alpha Chi Omega has instilled in me the importance of even the simplest of moments. As you look around this room, I hope you take in this moment just as I did three years ago. Although my time here is ending, I will cherish each and every moment with me as I leave, from the moment I cried upon knowing my home in college was Alpha Chi Omega, until now, the moment I look around and realize that I will forever and always be at home in Alpha Chi Omega.