An Ode to the PDjeep

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Writing this might be one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in a while, and that is really saying something. So, here goes- Yes, the rumors are true. I am selling my beloved PDjeep.

IMG_0568Before you cry out in confusion and anger saying “but, Paige?! How could you do such a thing?!” let’s be honest- this was inevitable. I am currently living in a big city exactly 700 miles away from my where the PDjeep is currently situated. When the time eventually comes around for me to need a car in my life again, it is very likely that the PDjeep won’t be able to start, and will, instead, have dug her own grave.

So, now that you understand where I am coming from, I would like to pay homage to my relationship with my car. I wish there was something that I could compare my connection to my car to, but, sadly, there is not. We’ve been through a lot together, the PDjeep and I, and I wouldn’t trade the hours spent in my car with anything in the world.

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I can’t even believe I’m making this public.

I remember when we first began our relationship when my parents had surprised me with her shortly after I received my driver’s license. I was a brat then, and was displeased with my new car. To my parents, I can’t tell you how sorry I am for that. You both know how much the PDjeep means to me now, so, thank you for bringing her into my life. I distinctly remember you giving me the vanity plates that didn’t mean the ‘Paige Dolton’ jeep, but meant the ‘Paige/Peter’ jeep. Whoops, sorry Peter. Also, yes, my car is a female. What did you expect?

341_1024562734249_28_nHigh School was a great time for me and the PDjeep. She unfortunately took the brunt of my sub-par driving skills and got a little too friendly with several stationary objects. Remember that basketball pole at Marshall? The minivan in the church parking lot? Liz’s parked car in our driveway? The mailbox? Sorry for running you into things- you deserved much better than that. The mailbox incident left you looking a little damaged for a while- I swear, you looked much better without a side mirror than with one. But we both got through it together. I wish it was only the exterior that was affected by my high school days, but, sadly, that is not the case. I’m sorry for that one time we used my car as an outdoor music festival in the school parking lot after lacrosse practice and we blew your speakers out. That was a mean thing for me to do, and I apologize.

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367_1026660506692_8451_nBut we had our good times in high school. That’s when we really connected, the PDjeep and me. It was in high school that I learned to love driving. I jumped at any opportunity to drive my friends around because not only did I love my car, but I loved driving people in it. Much to my parents’ dismay, it was always the PDjeep that was the mode of transportation for any night out, adventure, or roadtrip we might take. She made a lot of friends, that’s for sure. My high school friends understood my connection with my car. I was asked to homecoming via window paint not only on my side windows, but on my front windshield (because that’s really safe), we decorated her for so many events I can’t even begin to list them all here, she took us to the Kanye concert, and pretty much any other summer concert after that (she was a concert freak), and she took me to camp every summer. We had some good times in high school, that’s for sure.

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My first year of college was the only time that the PDjeep and I were separated. It was a rough year, but we both knew that it was necessary in order for me to get the most out of my freshman year. She gained her sorority letters, though, much to Peter’s dismay. We also weren’t together my first semester of sophomore year, but it was okay; we got through it.

399298_4086835889164_1462799449_nMy last two years of college were some great ones spent with my car. Most notably, she was used for tailgating and any roadtrip you could possibly imagine. She made it down to Panama City, FL for Fall Break, and it was then that I realized she was starting to get a little old, per the rocket ship sound she was making the entire way. She then made it to Orlando, FL for Spring Break that same year. All the while, getting me back and forth between Clemson and NoVa every now and then. She was starting to get old, and my wallet my dad’s wallet was starting to notice. I naively chose to turn a blind eye because this was my friend, my confidant; I couldn’t part with her, no way.

Senior year, she spent almost every Saturday in the parking lot of Friars right next to the speakers. She got a lot of traffic and made a lot of new friends during football season in Clemson, where she also gained some questionable memorabilia and smells. But she was there for me. She always was. Except for that time she broke down at 8 am during Finals Week on College Ave in front of Subway; that was rough.

Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 9.18.56 PMThis last semester of senior year was probably the toughest on her. Most bizarrely, a stranger chose to sleep in the PDjeep overnight. I learned to never keep my car unlocked again after that lovely incident. She made it all the way to the University of Michigan to visit Nomas, and she didn’t like it one bit. Breaking down in the middle of Ohio was her way of saying, “listen, Paige, I am an old woman.” But throughout all of this, we were learning a lot about each other. I was forced to learn about cars, and she learned that I was stubborn as hell. After the Ohio incident, I continued pushing her limits and brought her to Savannah, GA, and then to Charleston, SC for Spring Break. She had a big of a temper tantrum in Charleston, but, by then I knew exactly how to cure her. I truly put her to the test when I attached a U-Haul to the back of her with my entire life (and some of Kate’s) in tow. That was probably the most emotional journey I had with her because I knew it would be our last. We made a great pair.

I am glad that I said my goodbyes to her when I moved up to Chicago, because I knew this day would eventually come. I truly cherish every hour I spent with the PDjeep, whether it was driving to Virginia Tech for the hundredth time, tailgating for football games and concerts, or just getting me to where I needed to go. She was a good car, and I will miss her immensely, but I know that it is time for her to make someone else happy. Love ya girl, you’ll always be in my heart.

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My significant other.
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#ThrowbackThursday: What Alpha Chi Omega Means to Me

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.

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