I didn’t grow up knowing I would join a sorority, although my mother and my aunt both had. It wasn’t something constantly on my mind when I dreamt of college. Actually, I never dreamt of college in terms of experience. It was just another item on my list of things to do before my life could really start.
That’s where I was completely flawed in my thinking. College is nothing without the experience, and that experience is part of real life.
It’s true, someone (if you’re lucky it’s mom and dad) forks out the impossible dollar amount for your degree, which is why you go to college in the first place, but when you really think about it, that degree is nothing compared to your experience. I’m only a sophomore, and I already know this much: if I hadn’t joined the Greek community, my experience wouldn’t be so incredibly rich. And to think going into it all, I wasn’t even sure what being “Greek” meant.
Sometimes I think I probably could’ve gone without doing formal recruitment, but would things be the same? No. I’d be lost right now without Alpha Phi. You realize the importance of the pieces of your life not when they’re staring you in the face but when you least expect it.
Perhaps inevitably in the eyes of God, I am to undergo my first untimely change in where I get an education this fall, otherwise known as transferring to a new school. Would I be happy to continue at Mizzou? Yes. But do I also feel that I fit like a piece of a puzzle at UCM? Yes. That’s why I’m not the one who’s ultimately in charge of my life. That’s why obstacles and difficult decisions have been placed in my path to direct me towards where I’m meant to be.
And I know from the bottom of my heart that I’m going where I’m meant to be.
In the very beginning of my time as a new member of the Omicron chapter of Alpha Phi, they asked us what we hoped to get out of Alpha Phi and why it was special to us, and so many of my sisters had these incredible stories that tugged your heart strings just so… And then there was me.
I racked my brain for something meaningful. I’ve never experienced great loss or pain. My parents are together. My brothers are healthy. I’m blessed with more than I need. And honestly, I did formal recruitment because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do.
I couldn’t say that though, so I pulled together the best story I could: I grew up cheerleading, and that was my life, but it wasn’t all I thought it would be. Something didn’t click. That “team” feeling wasn’t there, and the closest I’d ever come to being on a team that actually felt like a team was managing my high school’s varsity baseball team. Needless to say being “buddy buddy” with girls wasn’t my forte. I thought Alpha Phi could be that real team for me, and it was special because my aunt is alumnae of the Omicron chapter.
The semester continued, I was initiated, and I still didn’t get that overwhelming feeling of sisterhood and genuine love I had hoped for. It was there, but not with clarity and certainty. Other girls were talking about their future bridesmaids being found and I was still collecting phone numbers of the girls in my pledge class. Had I made a mistake? Sometimes I thought so.
Then all of the transferring talk began over winter break, adding more confusion to my life. I was content giving up Alpha Phi when I thought I’d be transferring to UMKC because I had given Greek life a try, and maybe it just wasn’t for me. Alpha Phi would become a memory and one less thing for me to worry about.
But then UMKC fell through the cracks when my heart and mind wrapped around the idea that I might enjoy and excel at teaching high school English… So of course I needed to go to a “teacher” school. I was led to UCM (because it’s so much cheaper and closer to home for commuting), and one of the first things I discovered was that in the time since my mom had graduated, the Theta Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi was chartered at UCM.
I wouldn’t have to give up my letters, and something small inside me whispered that I shouldn’t. I was meant to be an Alpha Phi.
In the name of never knowing what you have until it’s gone, real relationships with girls in my pledge class began to blossom towards the end of spring semester. I’ll never get to live in 906 Providence with them, but I now truly feel like I’m part of PC13, nonetheless. And I always will be. My sisters are so real and nonjudgmental, encouraging and supportive even when I fall, and that’s what Alpha Phi is all about. Alpha Phis are genuine and loyal, and I can’t ask for more.
Alyssa Michaels is now one of my best friends, and the fact that she’s known me for such a short time but knows to keep me accountable for writing and posting often is incredible. That’s what makes me tick and she knows it. She’s going to love this post when she sees it.
Tough goodbyes were said when I left Mizzou (not in the best fashion I might add), but I was more than ready to move on at UCM. The Theta Lambda chapter accepted me as a member and girls began adding me on social media, making me feel welcome, but at this point I’m still shiny and new so of course they’re curious. Part of the reason I picked Alpha Phi was because I connected with the girls at Mizzou, and chapters are different at every school, so what if the girls at UCM are so different that I don’t fit in?
Confirmation and clarity came to me tonight in the same way it did when I did formal recruitment at Mizzou. My big, Gabi Seim, wasn’t always my big. She was the one girl I distinctly remembered from Alpha Phi during the whole formal recruitment process. She was the only girl to mention, out of pure coincidence, the one item I had brought to school with me that unlocked a heartbreak that I didn’t understand and couldn’t let go of. She wiped my tears and saw all of me, and I think it was in that moment I knew I was where I was meant to be. It’s only fair that she’s with me somehow as I meet my new sisters for the first time, right? Gabi knows one of the girls letting me stay in their apartment during our summer meeting. If that’s not meant to be, I don’t know what is.
They say trust the system when you go through formal recruitment, which I think is a lot like trusting God. He uses the system to get you where you need to be. I certainly never thought that Mizzou’s formal recruitment system would put me where I need to be at UCM, but I think it has.
I’m sure there are a lot of other girls like me who transfer from one chapter of their sorority to another, and I’m sure they have their own stories to tell. My heartbreaking yet liberating transfer experience is showing me how special Alpha Phi is to me because now I’m on a lifelong team with the best women I know, and I don’t even have to be in the same city as them to feel their love and support. These girls are loyal and true, and I’m so proud to be among them.