Coming into college, I was unsure if I was a “sorority girl.” I didn’t see myself fitting in with what I imagined Greek life to be like, and I was hesitant to put my identity in something that had so many negative stereotypes. I came out of an all girls’ high school knowing who I was and what I believed in. I learned in high school that I could do anything I set my mind to and that I was strong enough to fight against the limitations of gender in today’s society. I knew that Greek life would give me a group of people to hang out with, but what I didn’t realize is that it too would empower me, strengthen me, and further shape me into a strong, confident woman.
The Panhellenic community is comprised of future entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, legislators, and to put it simply, it is comprised of world-changers. What people often don’t see when they see sororities is that our members together log hundreds of thousands of service hours each year, that we are consistently higher than the all women undergraduate GPA, and that our members are often the leaders of other campus organizations. I am overwhelmingly proud to be a “sorority girl” and to know so many women that defy the stereotypes of Greek life.
Many of those women that make me proud to be in a sorority are the 234 women of Alpha Omicron Pi. Over the last three years, it has become clear to me that our chapter was perfectly and wonderfully handcrafted by God. Jokingly this past year, I was trying to come up with a phrase to go with a day of the week where we could post pictures of our friends with some hashtag along the lines of #whyaoiiwednesday. However, I wanted something that represented our chapter’s personality or that was more original, and hence #sheafofwheatwednesday was created. The sheaf is used in a lot of special ways in Alpha Omicron Pi internationally, but it wasn’t until recently that I was reminded of the meaning behind this symbol. It represents a group of individuals bound together and made stronger together than they are apart. It represents a community that brings out one another’s strengths and talents and makes every person feel that they belong. It is such a blessing to be surrounded by the loveliest of human beings. It is the everyday moments and it is each and every one of the 234 members of this chapter that make me love aoii with all my heart.
It is Alison Kilgore for reassuring me in a mental breakdown over organic chemistry that I am smart enough to be a doctor. She is the most constant friend I’ve ever had, and I can’t imagine what college would be like without her advice and love.
It is Hannah Craig, who believed I was a leader when I was unsure of myself. She is not only a role model for our chapter, but she can tell stories that end with every single person literally rolling on the floor laughing.
It is Abby Hale for leaving me encouraging notes on my bed. Whether it be during finals week or on a random day, she lets me know I am loved and points me in the direction of Jesus.
It is Hadley O’Hara, who is the only freshman serving on Leadership Council and has more grace, poise, humility, and kindness than I have ever seen all wrapped into one person.
It is Jesse Higdon, who assured a random high school senior girl that she didn’t have to pretend to be someone she wasn’t to go through recruitment. Thank goodness for Jesse because that random girl is now one of my roommates and one of my very favorite people on this earth. Annalyce Bass doesn’t live a day without checking on the needs of other people. She is sunshine and goodness and makes all of my days happier.
It is Nathalie Flores for making friendships with so many of the sophomore pledge class while living in the house as a senior and truly giving her all for this organization. She is faithful, inspiring, intentional, and dedicated.
It is an email from a dad thanking whichever of our members drove the car with the aoii sticker on the back that randomly paid for his and his son’s meal in the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A.
It is our recruitment. It is how we take a time that can be stressful and negative for so many chapters and turn it into a time to celebrate one another and all the reasons our chapter is so near to our hearts.
It is the ten aoii girls I live with. They are my best friends, the best roommates, the people I want to talk about my day with, and the people I want to have reunions with every single year after we graduate.
It is a hard feeling to sometimes put into words, but all I know is that it feels selfish that not everyone gets to experience it. There is something special about knowing people are still going to be in your life 50+ years from now, and it warms my heart thinking about it. It is rare to find a community that seeks heart and character and that allows you to truly come as you are, meets you where you’re at, and continuously pours into you and lifts you up. This chapter is the type of community that makes every member feel like they have something to give, that their presence matters. I am utterly amazed at the vast amount of encouragement I have felt through this chapter, and I am so immensely proud to know and be known by these women.
So, to the 234 girls that are, without hesitation, the most amazing, down to earth, compassionate, silly, and life-giving group of women I know—thank you. You are the reason I love this chapter. You ALL make me so proud to be an Alpha Omicron Pi and to be a sorority woman, and I hope I can return the feeling this next year and leave our place better and more beautiful than I found it.