This week were senior celebrations at the Beta Chapter of Gamma Phi Beta. Being one of the many to enter alumna status this coming April 30, I was honored to feel the love from my chapter around me. As part of the celebrations, the seniors were prompted to write a speech about their experience and what Gamma Phi meant to them.
I wrote the following letter to my sorority, and I wanted to share it here in case any girl four years behind me will be going into college this fall and is contemplating whether or not a sorority is for them. Know that the experience is a really fulfilling one that surrounds you with amazing people. Know that sometimes first impressions aren’t the ones you’re looking for, but also know to never give up hope, because even when you least expect it you might stumble into just what you were looking to find.
An open letter to my sorority upon my graduation –
Going into college, I never saw myself joining a sorority. Granted I loved Legally Blonde as much as the next girl, but that was about all I knew about Greek Life. Some people I met said they loved it. Other’s said it wasn’t for them. I apparently missed the application deadline for recruitment, so I figured I stood with the later.
Having missed my opportunity freshman year, I decided to go through formal recruitment as a sophomore. I knew a bit more about Greek Life – I was surrounded by it in my classes and it intrigued me. I liked the idea of sisterhood and I was excited to meet new people, and with Michigan being such a large campus, the possibility of making it feel smaller was great. Not really sure where I stood still, I figured I would at least learn more about it by going through rush.
Formal recruitment exposed me to something I realized I wanted to be a part of. Unfortunately – I didn’t find that then.
As a sophomore, I didn’t want to join a sorority just for the sake of joining one. I wanted to find a group that I really connected with. So I ended up turning down my bid. But when I thought it was over, my Rho Omega said – hey, if you change your mind, there’s this new sorority coming to campus next year that will be looking for girls in every grade.
By the time I returned to campus to begin my junior year, I began to see a bit of pink everywhere I went. So I decided that despite being a junior, I wanted to expand my horizons and go through extension recruitment. My mom had been part of a colonizing class of ΑΟΠ at Michigan State and encouraged the whole idea – the fact that we were new and got to establish who we wanted to be on campus was really exciting.
And immediately I felt that connection that I hadn’t found during formal recruitment. The group of girls I got to know were so diverse and genuine and intelligent and sincere and beautiful. It was real, and I wanted to be a part of it.
So three years not too late, I finally found the group I was supposed to join.
It didn’t take me long to fall completely in love with Gamma Phi Beta. I’ve met some incredible girls that I know will be my friends for years to come. I got to grow closer not only to my adopted family of sisters but my real family, with my lovely cousin first becoming my sister and then my twin.
Looking back on my days in college, I know that I will always fondly remember the formals that I danced the night away at, or the mixers where I got to know my sisters better, or the philanthropy days where we styled some awesome hair for some even more awesome strong girls. I will remember the sisters who were my shoulder to cry on when I went through hard times.
I’ll remember frosty runs in between recruitment rounds, and meeting up with sisters on Spring Break in Florida after spending the week around senior citizens and it being the best day ever. Striking up conversations with Gamma Phis from other chapters that I met on the beach. I’ll remember the excitement of watching our numbers grow and bringing new humans into this wonderful family each recruitment.
It breaks my heart that I only had two years here at Beta, but I know the rest of you will carry on and grow this chapter into something amazing, and I can’t wait to watch that and be proud of you all. And I can’t wait to get to Chicago and hang out with alumni from other chapters! Because being in a sorority is a life-long commitment, and once again I can’t wait to meet to sisters.
Gamma Phi helped me to find great friendships, gain confidence, and learn so much.
Don’t take the time here with your sisters for granted – college goes fast. But being in a sorority means you never have to be alone. As goddess Audrey Hepburn once said, the best thing to hold onto in life is each other. So immerse yourself in sisterhood, in philanthropy, in whatever you love because this is the time you’ll learn so much about yourself with some of the best people by your side.
So – for today goodbye, for tomorrow good luck, and forever go Gamma Phi.
Thanks for the memories.