An Open Letter To Alpha Gam

An Open Letter To Alpha Gam

4 years. 3 letters. 2 roses. 1 purpose.
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Dear Alpha Gamma Delta,

When I first came to college, I knew I wanted to rush a sorority. It wasn't even a question, honestly. Going through recruitment, that speedy and sometimes stressful week, was almost a blur. But yet, I do recall that one moment when I knew I wanted to be a part of this organization. It just felt right. The day before we made our final selections, I turned to my roommate without saying a word, and she bluntly said, "You were made to be an Alpha Gam girl."

Since then, my time in Alpha Gam has been filled with my best memories from college. Laughter, tears, lifelong friendships and more. I honestly couldn't have done college without you. I can't imagine who I would be today without you.

I always thought the saying, "It's not four years, it's for life" was super cheesy. But now that I am an alumna of Greek life, I get it. What I've gained from my experience in Alpha Gam is something I'll carry with me forever.

From the outside in, you can't understand. From the inside out, you can't explain.

But, here I am and I'll try to explain.

You taught me sisterhood.

With my freshly penned bid in hand, I looked around the room of mostly unfamiliar faces. I had no idea these girls would mean as much to me as they do now. It's more than a bond we share; it's that sense of trust and understanding with one another that we implement the same ideals throughout our lives. I could look around the room of so many unique ladies and know I can depend on them when I need it most. I have found my best friends, future bridesmaids and role models in Alpha Gam.

You taught me to "live with purpose."

Living with purpose is a phrase that was unfamiliar to me before Alpha Gamma Delta. However, through the values and ideals instilled, I quickly learned the phrase that I would embrace. I learned the importance of cherishing friendships and cultivating acquaintances and that kindness is truly invaluable. But living with purpose resonates most to me in the sense of contributing to the world's work through the joy of service -- giving back not only to Alpha Gam's philanthropy, but with every philanthropy in the Greek community. Sure, the events are fun and they even bring out a little friendly competition, but looking at the big picture, it's amazing the difference Greeks can make for these organizations.

You made me who I am today.

Coming to college, you don't realize how much growing up you still have left to do. Alpha Gam matured me in the most positive way: teaching this once young, naive 18-year-old how it's possible to balance academics, involvement and a social life. As I was surrounded by so many leaders and women fulfilling their dreams, I looked up to every single sister. I knew that's what I aspired to be and Alpha Gam made it happen. You've pushed me to be the best version of myself. To play off a little AGD saying, you've inspired this woman, so I can impact this world.

It's that sense of pride I'll always have when I see a squirrel. Who knew a little woodland creature could be so special to me? It's that when I see red, buff and green, my first thought won't be Christmas colors. Instead, it'll remind me of the symbolism behind those very colors. And pearls, which will always be a staple in my wardrobe, I now hold very near and dear to my heart.

I know no matter how I put words together on this page, I'll never be able to fully get across the appreciation I have for Alpha Gam. I guess what I'm trying to say is, thank you.

Love,

Your Alumna

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Your Happiness Is The Reality You've Created

A formula for true happiness.

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We live in a world of inevitable comparison. We check social media and see the best moments of our friends' lives - big weddings, new houses, exotic vacations. We watch TV and are bombarded by things that we can't afford - the latest technology, fancy clothes, expensive cars. We go to work and hear stories of our coworkers' success - this person got a huge raise, this person bought a new boat, this person lost 10 pounds.

The 21st century is a time like never before. We are constantly being exposed to the highlights of other people's lives, but our minds often fail to realize what highlights actually are. Life has its ups and its downs and highlights focus solely on the ups. Our minds tend to disregard the fact that everyone, without exception, has their own problems to deal with. This can subconsciously push us to shift our expectations based on our perceived, fictional view of other people's lives. Heightened expectations can result in sadness and disappointment.

Here's a simple anecdote to put this theory into perspective. Let's say you're looking to buy a puppy and there's a new breed that you have your eye on. In one instance, your friends all tell you that this new breed is overrated. It's difficult to train, barks a lot, chews up anything and everything - 3/10. You get the puppy, expecting the worst, and are happily surprised that he's calm, sweet, and gentle - 7/10. Your satisfaction increases by 133%.

In another instance, your friends tell you that this new breed is spectacular, obedient, and friendly - 9/10. You get the puppy, with high hopes, and are disappointed that he pees everywhere and doesn't like children and other dogs - 7/10. Your satisfaction decreases by 22%. In both cases, the puppy remains the same, but your perspective shifts. The more you expect, the more likely you are to be unhappy.

Comparison may be inevitable, but it's also controllable. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we should focus on comparing ourselves to our past selves. We should compare the person we are today to the person we were a year ago, a month ago, a week ago, or even just a day ago. Self-improvement is how true happiness is found. Happiness isn't just something that we stumble upon - it's something that we work towards.

Let's say that it has always been your dream to be an English teacher. You go to college and realize that the classes are a lot more difficult than you expected them to be. Everyone else seems to be getting better grades, having more fun, and succeeding at a higher rate than you. Instead of comparing yourself to others, which will surely lead you down a path of disappointment, you should develop a plan for self-improvement. How will you develop better study techniques? How will you learn to manage your time better? How will you get better grades next semester compared to this semester?

You probably won't graduate with all A's like others in your class, and that's a pointless expectation to create for yourself. At the end of four years, you can take pride in the fact that you got smarter, your grades got better, and eventually, you became an English teacher. This is where true happiness lies. Happiness equals reality minus expectations. You're in charge of creating a reality and controlling your expectations.

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