To My Bestie, Who Is About To Be A Kick-Butt Sorority President

To My Bestie, Who Is About To Be A Kick-Butt Sorority President

You inspire me every single day.

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Hey, you.

First off, I want to say how much you inspire me. You balance your academics, social life, and personal well being all at once, and you make it look easy. You are incredibly strong, confident in who you are, and level-headed. You are always there for others, even in the midst of the trials of your own life. You are going to do so well leading this group of women next year.


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However, I know some days will be hard. I know there will be times when you will be so overwhelmed you want to throw your hands in the air in surrender. I know there will be times when you will have to go to bat for the chapter over something that you had nothing to do with. I know there will be times when you will have to choose between addressing a matter or simply letting it go. I know there will be times when you have to separate your role as "friend" from your role as president, and I know it's possible that some of those times, it may be me you have to keep in line.


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Here's the thing. I know you. I know how wise you are, and I know you care so deeply for each and every one of us. I know you are going to fight tirelessly to make this organization one we are all proud to be part of. I know you are not going to abuse your role and that every choice you make will be carefully considered. I know you will always make the decision you genuinely believe is best. I know you are going to represent our organization in a way that encompasses each and every value it was founded on.


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Now, my friend, let me make a couple promises to you. I promise to give you a safe, judgment-free space where you can let out all your emotions. I promise to listen when you need a listener, and give advice when you need guidance. I promise that I will let you know if you start to invest too much time into the organization that you forget to care about yourself. I promise to stand by you and support you in those times when you make those tough decisions, even if I disagree with some of them.


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The more I write this, the more I feel like I am making wedding vows. Though it may seem like that, I believe I am making these promises to you as someone who wants to do life with you, who wants to support you, and wants what's best for you. I am making these promises to you as your friend and as your sister.

I am unbelievably proud of you, Lady Superior. Go kick butt this year.


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A Letter To My Angel, Amanda

Rest Easy Angel 11.07.18

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Amanda,

Your death has been the hardest thing for me to accept because every day I knew you, you were so full of life. You were radiant. Your presence lit up every room you walked into and your infectious laugh filled it. You cared for everyone and put others before yourself. You were one of my first forever friends.

You accepted and loved me for everything I was and everything I was not. You kept me company whether we were sitting in my basement doing nothing at all or spending the day in New York City. You were constantly making me laugh and were always there for me.

I scroll through my camera roll and your Facebook all the time and there are so many random pictures of us that I can't place, that I can't explain, but they're my favorite pictures because they remind me that we have so many memories together that it's impossible to remember them all.

But every time I think of you I'm overwhelmed with seas of memories that I can remember every moment of. Do you remember when we went to your farmhouse for the weekend and spent hours melting crayons with a hair dryer to make our own board? Well, that picture ended up being my Dads background for about 6 years, I still can't tell you why.

Or the day I found out I was moving back to California and you held me while I ugly-cried and told me that we would be friends no matter how far apart we were because you knew that was my biggest fear? And then moving day when you came over and drew notes in sharpie over all of my boxes and we made a mattress slide?

I have countless memories that include you that I'll cherish forever, from playing Just Dance with you in the basement to sharing our 13th birthday party.

These past two months I've been full of anger. I've been angry at the world for taking you and angry at myself for letting life and distance get in the way. I'll probably hold a piece of that anger for the rest of my life but I'll also hold eternal appreciation and admiration for you.

I want to tell you that I appreciate that you were always there for me when I needed someone. I appreciate that you could make me laugh until I couldn't breathe even on my worst days. I appreciate that you accepted me for all my flaws and never expected perfection. I appreciate that you were always supportive and encouraging and most of all I appreciate that you were the most amazing friend.

I want you to know that I admire your strength. I admire how you were always able to find the good in everything and see the best in everyone. I admire how selfless you were, always putting others before yourself. I admired how nonjudgmental you were, you always gave the best advice. I admire how hard headed you could be, never giving up until you reached your goal but more importantly I admired you for being you.

Remembering you is so easy, it's having to miss you that's so hard. My life is better because you were a part of it and I'm far from the only one. There is an army of people that miss you every day that will carry a piece of you forever. Rest easy, angel.

I love you.

Shea.

You are forever in our hearts. 

Amanda Aujero

"Amanda was one of my only friends starting high school and was there with me through family dinners, sleepovers, breakups, SAT's, and graduation. She was a light and such a beautiful person. We laughed so hard together that we would pee our pants. I miss her like crazy and plan on visiting her and talking to her for the rest of my life. She taught me to live with no regrets." -Mary Skrzypczak

"One thing I loved about Amanda was that she had such an open-mindedness I could tell her anything with no judgements." -Avery Zulauf

"My favorite memory of Amanda is us driving down the main road in LBI and laughing our asses off. I have known Amanda for years but her last 2 1/2 years on earth, I feel as if we got the closer we had ever been and I'm internally grateful for that. I love you Amanda." -Catie Keating

"There's a billion amazing words I could use that perfectly describe Amanda, but the one that I think differentiates her from most people is "real". She was real. That girl was truly one of a kind; irreplaceable. I knew from a young age when we became friends in elementary school that I could lose all of my friends but if I only had her I would be okay. It even felt that way at times but she and I were happy having just each other. One of my favorite memories with her was when I moved to Florida to start my freshmen year in high school. We were both upset we weren't experiencing high school together and we promised that we would never stop being best friends. I was scared starting at a school in a new state and not knowing anyone, and you know what Amanda did? For the first week or so before I made friends she would FaceTime me at lunch everyday so I wouldn't eat alone. Now that's true friendship right there. When I moved back it was like I never left. I always thought of her as a sister who just happened to be my best friend too. If you learn one thing from this it's that everyone should have an Amanda in their life. And if you don't, then don't settle because if you have that relationship with someone it outweighs having hundreds of friends. Having that special relationship with someone regardless if you're both here or not will never die. It lives on and it's something that I will cherish forever." -Selena Gonzalez

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Winter Intersessions Don't Have To Be All That Bad

A lot can happen in 10 days.

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Something I think that is important to note here in the beginning is that a lot can happen in just ten days. It may not seem like a long time, but from the time frame of starting a Gender Studies class on Men, Women, and Greek Life and finishing it, we saw the rise of the new Gillette commercial, which touched on men needing to hold men accountable and stop letting the male societal development continue in this never-ending circle. But also, the death of a Sigma Alpha Epsilon brother due to hazing and alcohol abuse, which I might add got next to zero media recognition.

Ten days ago I started a Gender Studies Topics class called Men, Women, and Greek Life. I had zero idea what the class would be when I registered for it since it was just labeled "Gender Studies Topics." But even when the syllabus was sent out a few days before the class started and I found out the name, I still had no clue what we could learn about in this class other than men are in fraternities and women are sororities.

Over this ten-day period, I learned so much from how we "do gender", to culture, to ambivalent sexism, and to intersectionality. To get more specific, I learned a lot about Greek Life in the sense of pledging/rushing, relationships among women, relationships among men, hazing, body objectification, and sexual harassment. But it was about much more than what I learned in the context of Greek Life; it was also a matter of what I learned about myself and society individually and collectively.

I don't want to go too in depth about what I learned specifically.. not in this article at least. I want to focus on the fact that in just ten days, I know more about people, society, the multiple cultures, and the type of men and women we produce in the Greek system than I ever thought was possible to think about. I also saw a lot of the application of these subjects in the real world whether it was through articles, magazine interviews, emails sent out by Greek members, books like TFM, Dirty Rush, and Greek University, or real life/real world pledges dying because of the Greek culture that has developed over time.

It's so fascinating to me that within ten days, in a class of nine people, meeting three and a half hours a day, having a discussion based class experience, I learned more than I probably have in my entire collegiate experience. My outlook, opinions, perspectives, views, and beliefs about certain things have been challenged in the most educating way. I wasn't told I was wrong, I was respected at all times, I was open-minded to the ideas and thoughts that others had. I didn't have time to sit and worry about my grades, or over analyze each class period, or memorize a lecture word for word like I normally would have done for a class.

We watched episodes from the show Greek and Law and Order: SVU along with a movie called Revenge Of The Nerds (which I never would have watched if it had not been for this class). But because we watched these episodes and this movie and then had to analyze the content in relation to our class topic, I won't be able to watch a show or a movie and not recognize that there are really disturbing underlying contexts that we wouldn't notice on any other given day watching our favorite tv show or favorite movie. And believe me- I have already noticed this from trying to watch shows and movies.

What I am trying to say but is difficult to explain is how great of an experience it has been to take a ten-day intensive Gender Studies Class because it was meaningful, powerful, and at times was information that no one likes talking about because it is hard to talk about- especially on a college campus. But because of this experience, I have grown so much as an individual and as a woman affiliated with the Greek system.

So if you ever get the opportunity to take a winter intersession class, especially a Gender Studies class, you should take full advantage because you will go in the classroom on the first day thinking you have plenty of knowledge and leave on the last day thinking about how naive you were at the beginning. And I think realizing you were being naive in the first place shows a greater deal about a person than someone who believes they know it all already and don't need to become more educated about what really happens in the real world.

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