I feel like it was just yesterday that I was decked out in all white awaiting my initiation ceremony. It was a beautiful Saturday morning in the fall of 2013, and I was so eager to become an official member of the organization I had found my truest friends in.
It's crazy how powerful Greek organizations can be in college life.
If it wasn’t for Alpha Xi Delta at UNC Asheville, I would’ve transferred my second semester freshman year.
Meeting my Big, and all my other sisters, changed my life.
And my only hope for you is that it does the same thing.
Never forget the principles and tradition your sisterhood is founded on.
Growing up, one of my favorite lines in one of my many favorite songs was “promises mean everything when you’re little and the world’s so big.” This lyric holds true in different places of life. And, when you pledge the core values and learn the tradition of the organization you are being initiated into, this promise should mean a great deal to you. Not only are you being welcomed by those women who have learned and lived before you, you are pledging this ideas and values to yourself. Living out these ideals and traditions are vital to seeing all the benefits and promises your sisterhood has. As I remind myself daily, I hope to grow and live in courage, graciousness, and peace. When you are able to see your Greek values in your college life decisions, and attitude, that is when this promise is worth never forgetting.
Always know you are wearing your letters.
It’s scary to read that, and hear it, and really understand what it means. I know at bigger schools it may be much different. But in a smaller college community, it is very true that nearly everyone on campus knows when you decide to go Greek. And here’s the thing, when you make a decision to go Greek, you often gain this label of “sorority girl.” However, what you choose to do with that label is where this gets important. You are always wearing your letters, sorority girl. Your letters go before you, and your sisterhood stands behind you. Your letters are with you at that party, where you drank a little too much and ended up on a table screaming your current favorite song. Your letters are with you when you are in class and decide to text rather than pay attention. They follow you in and out of classes, all around campus, and even later into your life. Your letters are with you when your sweet boyfriend of many years gets down on one knee, and when you face hardships, they’re still there. See, that’s the beauty in it. No matter where you go, as long as you hold true to the promises, your letters are with you. Greek life does not define you, but you define what people see as you represent your letters. Wear them proud, always.
What you pour into it, you will get out of it.
As you start this new chapter as an initiated sister, know that you will be challenged. Being in a sorority is often misunderstood due to the media. It’s not all fun and games, but it is all worth it. When you are faced with obstacles in your sisterhood, remember your values and promises. When you are celebrating, remember you choose how you represent your letters and you should feel proud every time you do! What you give to your sisterhood, you will get out of it -- and you will probably get even more than you give. When you made the decision to join an organization, you may have been searching for a place to call home, friends, or just a good resume booster. But what you offer and work hard for in your organization will reflect how you feel about your sisterhood and ultimately how much you love and enjoy it.
Here’s to this next adventure, sweet sisters. Being initiated into any Greek organization is a “congratulations,” and celebration! It is the beginning of many opportunities, challenges, and good memories with wonderful people you get to call family. I am more grateful for my sisters than many of them know, which is why my hope for you is that you seek out the opportunities you want in the sisterhood. That you wear your letters on a daily basis (not actually because I know letters get expensive and Gone Greek doesn’t always have them on sale) and know that you are wearing them proudly. That you continue to grow in the values and promises of your sisterhood and you receive more back than what you poured in.
Congratulations on initiation.
(Xi love and all of mine)