Overcoming Adversity Through Dedicated Involvement

Overcoming Adversity Through Dedicated Involvement

The symbolism and values behind my sorority and the six honors society I am involved in are treasures I will take with me after graduation.

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This past weekend was action packed. On Saturday, April 27th, I had my Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society induction and on Sunday, April 28th, I was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success induction in the early afternoon and then proceeded to present my senior legacy plan for my sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha.

On Saturday, I was inducted into Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society. This honors society is particularly special to me because it celebrates the accomplishments of students with some form of disability, yet, despite these barriers, are able to break the stigma surrounding disabilities through setting the example that disabilities do not have to hold us back, or "disable us." This organization encourages us to celebrate our achievements, whatever form they may take while setting an example going forward that disabilities may be a part of who of we are, but do not define us, nor limit us in being leaders and achieving great things.

Earlier this semester I was inducted into Lambda Pi Eta, which is the National Communication Association's official honor society at four-year universities. According to the National Communication Association, Lambda Pi Eta represents what Aristotle described in Rhetoric as three ingredients of persuasion: Lambda, logos, meaning logic; Pi, pathos, relating to emotion; and Eta, ethos, defined as character credibility and ethics.

During the Fall 2018 semester, I was initiated into Order of Omega, honor society for leaders in the Greek community and encouraging Greek-wide unity among the sororities and the fraternities. I was also initiated into Golden Key International Honour Society. The seal of Golden Key puts emphasis on academics, leadership, and service. As with all these different honor's societies, recognition of academic excellence is only the beginning; these organizations aim to help students discover who they are so that they can reach their potential.

The year prior, during the Fall 2017 semester, I was initiated into Tau Sigma Honor Society for Transfer Students and became a charter member for my sorority, Alpha Sigma Alpha. Tau Sigma aims to help transfer students feel recognized in their academic achievements through the first semester at their new school, while also promoting their involvement in student life so that transfer students, like myself, can continue successfully through their journey after transferring. The values of Alpha Sigma Alpha, growth, integrity, responsibility, generosity, enjoyment, relationships, and learning are what drew me to this organization, in the first place, and, in fact, I have them as my lock-screen screensaver.

I absolutely adore symbolism and the deeper meaning behind what can potentially be taken at face value. I was so excited to learn more about the shield for NSLS, over the weekend, which includes a Phoenix, just how ASA's insignia does. The Phoenix in NSLS symbolizes overcoming adversity since the Phoenix is capable of rising from the ashes. For my legacy plan, I discussed the symbolism of Alpha Sigma Alpha as an organization and shared my experiences pertaining to each symbol through in what became a PowerPoint photo book, which also turned into a day of celebrating poise and purpose, living joyously, and success through leadership development.

The Delta Alpha Pi pin and the National Society of Leadership and Success, are great additions to my "honors bear," which was given to me by my parents the day of my Cuyahoga Community College commencement ceremony; I have been adding pins to it ever since I transferred to Cleveland State University. All I'm missing is my Order of Omega pin, but the rest of them are pictured in the cover photo.

With my involvement in all of these student organizations, I will be wearing 5 sets of honors cords, my honors award medallion, and my ASA stole at graduation. Initially, I was embarrassed by all my graduation regalia, but thanks to the reassurance and support from my best friends and parents, I am no longer embarrassed and am so proud of myself for how far I really have come, despite mental illness, trauma, and recovery, and what I've been able to achieve despite.

Though it's technically a mythical creature, the Phoenix has officially become my spirit animal, right up there with owls and butterflies, because no matter what happens, I know in my heart of hearts that I am more than capable of overcoming adversity, whatever shape it may take, and am so excited to move forward fearlessly, with these values and symbols guiding the way.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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My Converse Are My Support

They aren't just another pair of white shoes.

collette
collette
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When I was at the peak of my middle school, just like so many other girls, I wanted a pair of converse. Specifically, white low-top converse. I wanted to be able to have a solid shoe that looked good in pictures and that I could dress up or dress down. To me, Converse were the perfect solution.

I got my beloved pair of converse in 8th grade. After months of begging my parents, they finally caved and bought them for me. From there, I would wear my converse every single day of my life. They went from squeaky clean to incredibly dirty in a matter of months, and I was proud of that.

But what makes them so special?

These Converse have traveled the world with me.

I lived abroad from 7th to 10th grade, and the converse went everywhere I went. From the streets of Venice, Italy, to the caves of Cappadocia, Turkey, to the hot springs of Sapporo Japan, these shoes are my support. My dad eventually started getting annoyed, asking why I would bring them on every trip or why I would wear them to nice dinners. But it's because these specific pair of Converse have, quite literally, been all over the world.

These shoes are almost broken. The soles are ripping, the material on the inside is tearing, and the siding is splitting. But just as tradition goes, these Converse go where I go. So when it was time for college, I wore them on my feet when I stepped into the new chapter of my life.

I don't wear them every single day now - I'm more known to wear my red Stan Smiths now - but that doesn't mean that every time I see them that I smile or think back to what these shoes have done for me. I never knew I could have such a bond with such a material object. I don't think I'll be letting go of these shoes any time soon, because they still have to carry me through so much of my life, and I'm really looking forward to it.

collette
collette

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