sorority sisters graduating

To The Sister I Never Knew I Needed, Thank You

Growing up and becoming a young adult is hard, but sisters make it easier.

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One of the things I am most grateful for in my life is my brother, he has become one of my favorite people and is growing up way too fast. Of course, I just have the one brother, but always wished I had a sister, the grass is always greener right? My friends who actually had sisters always told me it was awful, you don't want a sister, I'd rather have a brother.

All of that changed when I came to college. I was always on the fence about joining a sorority because of all the bad media surrounding the Greek community. I wanted to make new friends so I went for it, you're only in college once. It has honestly been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life and I am so grateful for every single opportunity I've had in my chapter.

But it didn't start off this way. When I first joined, I didn't think Greek life was something I would fit in to. I struggled with making friends at first because it's intimidating and you kind of just want to crawl under a rock. But that all changed when I met you.

At my first event for our chapter, I approached you because we had one of those weird connections where someone I knew, also knew you, so that meant we had to know each other. That five-second surge of confidence changed my entire world.

After weeks of hanging out and getting to know each other, we awkwardly told each other we wanted to be big and little. The night you became my big will always be one of my favorite sorority memories because now I was a part of the best family there is.

You were a constant support for me during my freshman year and made me feel like I always had someone to talk to, even when I felt like I didn't. We became so incredibly close and when our chapter hit a rough patch, we both thought about dropping. It was a hard decision because I didn't want to leave my friends or you. You made the choice very simple and if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't still be in this chapter.

At this point, you aren't just my big anymore, but one of my best friends in college. From expanding our family to the Fiesta dates to driving home at 7 am to go to your hair appointment with you at 10 am, to picking you up from the bars at 1 am because you're bored and watching you graduate and move on to bigger and better things.

I am the luckiest girl in the world to have a role model like you.

You make me want to be a better student, person, big, friend, sister, and daughter. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for you. You have shown me how to truly be the best that I can be and to start depending on me because no one is going to do it for you but you.

You are going to thrive in graduate school and I can't wait to come to visit you, wherever you end up. Congratulations on your graduation, KR, you are an unbelievable human being with more love and compassion in your heart than anyone I've ever met. I thank my lucky stars for you.

Love you always,

Little

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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I Didn't Join A Panhellenic Sorority

It's okay if you don't join a panhellenic sorority. Sometimes a different organization can turn out to be the best thing.

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Before going to college I was faced with a dilemma, should I rush? I wanted to rush just for the social aspect, I thought it would be my best shot at making a bunch of friends. However, deep down I knew that greek life really wasn't me. I didn't want to do something if I wasn't one hundred percent behind it. There was a part of me that did want to be in a sorority but the other part of me really didn't want to rush. Let me be clear, I don't think Greek life is bad, I just think it wasn't for me. I talked to my brother and sister-in-law about this because they both were in Greek life at the college I attend now; they told me that they didn't think I would like it either.

What my brother and sister-in-law told me that I might like was, a Christian sorority called Sigma Phi Lambda. When they described it to me it seemed like exactly what I was wanting. As soon as I got to college I sought them out; and I went to their recruitment nights. I loved it! It was exactly what I was looking for. I ended up joining. This sorority brought me an amazing group of friends! Most importantly, I have joined the perfect sorority for me! A few things I liked most about Sigma Phi Lambda was the people were so welcoming, it was more low key and laid back, I was still able to have a big and a "Pham", we still did lots of sorority things whilst also having activities that strengthened us on our walks with the Lord, and I gained so many sisters that I now have strong relationships with. Sigma Phi Lambda gave me so many friends and something to be involved in on campus. They gave me somewhere to belong and I am so glad I chose to join them.

Rushing may be exactly what you need when you go to college, but if it's not that is okay. Just join something that makes you happy. Join an organization that helps you grow and surrounds you with people that you want to be around. I promise when you get to college that there is an organization for just about everything, find the one that fits you. No matter what you choose I promise it's good. Just make sure you choose what is right for you.

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