I was nervous. I knew almost no one in my pledge class. Up until move in, I did not want to live in my sorority house. In fact, over the summer I even told my mom that if I didn't like it after one semester, I was going to try to live somewhere else.
Boy, all of my nervous thoughts were so wrong. Now, I couldn't imagine moving out after one semester. Quickly, after just one week of school, I truly loved where I was living, mainly due to all of the amazing girls I was surrounded by. Even though COVID took so much away, I am blessed to have met 50 some women in this house to make memories with throughout this global pandemic. I couldn't imagine so much (safe and masked) human interaction during COVID. Shoutout to my AOII girls, for making this semester as fun as it was, despite all of the changes, cancelations and strange corona restrictions.
Here are some of my favorite, wholesome memories, straight out of a University of Illinois sorority house.
Meals with people all. the. time.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved my dorm experiences freshman and sophomore years, but when it came to meals and my friend group wasn't around, I was eating by myself. I wasn't a fan of sitting all alone in the caf, so I'd bury my nose in my phone to look busy and distracted. In the AOII house, though, there will ALWAYS be someone in the kitchen to eat with. You can share stories about your days, rant about homework assignments and make fun weekend plans.
Movie marathons galoremodern family movie night GIFGiphy
The amount of TV shows and movies I have watched in the "sol" (our TV room) is kinda crazy. Between watching "This Is Us" and the "Bachelorette" regularly, to crying over Disney's "Clouds" and now finishing up the "Hunger Games" series, there is never a dull moment.
Bathroom buddiesskin care lol GIF by The GroundlingsGiphy
Lookin at you guys, MariaElena and Brooke! The fact that I know the same couple of people's shower and sleep schedules is kinda funny. It's no surprise to see MariaElena at 9am also washing her face and getting ready for the day. It has kinda turned into a routine.
The nicest, most caring chefs!swedish chef cooking GIFGiphy
Michelle and Dan! With my weird rehearsal and practice schedule, I have late plates almost every night. They know my schedule, they know I hate cheese, they check-in and make sure I take my allergy medicine every day. It's the little things.
She deserves the "house mom of the year" award. Just like our chefs, she knows each of the us like her own kids. She made Halloween baskets for us, she helped us repaint our backyard fence and as I write this, she is decorating the house for Christmas. Just another reason AOII feels like home.
Helping with projects
Being a journalism major, I have to interview, get video and photograph a lot of people pretty regularly. Living in a house with a bunch of girls with a whole bunch of different interests, academic areas and connections around campus is crucial when I have to write and produce stories. How else would I have learned about Grace's experience living in Ireland, or, would I have been able to interview a high school senior about college applications if I didn't know Emma's younger brother?
Creative but classic "sorority events"
No in-person bid day, no in-person big/little reveal, no in-person philanthropy events and no traditional barn dance, but it has left a lot of room for creativity. We're able to have small, outdoor events with masks on. We have a lot of Zoom activities and meetings. It's been different, but I still have an amazing group of friends and the absolute sweetest little to go to socials in our backyard and have lunch on the quad with.
In the house, we have to wear masks everywhere except for our rooms and we can only have a certain number of people in a room at a time. More recently, our governor cut all indoor dining and now we have to eat all meals in our own rooms. I'd do anything to watch this virus disappear for good, but I am proud of our house for going through this whole semester with only one positive case. I can't wait to make more memories next semester.