They're Called "Pops"

They're Called "Pops"

Our names come on popsicle sticks.

In middle school, I was very involved in my choir. My teacher, Mr. Dover, was hilarious and made every class my favorite. It wasn't until I got to high school that I truly understood how intense choir was and how much it would mean to me.

Mr. Forrest and Dr. Cornwell were my teachers during my four years at Clover High School. They taught me how to sing out, how to not be flat when singing a note, how to perfect my solfege and so much more. The Clover Choraliers was my choir in high school. This was where my favorite music and memories were made.

My sophomore year of high school I was assigned a pop. It's almost like a big sister and little sister situation when you compare it.

They're called "pops" because our names come on popsicle sticks. Most of the time one pop will sing alto and so will the younger pop or sometimes the older pop will sing bass and the younger pop will be a tenor.

My pop was Brittany Cash and she was one of the greatest friends I had throughout high school. She was a role model to me, in life and in the chorus building. At the end of my sophomore year, Brittany, unfortunately, graduated because she was a senior.

From my junior year until senior year, when I received my own pop, I was excited yet frightened because I was worried that my little pop wouldn't have the same relationship that Brittany and I did.

Thankfully, I was proved wrong.

Hey there Jacqueline Alcala. My little pop.

Jacqueline became my pop on the first day of my senior year. I did my best to Instagram stalk her before school started so I knew what I was getting into but even that didn't prepare me for the friendship that we have today.

Being a pop isn't a ton of responsibility but you have to make sure their experience in the Clover Choraliers is a good one. Especially their first year.

Today, Jacqueline is a spunky senior in high school with so many dreams and goals. She's like my little sister; the little sister I always wanted.

I'm a sophomore in college now, but I still make the drive back home to see her and take her lunch to school, take her to school or even pick her up from school. We go to the movies or get coffee or sometimes we go to the gym at 5 am.

I always look at my life and thank Mr. Forrest and Dr. C for putting Jacqueline in my life. I'm not totally sure how much thought went into the decision of making her my pop but I am so grateful.

Not everyone has the same relationship that my pop and I have. Once I graduated, we became more than just "pops." It's still so funny going home to Clover and seeing students from my high school and them looking at me kind of funny and say, "Aren't you Jacquline's pop?"

Jacqueline just got into Wofford University, her school of choice. She got a scholarship because she's the smartest kid I know. She's the most courageous and bravest soul and I honestly look up to her a lot of the time.

I am so proud of you, pop. I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Alex Russell

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An Open Letter To My Best Friend On Their Birthday

because your existence is something worth celebrating

An open letter to one of my best friends on their birthday...


First of all, I probably love your birthday more than you because it's a day solely dedicated to your existence, and no one appreciates that more than me, and this is why.

You are always my number one. When I need someone to listen to my day, you're there, offering a hug on a bad day, a shoulder to cry on when I'm upset, or just a few words to reassure me. Most importantly, you make me laugh. Even if I'm in a bad mood, you make me laugh. When I should be embarrassed, instead I just laugh. And when I do something ridiculous myself, you make me laugh with you about it as well. Nothing can go wrong with my partner in crime there to watch my back, and of course you know I've got yours too.

You never know where this next year will take you, but why should that stop you. I hope this is a year where you smile a lot, learn a lot, and love a lot. I hope you discover something new and exciting, hold on to what you've always loved before, and find something unexpected that will amaze you like nothing else, because honestly those are the best surprises. Just remember to take me with you if you are jumping on that bus, train, or plane to explore, because you're not getting away from me that easily.

Not going to lie, some things will change. Nothing can stay exactly the same forever. But there will always be one fan cheering you on, a person to laugh with who loves you unconditionally, and a sarcastic friend who will keep you in your place while still supporting you to no end. And why is this? Look back at all those years (wow, you're getting old), and look at the kind of person you've become. You're pretty darn awesome if I do say so myself- you make the job of 'proud friend' easy for me. But then again, why do you think we're friends in the first place? I knew you were amazing before, now you're just old(er) and amazing. We'll take every curve ball the world throws at us and throw it back even harder, once I actually learn how to throw.

Here's to another year of adventures. Here's to watching movies and videos that we will quote for months, to eating ice cream and having 5-hour phone conversations. Here's to quoting songs and never being afraid to dance along (or have you laugh at me as I dance and sing along). Here's to the board games that you may beat me at one day, but not today. Here's to me being clumsy and stubborn and you being slightly less clumsy but just as stubborn. Here's to playing would you rather and knowing random facts about each other because of it. Here's to pizza at midnight, pancakes at noon, and cake on birthdays. Here's to another year of having you as my best friend.

Happy Birthday!

Forever and Always,

Your person

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15 Reasons Why You Should Join Greek Life

Letters today, leaders tomorrow.


Are you on the fence about joining in on Greek life? You're not alone. Maybe you aren't sure if it's for you, or if you want to go through the rushing process entirely. Everyone has doubts about the outcomes of their choices, but your experiences are determined by what you make of it. I believe that joining Greek life will not only shape your college years but it will develop you into a leader for the future. Here are 15 reasons why Greek life could be for you:

1. You will become extremely involved on campus.

Jessie Searles

There is no better way to get involved on campus than by getting involved with Greek life. You will not only hold your own campus events, but you will attend other Greek organizations to support and learn about their fundraisers and philanthropies.

2. The social aspect.

Kayla Miller

Going Greek is another great way to meet tons of new people and get out of your comfort zone.

3. Greek life will help you get involved in philanthropy and service.

Purdue Phi Mu

Every fraternity and sorority has an organization that they're passionate about. Joining a chapter can introduce you to a new charity organization with a great cause.

4. You will find your lifelong friends.

Purdue Phi Mu

With so many students on campus, you can often find yourself feeling lost in a sea of people. Joining a chapter not only allows you to find friends with similar interests, but a family as well.

5. You will find your home away from home.

Jessie Searles

Being part of a Greek organization can immediately find you a place on campus to call home- and campus will start to feel a lot smaller.

6. You will get help with your academics.

Kayla Miller

Academics are one of the most important and stressful parts of your college experience. Your fraternity or sorority chapter will be willing to help you throughout your academic journey.

7. You have the opportunity to be a leader in your community.

Kate Lorenzen

There are so many opportunities to take on a leadership role in your sorority or fraternity. Each position requires a lot of passion, hard work, and dedication since they help each chapter run smoothly and efficiently.

8. You have the opportunity to obtain scholarships.

Kate Parks

Specific chapters, honor societies, and Greek organizations offer several scholarships to their members. This can help to immensely ease the cost of student living and tuition.

9. You will learn valuable life skills.

Ella Bogart

You learn to communicate with those in your sorority or fraternity and work closely with others in an effort to accomplish a mutual goal. Other general skills include public speaking, planning, time management, leadership, and prioritizing your responsibilities.

10. You have an additional housing option.

Kate Lorenzen

You can have all of the benefits of being close to campus without all the chaos of living in a residence hall. Additionally, you'll be able to build even stronger connections with your fellow sisters or brothers if you choose to live-in your Greek house.

11. You will never feel alone.

Kayla Miller

When you join a family of over 100 sisters or 100 brothers, there is always someone to hang out with and turn too.

12. You will never feel bored.

Jessie Searles

Between all the events, fundraisers, community service, new friendships, socials, meetings, and general "down time" with your chapter, how could you ever be bored?

13. You will continue to network beyond college.

Purdue Phi Mu

Being in a Greek organization is a lifelong membership. Not only will you gain plenty of contacts, you will have plenty of meaningful experiences to add to your resume after graduation.

14. You become part of long-standing tradition.

Kate Parks

Make a difference and be a part of something great. The impact of Greek organizations will continue change the world for the better.

15. You will enhance your overall college experience.

Lauren Hernandez

You won't just find friends here, but a family full of unconditional love and support. You'll be surrounded by people who want to help and see you succeed. You'll make the best memories, and goodbyes will become harder. You won't regret choosing to rush, to go through recruitment, and to decide where you'll spend the next few years of your life with your new brothers or sisters- to go Greek.

"Celebrate we will, for life is short but sweet for certain." - Dave Matthews
Cover Image Credit:

Lauren Hernandez

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