I never thought I'd be the girl to rave about how much she loved her big, but here I am getting misty and sentimental over everything I’ve gained since joining a Greek organization. In the wake of Emory’s annual mock recruitment, I started thinking about how my life has changed since this past January. Before coming to Emory, I took the portrayal of sorority women in TV and movies as fact and was convinced I didn’t want any part of it.

But, as I explained to so many people during Novemberfest, Emory Greek Life was far different than what I was expecting and, with that, far more appealing.

As I now prepare to go through recruitment on the other side, I’ve begun to notice all of the unexpected virtues of my decision, starting with my sorority family. I used to think that the exaggerated proclamations of love for one another were forced and fake, especially when it came to how much girls just loooooooooooved their bigs. And then I got my big. And I loooooooooove her.

My big, Lucy, and my grandbig, Emmy, have been the most constant source of inspiration in my life for the better half of the year, and it’s easy to see why just by humblebragging about their accomplishments: Emmy had a job with Teach for America lined up for after college by the end of her junior year, and Lucy’s tireless work landed her a dream internship at Deloitte (which, as a humanities major, I had to ask around about but can confirm that this is a really big deal).

But more than just their public accomplishments and accolades, the two of them have gone through more than their fair share of life in so short an amount of time. And yet, they manage to face every day with this fierceness and optimism that I thought only Beyoncé could ever possess. Moreover, they made time for me when I needed them most this year, despite both being in the midst of stress and neverending work. While by no means claiming they have it all together, they work against their flaws and faults to be the best they can possibly be. They, to me, are some of the strongest women I have ever met and being with them constantly motivates me to work to be better.

I was so distraught for so long about not having a friend group in college. I always felt like I was missing out on having a small pocket community that I could turn to for everything, not realizing that I had made so many amazing best friends spread out across the campus. There are no words for me to describe how much I love and value these friends I have made at Emory, but there’s something deeper in how I feel about Lucy and Emmy: they’ve made a small family here away from home, and they’ve welcomed me into it with open arms.

To the family that chose me, the only thing I can say is thank you. I loooooooooooove you.