Why Being A "Sleepaway Camp Kid" Means So Much

Why Being A "Sleepaway Camp Kid" Means So Much

Friends, friends, friends...we will always be.

Coming from a town where it was uncommon to go to sleepaway camp every summer, not many people understood its benefits and how it impacts lives. I can easily say that going to sleepaway camp was one of the best parts of my life. I wouldn't want to trade that experience for anything. Here's why...

Leading up to the first day of camp, there was always a lot of anticipation and excitement. Watching your trunks get picked up and getting your annual pre-camp haircut and mani-pedi was always a part of that. Although the drive up to camp felt like forever, passing all the iconic spots that were close to camp was one of the best parts. Passing places like The Corner and Candy Cone (if you know, you know) always had everyone out of their seats. As a camper (and even an alumni), there was no better feeling than pulling up and seeing the camp sign and all of your favorite people. You're finally home again.

One of the greatest parts of going to sleepaway camp is the sense of community and family that is shared. Camp will always feel welcoming regardless of your age or if you're a camper, counselor, alumni, or parent. There's also always so much spirit and pride at camp. Whether every camper and counselor is participating in Olympics or Color War or crying their eyes out at Color War Sing, seeing how these things bring everyone together is unlike anything else. A key part of camp has always been the traditions shared between generations. From doing cheers in the dining hall and in the playhouse to watching the letters burn on the last night, this part of my life will always be cherished.

If we're being completely honest, even the "bad" parts of camp made it so special. Take finding out the evening activity was leagues or the food for example. Ask anyone on girls side, leagues was never the favorite. The food wasn't horrible but on the days when pizza bagels were for lunch, let's just say the dining hall was a little crazy. Every part of camp, the good and the bad, are unforgettable memories.

Going to sleepaway camp has taught me countless of life lessons and most definitely prepared me for college with being away from home and living with others. While being a camper, I also learned so much about myself. Camp brought me out of my shell as well as make me more independent and responsible. Being away from my parents for seven weeks at a time taught me how to fend for myself. Camp has truly shaped me into the person I am today.

The thing I took away the most from camp, besides the life lessons and the memories, was the relationships I formed. To this day, some of my best friends are my camp friends. These are some of the only people who you never complained about being stuck with every summer, in your bunk or not. Camp gave me lifelong friends and I will never forget the times we played cards by the pool on a "day o'laze" or games around the table in the dining hall, gossiped about everything for hours, or the tears we shed on the last night of camp every summer. Your best friends from camp will be there every step of the way for the rest of your life. Although reunions outside of camp are fun, they don't happen as often as they should. Regardless, your camp friends are your forever friends and I will be forever grateful that camp gave me my people.

If I didn't go to sleepaway camp, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Regardless of how many summers you went for, camp is undoubtedly a remarkable and impactful experience. I have been shaped in ways that are unimaginable. Thank you Mom and Dad for putting me on a bus in 2009 and making me go out of my comfort zone, and thank you Camp Chipinaw for the amazing life lessons and bonds that I formed every summer.

Cover Image Credit: Sydney Eisenberg

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Joining My Sorority Changed My Life

There is more to Greek life than meets the eye.

When I started my first semester of college, I was shy, nervous and a little lost. I made some mistakes, lost my footing and attempted to get my act together. Moving eight hours away to a place where I knew absolutely nobody was the scariest thing I've ever done, but the one thing that made it ten times more bearable was the decision to rush.

Since move-in weekend, the "The Possibilities Are Endless" recruitment fall 2017 flyers were hung up in every hallway from my dorm to my classrooms. Coming into Ohio, I said I would never rush. Greek life has had a bad reputation among many and it didn't seem like the right thing for me. But I kept stopping by to read those flyers, paying attention to the block letter sweaters that sorority girls wore to class, and couldn't help but stare as I walked past the sorority houses on campus.

Ultimately, I decided to rush. What should hold me back? Nothing.

So I stepped out of my safe little bubble and walked into 10 houses of girls screaming the "Go Greek" song at the top of their lungs for two weekends in a row, and man it was the best decision I've ever made. Walking out of Alpha Omicron Pi for the last time before bid day, I never would've imagined what an impact this chapter would have on my life in such a short period of time.

After one semester, I had met my closest friends, not only in college but life in general.

Since day one, these girls have treated me better than the shallow friends I had known for years back home in high school. Throughout the entire first semester, if I ever needed anything, ran into trouble, needed advice or a shoulder to cry on after a bad week, all I had to was say the word and my sisters would be waiting for me in their rooms. They are the reason I made it through those first difficult months away from home, that bad exam or that one aching heartbreak.

What so many people don't realize is that the awful stigmas, stereotypes and bad reputations that Greek life has are not true at all. From the outside, it's easy to brand us as shallow girls who all wear the same clothes and act the same way. But we all know that you can't judge a book by its cover, and the same thing applies for judging sororities.

You can't know what it's like unless you've gone through recruitment or have joined yourself,

Recruitment teaches us valuable conversational skills, how to look nice, and present ourselves in the best image possible. All these qualities are important life skills when it comes to future job interviews. We host charity events for our philanthropy, helping those in need, and have mandatory service/volunteer hours we must complete each semester. Every chapter has a minimum GPA that their members must meet in order to remain in the organization.

The general idea that those who are in Greek life are not serious about their studies, slack off and don't get good grades is one of the biggest lies I've ever heard. Here at Ohio University, the average GPA of members in Greek life is actually higher than the overall GPA of the rest of the student body.

If that doesn't speak for itself, then I don't know what will.

Being in a sorority teaches us how to balance sisterhood and studies. Older sisters are always willing to lend help to the new freshmen if they're struggling with a difficult class the others have taken before. We always put our academics first, and social life second.

My sorority taught me how to lift each other up, to tell your sisters you're proud of them, to tell them you love and appreciate everything they do.

With these amazing women, I've had the time of my life in college. From date parties, to bid day, family dinners and socials, these are the memories I will cherish forever. It's made me a better, more dedicated and happier person. Thanks to my chapter, many opportunities have opened up to me.

I know I'll always have a home there and friends who run to me with open arms after being away for an entire month over break. And it means the world to have such loving people who worry about you and miss you every day when you're away.

There truly is no way to express my gratitude for Alpha Omicron Pi, and I hope that others will see this and realize there is so much more to sororities than meets the eye.

Cover Image Credit: Anna Kropov

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Thoughts About A 21st Birthday

Turning twenty-one has its pros and cons.

In life, we all have the "useless" birthdays. These birthdays are nothing but a celebration of turning another year older. This is kind of how I felt last year when, in February, I became twenty. But twenty-one is considered a milestone, especially for American youth. In the long run, how unique is gaining another responsibility?

I only question this, and slightly dread it, because there is more that comes with being twenty-one. For myself, a female, being this old means I am required to receive Pap smears in South Carolina, a procedure I do not like in the least. If you don't know what this is, well, they put a plastic thing inside you to open the region up and check the cervix for cancer. It isn't pleasant for me for multiple reasons.

But, back to what everyone knows about this age: drinking and the ability to purchase whatever kind you like.

I will probably enjoy being able to drink here. Thing is: I've had alcohol before. In Europe and Mexico, everything is a bit more relaxed, and it is indeed an excellent experience to learn what wine tastes like, or alcohol in general, and how to be a responsible drinker. Have I snuck some vodka in a tea before while on a trip? Yeah, and it was good. So, in hindsight, I've already had a taste of that part. But I'm celebrating regardless of experience.

Also, I'm going to be happy to be twenty for the next little bit. Do I know what I'm doing with my life? Not necessarily. And it will be a while until I do. But that is the point of being at this stage. And another year won't change that.

Yeah, I'm happy it is coming up, and that I get to see my friends and family, but I have only lived a short part of my life. More milestones will top this one, and they might not even be birthdays. But I'm still glad to be able to celebrate with those I love.


Cover Image Credit: unsplash.com

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