You Will Move Mountains

You Will Move Mountains

Finding yourself is a journey of love and hate with who you really are.
Tristen
Tristen

Twenty-One years old and I still have two more years of college when I'm supposed to be graduating spring 2018. I attended the "great" University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown for two years before deciding that I needed a change or I was going to fail out. I grew up in little old Johnstown, three minutes from the UPJ campus. For those of you that don't know Johnstown, it can be described in one word... awful. They say on every corner there is a bar and a church which is almost 100% true. With that being said, I grew up around lots of alcohol which led to my excessive drinking every weekend at UPJ and resulted in taking an F as a final grade like a champ. Mind you.. I didn't want to go to UPJ. It was more or less a forced situation by my father because that is where he went and he was paying.

Now, I am living in South Carolina. So, ultimately I won! I moved in with my dads parents (my "Grandparents") to establish residency so that I could go to school and get in state tuition... I now live in my own apartment. I have been through so many obstacles financially, physically and emotionally since I have been living in South Carolina. Let me tell you, until you are completely on your own paying for everything yourself and being an "adult" you don't know who you truly are. I have learned so many things about myself that I honestly did not want to know. One example is that I have a hard time sharing with other people. This is probably because I was an only child, but that's besides the point. There are a lot more negative aspects but I will focus on the positives.

1. I read when I never even touched a book before.

2. I pray. Even though I used to be terrified of churches and didn't have a religious bone in my body.

3. Excessive drinking annoys the HE double hockey sticks out of me.

4. I love the outdoors (minus spiders and snakes) and started hiking as a hobby.

5. I am a clean/neat freak. (I used to let everything pile up so you couldn't walk in my room)

6. I am now interested in learning and doing well in college.

Finding myself has been one of the greatest journeys I have been on and its not even close to being over. With all this being said, BE THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BE AND DO NOT LET ANYONE DICTATE YOUR DECISIONS. In the end, life works itself out on the right path no matter how many turns it may take. Be humble, be positive and always trust in your heart.

Cover Image Credit: Tristen Heffelfinger

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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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