Spring recruitment at Loyola University Chicago is this weekend and I’m still having trouble processing that it will be my last. My last recruitment weekend, my last open house round, my last philanthropy round, my last pref round and, of course, my last bid day. Three and a half years ago, I chose to “Go Greek” and join Chi Omega at Loyola University Chicago and it has been one of the most positive and impactful choices that I’ve made as a part of my college career.
My freshman year was the last time that we did formal fall recruitment before switching to spring recruitment. I’ll never forget the feeling of running to the quad in the center of campus and being embraced by my new sisters, so many of whom were still “strangers” at that point, but would end up becoming some of the best friends and strongest connections that I’d find during college. It’s crazy to look back at it all now (and I’ll admit that it’s cheesy sounding) but when you’ve found where you belong, you just know.
Now, let’s start off with WHY I went Greek.
When I was a junior and senior in high school, I had friends who had gone onto college and joined Greek organizations. I heard so much from them about how awesome their organization was, the cool shirts, how they’d “found their people,” the fun events that they went to, how they raised money for charitable organizations associated with their chapters, the Greek Lilly Pulitzer prints, how they got Bigs and Littles… the list goes on. They made it sound like such an amazing experience, so I decided that, without a doubt, I wanted to be part of Greek life when I went to college.
I had no immediate family that had been involved in Greek life before me; a few cousins and a great aunt and uncle, but nothing beyond that. I have no older siblings and neither of my parents had decided to join Greek life when they were in college. It just wasn’t for them. Since I lacked a “Greek background” of sorts, I ended up doing a bunch of “research” on national sororities online… and not all of what I found was good. In fact, a lot of it sounded awful.
Society has so many negative stereotypes associated with Greek life, which movies such as “Animal House” and “Neighbors” have helped to perpetuate and honestly make even worse. As unfortunate as it is, it just takes one bad egg to ruin things for everyone. BUT, the majority of Greek life as a whole is NOT like this at all and it certainly hasn’t been my experience these past three and a half years.
I have never once been hazed during my time in Chi Omega. I have also never felt talked down to or disrespected, and for that I am very grateful. My chapter is filled with amazing, successful, loving, intelligent, driven, and caring women who constantly push me to be the very best person that I can be and have helped me to see potential in myself that I never would have seen on my own.
My time in Chi Omega has provided me with countless leadership opportunities, which was something that I didn’t really expect in joining Greek life. Throughout my years in Chi O, I’ve been incredibly blessed to serve as our foundations chair, philanthropy assistant, preference round chair for recruitment, sisterhood assistant, and most recently our chapter’s marketing director. The majority of these were positions that I never would have thought myself suited for, but are perfect examples of times my sisters saw potential in me and helped me to see it in myself.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about Greek life is the amount of philanthropic events I’ve been able to take part in. Chi Omega in particular works with Make-a-Wish America and Make-a-Wish Illinois. This year alone my chapter raised over $40,000 and in the short time that our chapter has been on campus we’ve raised over $125,000!!! Being able to give back to an organization like this and find myself surrounded by like-minded women who care about causes like Make-a-Wish has been incredible and it’s mind-boggling to see how much we’ve been able to accomplish.
I’m not going to lie and say that my entire experience has all been sunshine and rainbows. There have definitely been some bumps along the way for me. At one point during my sophomore year I actually considered leaving Greek life completely. I was stressed about my classes and time commitments, concerned about the cost of Greek life (because I cover my dues and associated costs by myself) and I was feeling disconnected. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stick with Greek life. At this same point in time my friendships were changing a lot. Some of the transitions were difficult, but I got through it and came out stronger than before.
When I was going through all of this and trying to decide what to do, I confided in some of my sisters in Chi Omega about how I had been feeling and I immediately felt a huge outpouring of support. I found myself connecting with girls who I hadn’t hung out with as much before and discovering that we got along very well. I watched other friendships that I had grow stronger and I ended up making even more friends within my chapter.
Obviously, I stayed with Greek life and remained a part of Chi Omega. I don’t regret it in the slightest. Looking back now, I’m so glad I chose to stick with it, because I would be a very different person today if I hadn’t and I definitely would have regretted it.
Chi Omega and Greek life at Loyola have brought me in touch with some of the most remarkable people, taught me so much about myself and how to be a leader, encouraged me to grow where I’m planted, and provided me with the most amazing support system and group of friends I could’ve ever imagined.
Check out some of my sisters in our 2017 recruitment video below! If you pay attention, I’m in there a few times too. 😉
THANK YOU Chi Omega and Loyola Greek life for the best college years I could’ve asked for. I know I’ll miss everyone and everything so much next year.
I also want to wish the very best of luck to anyone going through recruitment this weekend. I hope you find your home away from home just like I did. ❤️