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Shannon Calhoun

Courtney Wetzel

It’s mind boggling to me that I’m sitting here writing this post as a senior who’s set to graduate in a month. Graduating from college and getting a degree has always been the goal, but it always seemed like some far away thing that wouldn’t ever actually happen. Now it’s coming whether I’m ready or not, and I have to take some time to think about the things and the people that got me through the last four years.

To describe my experience in Chi Omega, I should start by explaining that my family wasn’t exactly thrilled when I decided to go through sorority recruitment. No one – and I mean no one – in my family, immediate or otherwise, had ever been involved in Greek life. It was a foreign concept, and I had to navigate my way through many conversations with my loved ones as they tried to convince me that joining a sorority was a waste of time and money. I suppose they were hung up on the stereotypes and the expenses, but I knew what I wanted.

I remember the last night of recruitment very clearly; I sat with an older girl and I told her how badly I wanted to be a Chi O. In my eyes, she was everything I wanted to be – beautiful, smart, funny, kind, and seemingly perfect to the outside world. I wanted to be like her so badly, yet I was struck by a deeply rooted fear that I wasn’t good enough to even try. But I hoped that by joining Chi O, I might learn to be like her and the other girls I met during recruitment.

Four years later, I can absolutely confirm that I’m just as far from perfect now as I was then. I can also say that the women I’ve been surrounded by are imperfect, and wouldn’t want anyone to think otherwise. However, I did learn other things from them and for that I’m so grateful. They’ve taught me more about friendship and trust than I ever thought possible. They have shown me so much love and support through every circumstance and moment. College can be tough at times, and they are the people I ran to when I didn’t feel strong enough, or smart enough, or good enough to make it through. They made a strange time and a new place feel like home.

The friends that Chi O brought to me are the biggest gift I could ever hope to receive. They make me laugh so hard that my stomach aches, they have carried me through times of overwhelming grief, and they fill me with so much joy that I continuously find myself dumbfounded. They build me up every single day, and when they can’t, they point me to God who can do the rest. I’m so thankful that they’ve shared their lives with me these past four years because I truly don’t know who I would be if not for it.

With graduation fast approaching, the thought of leaving them truly terrifies me. We’ll all be spreading out, and I can’t imagine living farther than a few steps away from them let alone across state lines. But as cheesy as it sounds, I have to believe that an increase in mileage between us won’t change what they’ve been to me or what they’ll be to me in the future. I’ll hold on to these friendships for the rest of my life, and I’ve got Chi O to thank for that.