From my very first step into the Chi Omega house I felt it. I felt that overwhelming sense of belonging, of being known, of being accepted, of being loved. I felt at home. How is it that I can walk into a room and feel this way after knowing these girls for so short a time? How is it that each time I walk in, I can be myself unapologetically and have literally hundreds of girls cheering on my every step? How is it that I can pick up my phone and know whoever’s number I dial, I can hear the voices of women who strengthen and encourage on the other end?
My answer is this: heart. The girls in Chi O have a certain compassion that can be so hard to find elsewhere. These girls have heart, and hearts that beat for showing kindness and hearts that beat for spreading light. Time and time again, this has been shown to me through words and through actions. I could fill an entire book of times that I have experienced this if you asked. I could fill a whole bookshelf. I could tell you about the time I sat on the ground, tears welling in my eyes, and was picked up by a hand extended to meet me with an encouraging word. I could tell you about the time that after 10+ hours studying for a final in the annex, a goodie bag full of homemade cookies (a rarity when you live on-campus) was dropped off without me even asking because they knew how much I needed it (huge shoutout to Find My Friends). I could even tell you about the time that I hit a curb and got a flat tire (on the way to a BYX mixer…I think it was a sign) and laughed until we cried as we waited to be rescued in a parking lot together.
Over and over, time and time again, I am for lack of a better word, shocked, by the hearts of those I am surrounded with. Nowhere else have I found girls who see me and all of my quirks— and choose daily to love me. To not only simply accept my Sriracha-on-everything, crocs-in-public, ripstik-as-transportation self, but to love it, often better than I do myself. I’ve been welcomed into homes where girls give me not only a place to study when I tire of the dorm, but a shoulder to lean on, a hand to guide, and a heart to share. In these homes are the memories I cherish most about my freshman year. These are the memories I will hold dearest to my heart as my college years continue. Memories of conversations about Jesus (…and The Bachelor) shared over a cups of coffee with almond milk and dark chocolate brownies in foil tins. See, these girls know life abundant, and share life abundant. These girls know truth, and share truth. These girls know love, and share love.
Thankful doesn’t even begin to describe the way I feel about my first year in college. What a gift, what a blessing Chi Omega has been, and without Chi O, I wouldn’t be surrounded with these sweet memories of those who were once strangers, now of which I have the honor of calling sisters.