Ever since I was little, I looked forward to the day I could finally go off to college.
I couldn’t wait to attend class lectures, to learn about interesting and thought-provoking subjects, and to immerse myself in my chosen field, studying Biology and Chemistry to become the very best doctor I could be.
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I was (and still am) a nerd.
But as excited as I was to begin my academic journey at the University of Kentucky, I was even more so to get involved on campus.
Growing up, one of my biggest role models (one of my mom’s friends’ daughters who attended the same church) chose to attend UK and also pledged a sorority her freshman year.
I looked up to her more than she ever knew, and to hear her talk about the friends she’d made, the philanthropy and social events she attended, and the unconditional love and support she received from her sisters each and every day, I knew in my heart that that was something I wanted.
So, I signed up for Sorority Recruitment.
And it was a tough week. Perhaps one of the toughest of my life.
But at the end of it, I said “hello” to my new home: Alpha Omicron Pi.
And though my sorority isn’t a place, I walked through those doors to be accepted into a family of women who sought nothing from me, only my presence and love.
A few weeks later, I got my big sister.
And as the oldest of three, this was a big deal in and of itself.
I finally had someone I could go to for advice. Who looked out for me. And cared for me as her little sister.
And to this day, I will always be thankful for this woman and the impact she’s made on my life.
Less than a month later, I initiated.
And I got to see first-hand exactly why I was so unconditionally loved by these women.
I finally understood all that we stood for and in that moment, I don’t think I’d ever been more proud to be an AOII.
And in the years following, I adopted two little sisters, who adopted their own littles and our family continued to grow.
I was elected to a few different positions and my confidence grew.
I learned how to take constructive criticism and work alongside my sisters.
I learned that it’s okay and also encouraged to speak up and be heard.
I learned that even though families can disagree, they don’t break apart.
And I found Jesus.
Thanks to His perfect timing and my wonderfully obedient sisters, AOII helped me to finally see the light.
To say being a member of Alpha Omicron Pi has had a profound effect on my life is an understatement, so when graduation rolled around, the idea that it was all coming to an end seemed surreal.
It wasn’t until the fall, when my littles and grandlittles and great-grandlittles returned to UK for Sorority Recruitment, that I felt a pang in my heart.
Something was such a big part of my life and then, it wasn’t. It was a weird feeling and hard for me to comprehend.
I realized that saying “goodbye” to an organization and a sisterhood (at least as an active member) that I loved was much, much harder than I anticipated.
And I struggled. A lot.
Without the the love and support of my hundreds of sisters (my pledge class had spread across the country, and my littles and grandlittles were busy with their classes), I began to think that I wasn’t wanted. That I wasn’t loved. That I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. That I wasn’t an AOII anymore.
Then, I began questioning who I was. Because in those moments, I wasn’t sure.
Growing pains are definitely not the most comfortable.
But saying “goodbye” to something you love becomes a lot easier when you realize who goes before you, ready to transition into the next chapter.
And that’s what Jesus kept reminding me.
That He’s preparing the way and is ready to lead me into something new. A new role and a new adventure to serve God and others here on Earth.
And He’s holding my hand each step of the way.
There was nowhere I could go where He would not be.
Jesus also doesn’t ever take something away from us out of spite or punishment, except to replace it with something that much better.
So, I waited. Trusting in God’s timing.
And then, earlier this semester (on this year’s Bid Day actually), I got a call asking if I’d consider accepting a position as an adviser for my AOII chapter.
Surprised and excited, I said “yes” and today, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to pour into and encourage these women.
The very same women who change each others' lives, and bring light and love to those they meet both on campus and in our community.
I’ve said “goodbye” to being an active collegiate member and “hello” to being an adviser for my chapter.
And while this transition out of college and Greek life was a hard one for me (saying “goodbye” to something you love is not the easiest), Jesus has moved me into the next season of my life.
And we’re doing it together.
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ -- Jeremiah 29:11