Being the First
As the oldest child in my family, “being the first” came with each new activity I participated in. Growing up I was never excited to “be the first”—the first to go to school, the first to get braces, the first to take the SAT. I was always a bit envious of my younger siblings who would figure out the best way to do things based on my actions, triumphs, and mistakes. I wanted just one time for someone to make those mistakes before me, so that I, too, could learn from them—what the best classes were to take, clubs to join, which colleges to visit, when to take the SATs, and how to maneuver through the college application process.
Now, however, for the first time, I am truly happy to “be the first”, to be a charter member of Kappa Alpha Theta at Wake Forest University. Perhaps it is because I am not in this venture alone, but I am walking alongside 150+ wonderful women, all of whom I am extremely proud not only to call my friends and classmates, but also my sisters. It is truly a unique opportunity that we have to establish something at Wake Forest University that will far outlast our short time spent wandering the Quad, studying in the library, or laughing with friends at the Pit.
Under the guidance and leadership of our two wonderful, caring, and enthusiastic ELCs, I am excited to see what the first group of Kappa Alpha Thetas will accomplish over the course of the semester. What name will we create for ourselves? What traditions will we establish? Who will we be able to help through our service and philanthropic events? By holding true to the values of Bettie Locke Hamilton, we can create an organization that continues to be supportive of the leadership, academic, and social pursuits of all members, while providing a family away from home. I hope that over the course of the semester, we will be able to continue to lay the foundation of a strong sisterhood, one that is built by genuine concern and support of others.
We are the first! Wow, that is a big responsibility and can seem overwhelming at times, but we must think back to our founders. The four original Thetas--Betty Locke Hamilton, Alice Allen Brant, Bettie Tipton Lindsey, and Hannah Fitch Shaw--all of whom helped to create the first Greek letter fraternity for women. They fought to create a group in which they could find support within a male dominated campus and world. They were the first and their challenge was far greater than ours.
I challenge each and every one of you, sisters, to find courage and confidence in the actions of those four women, for they created an organization that has far outlasted any of their wildest dreams and has inducted women who have made a difference not only on their college campuses, but in the world at large. I wish good luck to each of you! And please remember, you are never in this alone. You will never have to take the first step without knowing that 150+ of your sisters step alongside you! So, perhaps “being the first” isn’t so bad after all!
Your sister forever and always,