Sunday, March 3, 2013

Making New Friends

Making Friends

I’ve never considered myself to be a social person. Until the age of 11, I couldn’t order from the cashier at McDonald’s because I was so afraid. As time went on I could talk to adults, but I was never able to easily communicate with my peers. It made me uncomfortable and anxious. The words always came out wrong. I wasn’t afraid of embarrassing myself, or that people would judge me, it was just that I couldn’t talk.

You’d think I’d be past this at 17 years of age, but I’m not. I went back to counseling this Spring. I go every other week because I have Social Anxiety. Being in crowds can give me panic attacks or make me sick if I feel uncomfortable enough. But I don’t want to be that way, so I choose not to be.

Joining Theta was something I hadn’t anticipated – ever. Sororities “weren’t my scene”. Heaven forbid I would have to…speak to people. I didn’t go through formal recruitment. But when I saw how happy my roommate was in her sorority, I questioned why it would be so awful for me to join. I mentioned my regrets to a girl on the hall, and she asked me if I wanted to try for KAT. I hadn’t heard too much talk about it before, but I had an instant gut feeling. This was my challenge. This was something good. I went through the interview, and now I’m here.

For most people, joining a sorority isn’t such a challenge. But for me to speak to girls I’ve never met on a constant basis is hard. When my mom found out I had gotten in she was so excited because she knew that it took a lot of effort on my part. And it did. I am so proud and happy that I took that step for myself. But now the real challenge begins: making friends out of my sisters.

I’ve been to Coffee with KAT four times now and I am also in the Sisterhood Committee. There are days where I stay silent and just listen, and there are days when I speak up as much as possible. The first day I went to coffee I just sat there because I was so afraid. Someone asked me my name and all eyes turned towards me. I didn’t want to go back. But my counselor and I talked about going again. She told me to sit up straight, act confident, and speak loudly. I tried going again and it worked! I’m making friends and doing so much better.

The reason that I’m quiet sometimes is certainly not because I don’t like any other Thetas. I love my sisters to death. It’s just that it’s hard some days. Tonight we learned about being a leader during New Member Meeting. And so I just ask that all of you leaders out there talk to a sister who isn’t speaking up. Ask her what she thinks, because she’s thinking a lot. She’ll appreciate that you are pushing her to be better, as well as inviting her to be your friend. Remember that it’s the little things that can make a huge difference in someone’s life.



Saturday, March 2, 2013

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,