Monday was International Badge Day. A day where all sorority members could wear their badge and show how proud they are to be greek. of course, I forgot to wear my badge. So in a small effort to redeem myself for not being the best sorority member I can be, I'm participating in this link up that my friend Whitney (who blogs at The Observant Turtle) created. Here's my story-
In the fall of 2000, I started at the University of Houston. I had previously spent a semester at a college in California (which I did not like) and then spent a semester in community college (aka the 13th grade). I wasn't sure about where I wanted to go to school and really wanted to take another year off but my mom said I had to go somewhere. So UH it was. I still remember my first few weeks there. I knew absolutely no one and went straight to class and then home each day. One day a few weeks into school, a girl walked up to me and asked me if I was interested in joining a sorority. I had never really thought about it but it seemed like a good way to meet people so I decided to go through fall recruitment.
Side note- Man oh man how the times have changed when it comes to recruitment. Back in the day, each sorority did what they called full frills recruitment. This basically entailed decorating a room from floor to ceiling with drapes, balloons, sorority paraphernalia, and in my sorority's case- anything pink and green. I remember walking into the rooms and thinking "wholly cow, there is a lot to look at in here." Now, there are no balloons, drapes, frills, and recruitment is really about having quality conversations with the girls going through. Totally different!
As recruitment went on, I quickly narrowed my choices down until I was left with just one- Delta Zeta. I remember going to their Preference Party at the River Oaks Garden Club. It was amazing! I talked to two women who I still keep in touch with today. I knew at that moment that Delta Zeta was going to be my home. But I was extremely nervous that they wouldn't want me. Lucky for me, they did and I joined Delta Zeta in September 2000 and never looked back.
Delta Zeta has given me so many opportunities I never thought I would have had. I went from being a complete introvert to learning how to randomly approach girls and recruit them. I gained public speaking skills having to give reports in meeting each week for 2 years. I got my first real boyfriend out of it and we dated for 5 years so I'd consider that a success. My college years were amazing and I wouldn't change a thing about it.
As president of the chapter in 2002, I got to attend Delta Zeta's National Convention at Miami University in Oxford, OH. It was our 100 year celebration and I felt honored to be there. Looking back, I had no idea how big of a deal it was. I still remember how I got to escort one of the past national officers down the aisle at awards banquet. This was a big deal. And I still remember her asking me to take the gum out of my mouth before we made the walk. I got to visit our National Headquarters and walk the grounds that our Founders walked 100 years ago. It was special and I wish I would have known how special it was at the time. But I was young and didn't know any better.
After my term as president, I was done with the chapter. Being president is a rough job and I was burned out. I still had a semester left before I could go 5th year Alum so I conveniently scheduled a class for Monday night so I wouldn't have to go to meeting. I needed a break. I spent all my time with my boyfriend and basically dropped everything Delta Zeta. After going 5th year, I really disconnected from everyone.
Upon graduation, I joined the Alumnae chapter but I still wasn't ready to recommit to Delta Zeta. I took on some smaller chair positions in the Alumnae chapter but didn't really give it my all. It wasn't that I didn't care, it was that I had given everything I had for 2 straight years being an officer in college and I needed a break. But my mind kept telling me that I was supposed to get involved so I did.
I then moved to Chicago and it was really easy to forget about Delta Zeta. There wasn't an Alumnae chapter close to me so I had an excuse not to be involved.
When I came back to Houston to go to law school, I moved in with one of my sorority sisters. At that time, she was the recruitment advisor for the UH chapter so it was hard not to get sucked back into being involved. I started coming around more and getting involved with the collegiate chapter. I joined the Alumnae chapter again. I knew I was ready to get involved again and recommit to an organization that had given me so much. When she "retired," I immediately put my name in the hat to be the next recruitment advisor. BEST DECISION EVER!
I spent 2 years helping the chapter with recruitment. It's kind of ironic because when I was in college, I hated recruitment. I never wanted to talk to anyone even though they made me. And then all of a sudden, I was teaching the girls how to have conversations (which is an art in itself). After 2 years of recruitment, the college chapter director (CCD) decided to "retire" and I was selected to help lead the chapter. It's a job that I am honored to have. It's not an easy job by all means and it takes up a lot of my time. I spend my Sunday evenings and Monday evenings with the girls and usually have a few other meetings each week. I'm in constant contact with the president and sometimes have to be the rule enforcer (which I hate). But I wouldn't change it for anything. I'm proud to be involved and treasure the path that Delta Zeta has taken me down. I have met so many amazing women and have so many awesome opportunities that I would have never had if that girl hadn't walked up to me one fall day and asked me to go through recruitment.
I only hope that I can show the current chapter how Delta Zeta is not only a college commitment but a lifetime commitment. To be able to share the same values and ritual with thousands of other women is something that I cherish each and every day. For those non-greek people out there, it's hard to understand how being part of an organization can have such a huge impact and make me who I am today. You'll just have to trust me when I say that without Delta Zeta, I wouldn't be where I am today. And I wouldn't change one minute of my experience so far and I look forward to many more years with Delta Zeta.