home away from home

hi everyone!

graduation season is among us, so you know what that means: seeing high school seniors having their “last _____”’s, sending out graduation announcements, and struggling to not only wear their graduation cap…but look semi-decent in it. it makes me remember the wide-range of emotions i had at that exact time! it’s strange to realize that you will never see these people you are used to seeing daily again. as a senior, that’s the peak time of “comfort” in high school. you understand the ins and outs, you know what to expect at all times, and there’s never this uncertainty of what the day, week, or month will bring. you’re pretty much a pro at the whole “high school” thing, only to find yourself being thrown into a whirlwind of chaos called college! …..it’s not that bad though.

i am a planner. i don’t like uncertainty and not knowing what i am about to do. i like to have a general idea of what i’m doing, when i have to do it, and how i have to get it done.  knowing that i wanted to join a sorority once i came to college, i began to devote much of my thought into the process…which was tough, because no matter how much research i did, i still had no idea what being involved with greek life actually meant. my top searches on google that summer consisted of rec letters, what to wear to rush, and the do’s and don’ts of how to be successful in rush.

and that’s where, looking back, i come to a stop.

what even is a successful rush? how does one become a pro at rush..ing? do you have to be the prettiest, smartest, busiest, nicest, funniest, coolest? do you have to buy a whole “rush-wardrobe” so you can fit in… but also stand out enough while standing with thousands of girls who are ALL in the same boat as you? which sorority was good? which one was bad?

here’s a surprise, the answers to those questions are no. please don’t ask yourself (or google) these questions. i did, and it just truly tacked on a boatload of stress and effort that i didn’t need to spend my time focusing on. also, there never was such thing as a good and bad sorority… and there never will be. there is not one description that can accurately describe any house, especially when you are in a chapter of over 300 girls… good luck finding that many girls that are all identical!

so, going into rush as an “out-of-stater” who had no idea what to expect from the experience, i was a blank slate… which had its positives and negatives. positive because i didn’t have the most accurate depiction of the houses until i physically walked inside and talked to the girls. negative because my mind would start flooding with all these thoughts and impressions that i had about what i liked/disliked from my time in that house. my uncertainty of what each house was “labeled” as made me more motivated than ever to solve the mystery in my mind.

news flash: there’s no such thing as a label. my motivation behind this post is that girls that will/want to/might rush in the future are not concerned with the labels or the “look” that is being portrayed from each house. you will spend way too much time looking for an answer that does not exist.

mizzou’s panhellenic association consists of 15 successful sororities who all have organizations for which money is being raised throughout the year. there is nothing that brings me more pride of being greek than when i see various chapters beating personal records and competing to raise money for their philanthropy. there is so much accomplishment and pride in participating in these fundraisers and events that each sorority holds for their organizations. being a visual learner, it is personally beneficial to see the hands-on involvement that leads to the difference. the philanthropy for each sorority varies between organizations: some as large as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Make-A-Wish foundation, and some as small as reading to local elementary school students. to have that balance between local and national helps gain a better understanding of how impactful our actions and devoted time is.

mizzou phai am a pi phi at mizzou, and i have had the pleasure to meet and be surrounded by some of the most incredible people. it’s almost intimidating how cool…and funny…and beautiful…and perfect these girls are. but, something that always sticks out to me about pi phi is how genuine it is. i remember the first day of college and the wave of relief that i had when i saw someone wearing something with “pi phi” on it. i felt comforted. i felt welcomed. i felt appreciated. and to this day, these feelings have not diminished… they’ve only grown. i look at myself every single day and wonder how anyone saw potential for “the girl from arkansas” to fit with a group of girls that i admire and strive to be more like. when i think about the impact that pi phi has had on me and my college experience, the one word that accurately sums it up is “light”. the love, acceptance, and optimism shines so strong and so bright-i couldn’t be more thankful to be a part of this group of girls.

IMG_4713.jpgbut, instead of only hearing about my sorority and my obsession that i have with these girls… i decided to put a spin on this. i originally didn’t want y’all to have the impression that pi phi was the only house in which you can find stellar friends. the final result of being involved in a sorority, no matter what house you’re in, is the irreplaceable bond you make with these girls. it’s the sense of pride in being a part of an incredible organization that is making an incredible difference.  it’s the ability to have a “home away from home” with people that quickly become your family.

thanks to help of some selfless girls that i have met this past year, i want you to know that it’s not just pi phi that’s awesome. every chapter in greek life has impacted girls in ways that is hard to compile in a paragraph or two. here’s a deeper look at just how influenced these girls are as members of greek life:

Alpha Chi Omega-

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I knew deep down in my heart that alpha chi was the sorority for me at Mizzou. I felt fully welcomed and at home when I went to our pledge class slumber party. We started out by getting in groups and doing skits about hot dogs, and then having a sentimental moment passing around a pearl and saying our goals, going in the study room and learning our bus chants, and lastly when we all sat down and passed around our lyre and shared deep memories in our heart. Whether it was happy, sad, challenging, or funny every sister was there for each other and supportive. Sharing moments like these with my sisters made me realize how special AXO is to me and how the bond will truly last forever. I’ve met some of my best friends this year. Alpha chi has helped me be a better person and make my heart so full. –Jessica S.

Alpha Delta Pi-

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Alpha Delta Pi has made the biggest impact on my life and has already left its mark on me. Through Alpha Delta Pi, I not only have found my sisters and friends, but I found an enduring love within this chapter. I have struggled for so long to find myself, be happy with who I am, and truly find people who love me for me. I have found sisters in this chapter that share my faith and I couldn’t find a stronger bond than that. I cannot imagine myself in the place I am right now if it wasn’t for them. I am struggling to find words to describe the loyalty, trust, dedication, love, enthusiasm, and truthfulness they have bestowed on my life. Every day I wake up knowing I have a safe haven. I have a home. I come from out of state and my parents live in Texas, which is 10 hours away. I cannot see them whenever I want to. Family is the most important thing in my life and without family I feel empty. Through high school I have struggled to find someone to fill the emptiness I had felt since my parents worked so much, but I couldn’t. I chose Mizzou and ended up by fate to become initiated into Alpha Delta Pi of the Alpha Gamma Chapter. My heart aches when I’m not around them because they lift me up that much. If I had a bad day, a bad test, or a break up, they are there for me. If I made a good grade, got accepted into a program, or ate the best meal of my life, they are there to celebrate with me. Going through initiation, I was gravitated to this sorority. I followed my heart into the most warming environment I have ever found. I can be completely and utterly myself around these girls without judgment. My favorite thing about this sorority though has to be the love they want to bestow on others, in and out of the sorority. I have met my absolute best friends through Alpha Delta Pi. The memories started from day one and have yet to slow down. First. Finest. Forever. We live for each other. –Elizabeth Q.

Alpha Phi-

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Rushing is weird because as many times as the pi chi tells you to keep your mind open and not have your heart set on one particular house, there’s always that one house you Rush a tiny bit harder than the others. That’s what happened to me, I went into Rush with my heart set on a house that ended up dropping me and that’s when I found the hidden gem of Alpha Phi I’d never heard of. I’d say as hard as it seems at first, trust the system because I’ve learned more my freshman year than I ever thought possible through Alpha Phi at Mizzou. Greek life is a tremendous responsibility and my chapter requires a lot of effort every week for meetings and workshops. Alpha phi has taught me time management in ways I never thought it would as well as responsibility of being on my own. Being the freshman means we represent the chapter at meetings around the campus since we’re the younger class and have the responsibility of getting the chapters points throughout homecoming, RAMS and Greek week. With that being said, I’ve had to spend a lot of time with my sisters learning about their personal stories and realizing each and everyone of us come from completely different with different backgrounds. The chapter you choose to involve yourself in is up to you and how you feel around the house and your comfort level. Being an alpha phi has put in place my sense of belonging at Mizzou and for a kid trying to get through the tough times of being on their own, hard school work and embracing the new culture of college, feeling like you have another home is a huge sense of relief at the end of the day. –Chandler R.

Chi Omega-

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Coming from 7 hours away and not knowing a soul going into college, Chi Omega was an instant group of friends for me. I know that may seem cliché, but joining a sorority means that you are surrounded by a group of girls who have very similar interests as you, which makes it that much easier to acquire friendships. I know I can speak for every sorority on this, that one greatest things about sororities at Mizzou, is the diverse amount of personalities and individuals that are in every pledge class. Within Chi Omega there is not a single stereotype that encompasses the sorority, and for me that was very relieving in the sense that I did not have to pretend to be someone I wasn’t to feel accepted. It is great because all of these different personalities are able to mesh really well and it keeps things fun and exciting! I struggle to picture what my college experience would be without Chi-O, what I do know is that I wouldn’t have felt the instant comfort that I did when making the decision to go Greek! –Meghan B.

Delta Delta Delta-

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The best part of being in Tri Delta is being constantly being surrounded by girls that share common goals, morals, and ambition. You are always around girls who genuinely care about you and want the best for you. I love being able to laugh until I cry at chapter dinners, seeing who can eat the most pizza, staying up late studying for the same exam the next day, surprising a sister with coffee who’s stressed about her midterm, and sitting around talking about the fun stories of last night- it could go on and on. On bid day I ran to Tri Delta with about 85 other girls. I did not know these girls then, but now those girls are now the girls I can tell anything to, can vent to, get advice from, those girls are now my “go to” and lifetime friends, those girls are my sisters. Something that is truly unique about Tri Delta is our dedication and love for our philanthropy St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. With a chapter of 300+ members, we all hold this amazing organization close to our hearts. Our chapter takes annual trips to the hospital and has three huge fundraisers for our favorite “kiddos” at St. Jude. Choosing a sorority that was hands on contributing to the philanthropy was very important to me.  They say when going through formal recruitment, “you’ll just know”. You don’t understand that as you’re going through recruitment at first, but by the end of the week it is crazy how you suddenly just get it. You do know. You truly found your home away from home and that is what happened when I chose Tri Delta. –Kendall S.

Delta Gamma-

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Coming to Mizzou having known only 5 other people from my hometown was a little nervracking. I knew I was for sure going to rush because I never had a sister and I knew I wanted to have the chance to have those close friendships and a great sisterhood. After joining my sorority, Delta Gamma, I couldn’t have been happier. I was welcomed into a pledge class with around 85 other girls who wanted the same exact things as me. Throughout freshman year I knew that no matter what came my way there was a group of girls who would be willing to help me with anything. Being able to have that many sisters who became some of my best friends was the reason I went through recruitment.  Being in DG has given me so many new opportunities and friendships that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Knowing that I have a group of girls who share a lot of the same values, beliefs and interests as me is extremely comforting. Delta Gamma has and always will be my home away from home all because of the group of women that make DG what it is.  I cant imagine my first year of college without the girls I met in Delta Gamma. DG has given me friendships, a great support system, strong sisterhood, and a place to go whenever I need it and I wouldn’t want to be a part of anything else. –Sydney P. 

Gamma Phi Beta-

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The main reason why I chose Mizzou is because I wanted to venture out of my comfort zone and try something new. During recruitment, I did my best to ignore all of the stereotypes and not let other’s opinions influence me – this is when I fell totally in love with GPhi. GPhi taught me that my perspectives are not the same as everyone else’s. It taught me how to a part of something more than myself, and how to love and care for others when they need it. Even though I sometimes think that joining GPhi was the best decision I’ve made, I truly believe that joining Greek Life in general was the best decision. It’s so comforting to know that my sisters will always be there to listen to me vent, cheer me on at football games, and stand up for me when I can’t do it on my own. Every once in a while, I’ll think to myself how life would be if I joined the house that was second or third on my preference list… but the more I think about it, the more I realize that GPhi is my home away from home, my safe place, and a piece of my life that I will always cherish. –Lindsey M.

Kappa Alpha Theta-

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Theta is more than a sorority to me. It is more than letters that can be printed on a T-Shirt or typed in an Instagram bio. It is more than taking candid pictures and counting the amount of likes they gain. It is more than the brands of clothes worn and the sentimental articles shared on Facebook. It is more than just another house in Greek town. It’s a house that supports other houses. It’s a house that means something to everyone that crosses it’s path. It’s a house full of friendships, role models, and leaders. It’s a house with unbelievable opportunities and unforgettable memories. It’s a house where laughter fills the hallways and love fills the air. It’s a house that has ears to listen, hands to hold, and shoulders to cry on. It’s a house that held the sisters before me and will hold the sisters after me. It’s more than a house. It’s my house. It’s my home. –Madeline W.

Kappa Delta-


My name is Lydia Jain, and I am a Kappa Delta at the University of Missouri. Deciding to participate in Rush was one of the best decisions I made at Mizzou. I won’t lie, Rush week can be kind of scary. I made it all the way through the week until the last day when, on what was bid day, I received a phone call saying I had been released from formal recruitment. I was devastated but knew that everything happens for a reason. I just had to wait and see what was planned for me. A couple of days after bid day I received an email saying that Kappa Delta had space and would love to talk to me again. I went out for coffee with two girls, and a few days later I received my bid to Kappa Delta! My first event to go to was our freshman retreat to get to know each other better. Kappa Delta is part of the Confidence Coalition where we spread confidence to women of all ages across the country. As part of the Confidence Coalition we wrote positive little notes to each other. I remember being overwhelmed by the number of people who wrote me a little note even though we’d just met. When I was reading all of the uplifting messages from my new sisters I knew I was home. Even now, a year later, it amazes me how encouraging we all are to each other. I honestly do not know where I would be without the love and support I have felt this year from the women in Kappa Delta. AOT– Lydia Jain

Kappa Kappa Gamma-

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Because I came to Mizzou from a small town, I was very nervous and decided to go through the recruitment process to have my “group”. Kappa has made a school of 35,000 students much smaller, but we’re all still very diverse. There are lots of city girls and they had many different views than me, and that forced me to reconsider mine and helped me open my mind to things I had never thought about. All of the girls were very drive, both academically and in extra-curricular activities. They’ve pushed me to challenge myself and step outside of my comfort zone, and I know I am a different and better person because of Kappa. I never had the truest friends in high school, and now I have finally found my true friends within my chapter. –MacKinlee R.

Sigma Kappa-

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Before I joined Sigma Kappa, I knew their sisterhood had something special to offer. From talking to Sam Myers about our love of broadcast journalism to raving over the Kansas City Royals with Sabrina Salerno throughout recruitment, I knew Sig Kap was right for me. I knew I would easily find friends in my chapter, but I never knew how much they would mean to me. After my first year, I can easily say that I have the strongest support/fun loving system I have ever had. My Big, who I frequently refer to as mom, is the brightest, most beautiful elementary education major ever. She has quickly become my rock and my favorite person to jam out to the High School Musical soundtrack with. My best friend Erin, is the incredibly smart biochemical engineer with the best smile around. She is my favorite study buddy, especially on long nights at Pershing when I drink a lot of coffee and we laugh way too much. All the rest of my gorgeous sisters are equally amazing in their own unique and wonderful ways. I am incredibly blessed to have all of them in my life. Thanks Sigma K for the best first year ever! –Megan J.

Sigma Sigma Sigma-

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Tri Sigma has helped me form better, meaningful friendships. I have always been a very quiet and soft spoken person so getting to know people can be a hard task for me. The girls at Sigma helped me become okay with who I am and accept me for all my little quirks, and take the time to listen to what I have to say. I’ve made friends with some of the most outgoing girls that help me open up and have fun and get the most out of being a Sigma. Being a part of Sigma has helped me form relationships with girls who are vastly different from myself and work with them all to make Sigma and ourselves the best we can be. –Lydia S.

Zeta Tau Alpha-

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Zeta is more than a home away from home. It’s where I have made forever memories, where I found my best friends, where I find comfort in all the girls I come in contact with. I am so thankful to be a sister of Zeta Tau Alpha because of all the things we do to make not only our lives better but the entire community around us. I hold our philanthropy near and dear to my heart because my mother had breast cancer when I was 14 and watching her try to put on a front for my sister and I showed how strong of a woman she is. Which makes raising lots of money so worth it to me. We not only spread awareness of the cancer, but we also educate the public about it and raise millions of dollars nationally to support the cause. Zeta Tau Alpha is love, the greatest of all things! –Katie B.


how cool is it to see so much positivity from what these girls have to say?  i’ve been working on this the past couple of weeks, and it has been an instant day-maker getting to talk to these girls and read their thoughts and feelings that they have about their house.  a common word that occurred in almost all of their excerpts was the word “home”.

you don’t realize how sacred and valued your home is until you leave.  you begin to remember certain little things that bring you back to a memory that you cherish.  being 18 years old and having to pack up your belongings and start this new chapter, having no idea what to expect, is a lot to ask from anyone.  to think of each one of these girls becoming so connected with their chapter, to the point that they can call them their family, is such a special compliment.  it makes the transition to college much, much easier for so many girls. it’s an honor to be able to be a part of an association that helps make girls feel so loved and appreciated.

something that really hit home for me personally was having the opportunity to meet natalie.  she has been such a joy to talk to, and reading what she has to say about phi mu stuck out to me immensely.  her capability to experience the hardships that she did, and still be so cheerful and eager to be involved with this post, was so awesome. i am so thankful that i was given the chance to include how she’s been impacted by phi mu the past year. here’s what she has to say about her home:

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I found a home in Phi Mu. Whether you’re best friends with every single girl or just a few– I feel the bond of sisterhood with each and every one of my sisters. Sisterhood to me is support. It’s knowing that no matter what situation I may find myself in, I can count on each and every one of my sisters.

My sophomore year made me realize how much I had found by joining Phi Mu. I made amazing friends for life through recruitment and living in the house, and I was blessed to have the friendship of my little, Kayce.

I met Kayce on bid day. Completely random, I chose Kayce from the list of names being read. I knew I wanted her to be my little after spending only 3 hours with her, despite our awkwardness together. I don’t know exactly when or how the ice was broken but we instantly connected. She was the kind of person you couldn’t be unhappy around. My memories with her are filled with laughter and smiles and just being silly. I never felt anything other than myself around her.

The hardest thing I went through, was her passing. It was unexpected, and I had just talked to her the night before, as she had planned to ride to our founders day dinner with me. I cannot describe the pain of losing her, but that’s not what this is about. This is about the fact that Phi Mu gave me the opportunity to meet this wonderful girl all the way from Dallas and have an impact on her life, as well her to me. Her parents made sure I knew the impact that I had made.

“You are one of the main reasons Kayce enjoyed school so much. She adored you and enjoyed being around you…Please know that she talked to her mom and me about you often and had a special place for you in her heart. Thank you for being such a good friend to her.”
She was my family here in Phi Mu. She was the one I could look after and help show and assure her of everything she was going to find in Phi Mu. I was there to remind her living in was the best decision I’d made, and she too would meet some of her best friends. Looking back I wanted to be the encouragement I know I needed when I was a shy and worried freshman who thought I wouldn’t make any friends. I’ll never forget when she told me I was the reason she didn’t drop. Little did I know, she would be the one impacting me in unimaginable ways and show me what I could find in this sisterhood.

I will never forget looking out into the crowd of sisters and strangers at the candlelight vigil to honor Kayce. As I spoke about the memories and laughs I shared with her, I didn’t falter, for I wanted to share the absolute love and friendship we had as big and little. Also to express how deeply being a member of Phi Mu, and having Kayce as sister and little, had affected me. It was then I found the Greek community as one.

Love, honor, and truth, the three values we uphold.
Phi Mu is love. Love for my sisters and the friendships and memories we share. It is honor. Staying steadfast in my beliefs and values, and striving to be my best self while encouraging others to do the same along the way. It is truth. Being true to yourself and those around you at all times.

Wherever you may find yourself at the end of recruitment, know you will be welcomed with open arms and make some of the truest friends and memories.

with love jenna copy

 

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