Thursday, August 25, 2016

How to Survive Freshman Year: Sorority Edition

  1. School is your first priority either way, but ESPECIALLY in a sorority. Remember that you can't even be in it unless you keep your grades up. The higher the GPA the better your chapter looks. It's cool to be smart in college, I promise. Go to class, do all the homework, and study A LOT. Most sororities have study rooms that you can attend and once finals gets close you are basically guaranteed to find a sister in the library at all times. Also, do yourself a favor and purchase yourself a cute little agenda because how else will you keep track of all the fun events coming up this school year? Oh yeah and dont forget to add in all of the due dates for your homework!
  2. Oh, the parties. Please keep your priorities straight.  If you need to stay in and study, do it. There will always be another party. If you feel pressured to drink but aren't into it or just aren't feeling it that night, don't do it. Be smart and always have a DD or an uber app that is all set up and ready to go. 
  3. Socials. Oh yes, the socials. They are a fun time, but don't be that one girl that gets the entire chapter in trouble. She knows who she is (and so does everyone else). The one who gets way to drunk at the pregame and throws up all over the floor the second we get to the venue. It's not cute. Know your limits, or just dont drink at all. It is still possible to have a ton of fun without alcohol. Please respect the social chair and follow any guidelines that they have. If you don't, things could get messy. You could end up at a cool venue and then never be allowed back because y'all got a little to rowdy, resulting in getting kicked out. 
  4. Boy oh BOYS. Another thing many girls look forward to is seeing all the cute fraternity guys. PLEASE dont get consumed by them. They aren't greek gods, they are just in greek life. Just normal guys, trying to have a good time. My best advice is to avoid serious dating your freshman year. If you are already single, chill out and stay that way. Have a good time with sisters and friends without the worries of a boy waiting in the wings. Half of them only want to hook up anyway. No offense to the guys who might be reading this, but I'm sure you would agree that freshman year should be about having fun with friends instead of worrying about a relationship. 
  5. Social Media: As cute as the pic from last friday might be, even with a red solo cup in it, do yourself a favor and don't post it. Social media is a huge factor in greek life with how we present ourselves. We already have huge targets on our backs and society loves to catch us in any way that they can. So lets not give them a reason to by keeping social media cute and classy! 
  6. Wear those letters with pride! You are a sorority woman and you have standards to uphold. This is a time where you can really step up your character. You ALWAYS represent your sisterhood with everything you do. This isn't meant to intimidate you, but once you are associated with a sorority it becomes part of how people remember you. If someone has a bad experience with you, not only does it make you look bad, but it could make your entire sorority look bad. 
  7. Go to ALL of the events you can! Try new things and push yourself! Join your sororities intramural flag football team! Compete in step off! Do something, or even everything! This is a great chance to try something new, something that high school you may not have done. As a freshman you most likely have a much more free time than the older girls do. Go to all the events and represent your sisterhood! By doing this you will make a TON of new friends. From older sisters, girls in your pledge class, to people in other greek organizations. 
  8. Get close with your Big, and the rest of your fam as well! I got lucky enough to find an amazing Big who played a huge roll in my life freshman year. I got even more lucky to be brought into a huge family that supported each other. This is a group of girls who will be there for you and watch your back, take advantage of that and spend as much time as you can with them. If you are like me, they will be who you end up hanging out with most of the time anyway. 
  9. Take a ton of pics, like WAY more than you think you need. Capture the good times with sisters and friends to remember forever (and also to send to your PR chair when the time comes for cute pictures to be posted). 
  10. Chill out, its freshman year. Stay focused, but have fun! If you are having trouble with anything remember that your sisters have your back. Anytime you need advice there is almost always a sister who can help you out. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to Survive Freshman Year

  1. Write down EVERYTHING. This includes assignments, tests, meetings, events you want to go too... literally anything and everything. If you are like me and prefer to hand write stuff try getting yourself a cute little agenda. Mine is a bound Lilly Pulitzer agenda and is a medium size that fits well in my purse or backpack. Your school bookstore should also have some, or you could go to Target, Staples, Office Depot, Walmart... whatever floats your boat. Just something with a calendar that will get the job done. Those of you who are more into technology should be utilizing the free calendar that comes with every phone. For some people this is a better resource. If you aren't sure, try out both and see what works best for you!
  2. Parties are fun and all, but what about when someone comments on something totally embarrassing you did? Keep yourself in check and have friends who can watch out for you. Don't be that person. 
  3. Its fun to hang out with new friends from your hall until 4 am, but what about that 8 am class you have in a few hours? Remember that school should be your number one priority. Sometimes you can't make it to that party, but it's okay because there will always be another party. Go to class everyday, get there on time, pay attention, do the homework, and when tests come around PLEASE actually study. Try as hard as you can not to procrastinate, because if something goes wrong last minute and you can't finish or turn in an assignment, your professor won't care. If you know you will have to miss class one day, tell your professor as soon as possible, not after you missed the day, because they will be more willing to work with you. 
  4. College is a time where a lot of us are really challenged with learning time management. This is where that agenda really comes in handy! If I have a particularly busy day I will even make myself a different schedule just for the day that is in a bit of a "to-do list" format. When I plan my day out it helps to make sure that I allocate appropriate times for each thing I need to do. It also aids in keeping you from straying from what needs to be done because who doesn't like the satisfying feeling of checking something off of a to do list?
  5. Sometimes it is hard, but keep your dorm clean. I promise it makes you feel totally put together even though you might be freaking out about that first test you just failed in College Algebra. It helps you keep a clear head and focus better on school work if you are in a tidy space. 
  6. Exercise and try to be as healthy as possible! The freshman 15 is a very real thing. I know that going grocery shopping alone can be really exciting and it can be all to tempting to grab all of your favorite childhood treats, but now that you are an adult those things can start to take a bit of a toll on your body. Its okay to treat yourself sometimes, but not in excess. If you keep your food in check and maybe start a workout routine you should be good to go! If you didn't work out before, try grabbing a friend to be your workout buddy. Go utilize that free gym! Also be warned: parties can be dangerous sometimes, but one of the worst things is how many calories are in alcohol. That is another HUGE thing that causes people to gain weight in college. I noticed that by the end of my freshman year, the girls who used to have bodies that I dreamed of having, had gained a new friend known as the "beer belly." Commonly seen on Dad's and now also college girls who drink too much. 
  7. Talk to the people around you, make friends! Have a buddy for every class and exchange numbers. You can exchange notes if you are absent and get help or answer questions for each other. You might even have a new friend to hang out with on the weekends!
  8. Go to the events the school holds for you, believe it or not, they can actually be fun. Invite that cool group of people you met the other day in class or down the hall and have a good time! There is a team of students who works very hard to host fun events for students to enjoy, so show some pride for you school and go out to support!
  9. Utilize your schools resources: Did you fail your first biology exam? Go check out all those free tutoring services! Cant figure out what classes you should take next semester! Go meet up with an advisor! Not sure why you got a C on your paper? Stop by your professors office hours and they are usually happy to tell you what went wrong and how to do better next time! Not sure what to do with yourself some nights of the week? Join a cool club that looks interesting to you, your school probably has a few hundred to choose from! The point is, one of the best parts about college is that we have a ton of free resources right at our fingertips. We don't pay all this money for nothing!
  10. Get involved, trust me. This will make the transition into college much smoother and will help you make a ton of friends. Whether it is greek life, intramural sports, or an on-campus ministry find something you enjoy being apart of and stick to it. Maybe even use this as a way to take on a new skill that you have never done before. 
  11. Decorate your room, it will feel more homey. Especially on homesick days. Sometimes schools even have contests on who's room is decorated the best!
  12. Give yourself some "me time" at least once a week. During this time experiment with different ways that could help you destress from the craziness of college life. Work out, draw/paint, journal, listen to music, binge watch some Netflix, go sit outside and get some sun by a pool... whatever helps you destress and relax! Do something that you are passionate about and enjoy. 
  13. Make connections with EVERYONE. From random people you meet to your professors. You never know how they could help to impact your future. Try to make a personal connection with everyone you meet.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bid Day!

Bid Day has been one of the most exciting days of my year. After all of the hard work, nervousness, and stress of recruitment we got to welcome home an amazing PC'16 and I am beyond excited to get to know them better! I am so proud of my sisters for being able to recruit such an awesome group of girls. This all sounds a bit cheesy, but these are my honest thoughts. 

Since my school does not have Greek houses, the sororities line up on the library lawn to wait for our new members. One by one, mobs of girls ran home to their respective sororities. When our Phi's came out, my sisters and I went crazy with excitement! The girls finally ran home into our arms and it was chaos but it was totally awesome.

All of us looking to take littles this fall got Bid Day Buddies. We hung out with them all day and drove them to the venue. Once we had been on the lawn for a little bit with our new girls, we all made our way to our cars and out to our amazing bid day location. Our Phi Director is in charge of Bid Day and she was able to snag us a BEAUTIFUL country club house that was pink and covered in quatrefoils. For those of you who don't know, one of Phi Mu's colors is rose and our symbol is a quatrefoil, so it was like it was made for us. If we had a Phi Mu house, thats how it should look. PC'16 really got spoiled this year!

It seemed like the fun came to an end all to soon, but we will have an entire years worth of events to look forward too! Events where we can hang out with sisters, bond, and serve as a sisterhood. It's going to be a good year, I can feel it already. 

xoxo, tay

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sorority Recruitment

 It is now every sorority girls favorite time of the year: recruitment season! Every fall Panhellenic has formal recruitment for girls to find their new homes. As a potential new member (PNM), the process can be both fun and totally nerve wracking, but that doesn't mean that we, as sorority women, do not feel the same way. Sometimes I came across a PNM who was totally freaking out and nervous and it would definitely make them feel better when they realized that we were just as nervous!

I am a sophomore who has just finished their first year in a sorority, it was now my time to be on the opposite end of things. As a PNM, recruitment was one of the most stressful things I have ever done in my life, so I was a bit uneasy about doing it on this end. I had always looked up to sorority women and wondered how I would ever be able to do that. Luckily, with LOTS of workshops all through spirit week and the encouragement of my sisters (especially my Big), I felt more confident in my recruiting abilities by the time it came down to the first day of recruitment. Of course, I had no idea how well I would actually do until I had experienced my first conversation with a PNM, but I knew that as long as I kept the theme in mind with the questions I asked, the conversation should flow quite smoothly. 

Recruitment Day 1: Sisterhood

The first day of recruitment was both crucial, yet more relaxed. During Sisterhood rounds, we just spend our time trying to get to know each girl and about her values. We do this to see how well they would fit in with our chapter. 

After my first day of recruitment, I was hooked. I had enjoyed my time so much talking to so many awesome girls that the day flew by. During practice rounds we would practice with our sisters on what kind of stuff to talk about and what kinds of questions to ask. I always felt awkward and would sometimes forget things during practice. Once it was the real deal though, I had it all down. I even had some good back up questions in case a conversation topic came to an end before our time was up. I did not need to use them very often. I talked to a ton of VERY excited girls who had tons of questions for me! Sometimes I had a hard time getting in my questions for them!

Recruitment Day 2: Philanthropy

Philanthropy round was exciting because we got to see which girls came back. Many of the girls who were not invited back had low GPA's, and, sadly, one of my first rush crushes was one of them. It was okay though, because I met tons of other cute girls and even talked to a few from the first day again! This day was just as fun and exciting for me as the first day! We crushed day one, we just had to keep our energy up to keep the momentum going and keep girls interested in us so we could get the best 2016 pledge class that we could!

During philanthropy round, our questions became more aimed at the PNM's involvement in their communities back home, or at the university for the older girls, and if they would be willing to still be involved through our sorority to support our philanthropy. We got to tell them all about the cool events we have had to support our philanthropy: Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. CNMH is such a great philanthropy to support and we always have tons of fun raising money for them. It was so great to see the excitement on the PNM's faces when they heard girls talk about it and it was even better when the girls expressed interest in getting involved! 

Recruitment Day 3: Preference 

Preference was the final night for us to really recruit hardcore. It was our last chance to talk to the girls before they make their decision on what sorority they fell in love with the most. Preference was definitely the day that was most nerve-wracking and intense for me. We talked to the PNMs about what made us join Phi Mu and why we stayed in Phi Mu. I didn't feel like I had a huge story to tell to the two girls I prefed, but I did my best to honestly tell them why I chose Phi Mu as a PNM and why I chose to stay in Phi Mu. 


Overall, recruitment turned out to be so much more enjoyable than I thought it would be. I was honestly pretty scared that I would be totally miserable the whole time, but I wasn't. It really is crazy how much our sisterhood grew in such a short period of time. I was able to grow closer to different sisters and expand my relationships with sisters had I previously been close with. This makes me so excited to for this school year, especially because we got an entire new pledge class... and one of them will hopefully be my future little! 

xoxo, tay

Monday, August 1, 2016

Camp Week 7

I started my week with a visit from my wonderful Mom! We had parents day, so everyones parents and family members came to camp to hear about what we have been doing all summer. It was nice to spend some time with family... Even though my time at camp seemed to fly by it had actually been about two months since I had seen her. It felt like only a few weeks, it is so crazy to think that I was gone for so long!

My last week at camp was spent on high school! What an amazing week it was to end my summer on. The kids this week just seemed to be such a great group, especially my cabin girls. Week seven was definitely the highlight of my summer. It was so amazing to see God working in these kids lives. My cabin girls were so incredibly awesome, I didn't connect with any of my other campers the way I was able to connect with them. Sometimes I didn't even feel like we were doing anything special, just making bracelets, but those little things ended up being how we spent the most time getting to know each other.  Those little moments ended up being how I got past the surface level that I sometimes had a hard time getting past with other campers. I was sad to see them go, I wasn't ready to release them back into the real world. I wished that we could all hide out at camp and just keep making bracelets through the rest of summer and into the year. 

The time that I was dreading all summer finally came, the time for me to pack my things into my car and make the journey back home. On Saturday after campers left, we cleaned camp and did other jobs for most of the day. Then we all went to our cabins to clean up and get all dressed up for a banquet. It was funny to see everyone dressed up and eating fancier food in the same old dining hall that we ate in with campers all summer. We took lots of cute dock pictures (because where else do you take cute pictures at camp?) and ventured into the chapel to watch the team video. It was basically just a super long video showing all of our shenanigans from throughout the summer. It kind of was a bitter sweet moment for me to see the hilariously amazing people I spent the summer with. It was fun to reflect on all of the fun and amazing things we did the last two(ish) months, but sad to realize that we had just about reached the end and I would then have to say goodbye the next day. 

Just like I had to send my campers back out into the real world, it was next my turn, as well as some other team members. There is still technically another week left of camp, but I had to leave early for spirit week at school and others had there own reasons for leaving early.  It is hard to put into words the emotions I am feeling right now about leaving camp and knowing I will be back in Fort Myers by the end of this week. I am excited for this fall, but I know it will be hard and that I will miss my team. I am just focusing my energy on getting myself ready to go back to school and helping out with sorority recruitment so we can welcome new girls into our sisterhood. 

Good luck to all of the amazing team members, who are still at camp, with week eight and with the upcoming school year!

xoxo, tay