“These are the best four years of your life.” Some people feel pressured by the sentiment, and more people feel excited by it, but most of you have heard those words so many times they’ve lost their meaning. But as I enter my senior year, I can assure you, no words have ever resonated with me more.
I remember being all of you. I remember standing in a room with 100+ girls who, just a week prior, were strangers. And I remember that it was the first time it truly hit me. In under twenty-four hours, these girls could be my sisters. Sisters who were supposed to make these “best four years” happen for me. It was a weird feeling, and though, like you, I’d heard it time and time again, I couldn’t imagine it being true. Now, three years later, I can’t connect with the version of me who didn’t know these women…who didn’t love them, because somehow, they’ve become a part of me. A part of what makes me who I am. A part of my soul.
To say that graduation is scary is an understatement. I’m terrified of what lies beyond these brick walls and white columns, and beyond the gorgeous spiral staircase of the sorority house — but what really, truly shakes me to my core, is the fear that I will never love something as much as I do right now. Some people think it’s weird to love a thing — to love an intangible organization. And I get that. But I’m lucky enough to know that when you do, nothing in the world will ever compare again.
I love our values. I love that for the first time in my life, I was challenged to be a better woman — and not because I had to, not because I had pressure from my parents, from headhunters, or from administrators, but because the women around me truly inspired me to be the best me I could be.
I love our traditions. And I love that when I speak our ritual, I feel it in my soul. I look at the girls I was just giggling over my
salad pizza with, and see a side of them reserved for only a lucky few. And I feel connected with the thousands of women I’ll never meet who share these secrets with no one but us.
I love our community. In this giant school, with thousands of strangers, I found a home. I went to event after event, and met people from every chapter on campus. I have four roommates. All five of us are in different chapters. I met their sisters, and their roommates, and their boyfriends’ brothers, and somehow, through it all, I never feel alone in this giant student body. And that is pretty neat.
I love our sisterhood. In a room of 100 girls, there’s not a single face that is strange to me. Our sorority bonds us in a way that we bond to no one else. I don’t have 100 best friends, but I have 100 girls whom I truly, with my whole heart, love. I can say with certainty, there is not a single girl in this chapter that I wouldn’t sit down to lunch with…and laugh my ass off.
But mostly…mostly, I love our sisters.
My big is the coolest, most beautiful, wisest girl I know. And nothing in my life will ever beat the moment when I found out she picked me. She’s my rock. My lifeline. My guide. My mentor. And I will look up to her (and her never-ending wisdom) for the rest of my life.
My pledge class is truly like my family. We’ve been through it all together– the laughter, the heartbreaks, the shopping trips for THE perfect formal dresses, the Facebook stalking sessions, the cuddling, the spring break trips, the times we said fuck the salads because we want Taco Bell, the “What should I say back to him?” texts, the job offers, the promotions, the rejections, and that one “I’m getting married!” We’ve grown together, and I feel like we’re so intertwined that I don’t see how we can ever be apart. Though I know we will be in distance, you’ll all always be a part of me.
My little is everything good in the world all rolled into one. And I wouldn’t even know my best friend in the world if we didn’t both end up here. It’s amazing how two complete opposites can just work. Like I always say, we’re like peanut butter and jelly — little in common, but better together. You are my true soulmate. I’m proud of you every single day. You’ll go on to do great things.
So when I think back to that cliche we’ve all heard a million times before, all I can do is smile, because I know that these truly are the best four years of my life and it’s because of the girls in this room. It’s because of my sisters. And as for you, class of 2018, if you experience even a fraction of what I have, you will feel blessed. I hope every single one of you do. And I hope, one day, you’ll look at the strangers in this room and say “I was at my best when I was with those girls.”