Freshman year had a bunch of whirlwinds of emotions. I’ve gone through a lot this year, some thing people won’t experience in a lifetime. Starting from the beginning, I moved in with my bestest friends, and we had the awkward uncomfortable roommate talk of “are you okay with having people over after midnight?” and all those questions like that.
Next we have LEADERSHIP SAFARI! I was on Team Echidna, and I got to know my group of people super quickly. By the end of the week, we were exchanging snap chats, phone numbers, and presents to one another. I also want to give a special shout out to the one who was our leader, our fearless Momma Chid, Savannah Powell. She, TO THIS DAY, has still kept in contact with us. She’ll put in the effort to make us customized gifts, and she’s someone who I look up to.
We shortly after had the LAS picnic. I got to meet my GG, Anna for the first time. I remember looking at her, looking at my family tree, then relooking at myself. I remember thinking “alright, there’s no way I can fit in with this perfect group of people, I’ll for sure be the odd one out,” but looking back on it, I’m so incredibly blessed to be a part of our family. Without my mentor, G, and GG, I don’t know the kind of person I would be.
Shortly after that, I celebrated my 19th birthday waking up at 4:30 in the morning to the fire alarms going off and our building smoking. I had two friends from high school spending the night so waking up to that was pleasant.
The next week, it was Mentor/Mentee retreat. We were on high ropes, doing crazy trust games, and I got to know my mentor, Teddy super well. That trip grew us closer more than she’ll ever know.
The next couple weekends later, I had to go back to my high school to crown the 2016 Homecoming Queen of Haslett High School. Because I had gotten so close with Susie, she made the travel down with me. She got to know my closest friends from home, and she fit in like she could be from Haslett herself. She did my hair for the parade, and I’m still so thankful I have a friend who’s talented enough to do hair.
That weekend was also the weekend I jumped home to my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. I am so happy and thankful to have that chapter by my side, especially this semester. This chapter is full of wonderful, real, strong women whom I look up to and whom I love dearly. The chapter has pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone, and it has encouraged me to be more loving, more kind, and more caring towards people. I have met some of my lifelong friends in this chapter, and I can tell some of the women will be in my wedding someday.
The week of Nov. 2, I got my sorority fam tree! Lyndsey is my big and I love her so much. Her and I just get each other, and I could talk to her for hours. Whether it be me crying on her shoulder, or just being my role model, she’s there for me 100% of the time. What would this year look like without my biggy? I’d rather not find out.
A couple days later, it was the Connections Conference in Grand Rapids! It was the first time ever I had gone to the Great Wolf Lodge, but I had so much fun getting to meet other people. People who went to my own school, and I didn’t know it. I got to network, learn how to be a better leader, and I had some pretty good company. I was roommates with all of my roomies from CMU, then a couple other girls who ended up being really good friends to all of us in the end. My mentor and G mentor were also there at the conference helping run it. It was nice seeing some familiar faces (besides my cohort) at the conference. The water slides were also super fun! I had to leave early because one of the roomies got injured so I decided to hang out with her instead of being at the waterpark.
The next weekend was the AXO semi-formal as well as Table for 20. With Thanksgiving being a couple weeks away, my G, Meredith, invited all of her friends over for a nice homemade cooked meal. Even though I could only stay for a short period of time, I really appreciated the work my G and her roommates put on for the event. The dinner was also superb as well! As for my AXO semi-formal, Susie was once again accompanying me. We danced the night away while having some good food. We also watched as some of my sorority sisters got mock awards.
The first weekend in December was when the sorority and I traveled to my hometown, East Lansing, to get initiated. Since my mom and grandma were in Alpha Chi Omega also, they got to be in the ceremony as well as getting to pin me. I (of course) was bawling when they both were pinning me. At that point, I hadn’t seen my family in a while so I missed them a lot. Afterwords we went to one of my favorite restaurants in the area. I got to have my family tree from my sorority meet my actual family. My dad tagged along with our dinner as well.
Next, it was Dan Gaken’s legendary holiday party at his house. LAS decorated cookies, watched the Amelia Gaken play with her toys, some of us visited Dan’s dog upstairs, we all got cute family photos… life was good! I felt closer to LAS after that party, we had time to just hang out and talk to each other and spend time with one another.
Fast forward to the craziest time of my life, winter break to INDIA! It was amazing, shocking, overwhelming… everything in between! I wrote a blog post about how I was feeling one of the days, and people have told me it was powerful. I just got overwhelmed easily there, but don’t get me wrong… that trip was a trip of a lifetime. I can’t wait to go back there again and visit all the family I met.
After I came back to the states and school started up again, I participated in the Polar Plunge with my best friend, Shannon Twichell. That was a bucket list item I crossed off that day, and I was glad to be able to do it with my best friend.
I’m grateful for my sorority sisters in another way…. a lot of them like country music. I had a dying desire to go to a Thomas Rhett concert, and I told my sisters about it. They all said “screw it”, and we bought tickets. After getting there, we found out the sold out show had some people missing from the crowd. We ended up being front row on the side of the stage. Thomas pointed at us, sang to us, danced to us, he later then favored my tweet. That was an amazing highlight of the semester.
Spring break was for sure one of my top highlights from this year. I got to go on a mission trip through His House Christian Fellowship here on campus. I had started going to the church because of my LAS family tree. They all attended the church, so I figured I’d check it out. I fell in love with the place, the people, and the messages so I decided to YOLO it and I signed up for a mission trip right there and then. I soon found out one of the leaders on the trip was my G-Mentor, Meredith. I was super stoked and excited to get to know her more, as well as the other 24 strangers on the trip.
Since I signed up so late, I had to get to know the people on the way over to Panama City Beach, FL. There, we were a part of an organization called Beach Reach. We basically gave spring breakers free van rides around at night as well as providing a free pancake breakfast every morning. We spoke to people about Jesus, about our personal stories, and we shared testimonies. I was so moved by the week, I got baptized in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:00 in the morning one night after the street shift. I loved who I was on that trip, who I became to be, and I loved the relationship I had with God and getting deeper into my own faith.
While I was in FL, I got word that I was accepted into the Disney College Program for the Fall semester of 2017. As I’ve said in my blog posts, it scares me thinking about leaving Michigan, leaving my friends and family behind, but DCP is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I can’t miss out on. I’m rooming with a girl who goes to Central as well.
Last but not least, we had our Greek Week! We raised around $82,000 for The Isabella County Child Advocacy Center and The Kristy Malter Memorial Fund. Kristy was a girl who was in Alpha Gamma Delta here at Central Michigan. She passed away from bacterial meningitis this past summer. The money we raised helped go towards medical expenses, and towards a scholarship for a couple students to get for college. We raised money all week, then on the last day had a mock rock where you dance. The theme for mock rock was words. The word had to be in the songs you were dancing to. Alpha Chi was paired up with Sigma Chi, and our word was drop. Our dance was a lot of fun, and it was one for the books!
There’s been a lot of crazy stuff happening around campus, as well as in my life. I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. This year has taught me how to grow up, and how to manage time. It’s taught me that not everyday can be a perfect day, and school is hard. It’s opened my eyes to new people in my life, and it’s given me opportunities I never would have had if I had gone anywhere else. I’m happy to say I’ve almost completed my freshman year, and I just want to say thank you to everyone who was with me along the ride for it.