April 6, 2011

Alpha Phi: A Place to Belong - Reflections of a Transfer Student

During the two short years since I transferred to Washburn University, I have become a part of some truly amazing organizations full of people who challenge and motivate me on a daily basis. Of course, the one that’s closest to my heart – the one that started it all – is Alpha Phi.

As a transfer student, I know first-hand how scary a new school with no friends can be. It’s a different kind of scary than the freshman feel, because they’re all in the same boat. They sit together through orientation seminars, live together in student housing and bond over their love/hate relationship with the cafeteria food. Faculty and staff take them under their wing and, generally, ease them into campus life. But most transfer students don’t get all of those benefits. The situation for those students is, essentially, intimidating. “Where do I live? Who do I live with? What do I need to do to enroll? Which professor should I take that class from?” The list goes on and on; a list of things that must be faced alone, or so I thought.

Fortunately, the summer before starting school at Washburn, I received a postcard from the office of Student Activities and Fraternity/Sorority Life encouraging me to “Go Greek!” It was something that I’d never seriously considered before. The school I previously attended had no Greek community and neither of my parents had gone Greek – but something about the opportunity intrigued me. I undoubtedly had many incentives for joining a sorority, but mainly I didn’t want to attend a school feeling uninvolved, unconnected. We all want to look back on our college years with fondness and pride and, in that moment, I had found my chance to start fresh. I decided that if I didn’t sign up to go through formal recruitment that fall, I would surely regret it…

By the end of recruitment week, I was certain that I genuinely belonged with the women of Alpha Phi’s Upsilon chapter. I had strong expectations of what I wanted from a sorority, as well as what I should be contributing in return. In Alpha Phi, I found a group of women whose ideals matched my own, women who inspire me to live the ritual every day of my life. I take immense pride in being associated with an organization that holds itself to the highest ideals of womanhood. These women – my Big, my advisors, my new member class and everyone in between – have supported me in every conceivable way. From the moment I joined, there was never a need to face anything alone.

I love this sisterhood, and I’m grateful that, because of it, I am also part of Washburn’s inter-fraternal Greek family. From barbecues to pick-up games of volleyball to study groups, I think that the everyday experience of being Greek is an unbelievable one. My friends who are Greek are the most diverse group of people that I’ve ever met, and I love spending time with all of them, no matter their letters. Whether it’s a movie night with Phi Delta Theta, sharing a laugh with my Delta Gamma and Kappa Alpha Theta co-workers, roasting marshmallows with Sigma Phi Epsilon, or taking a random road trip with Kappa Sigma, I give thanks every day for the little things that remind me why I couldn’t imagine my life without this bond we share.

Collegiate women decide to join the fraternal community for numerous reasons, but the option to join shouldn’t disappear along with freshman year. Going Greek allowed me to have a support group that encouraged me to branch out and make the most of what was left of my collegiate experience, and I’m so grateful that I made the decision to join Alpha Phi as a transfer student. 

Stephanie LeBlanc is a senior at Washburn University (Upsilon).

1 comment:

Hannah.Abernathy said...

Great article Steph! I love your "why I joined Alpha Phi story," and I'm so glad you joined. You're one of the best members we have- I don't know what we'd do without you. Love you!