Sunday, November 11, 2012

Once upon a time I went away to college...

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Once upon a time I went away to college, two and a half hours north of where my parents lived. I went knowing just a few people- one close friend from high school, a couple more from sports- but after growing up surrounded by the same people for so long, it was a totally different experience to be just plopped down in this new place, without my support system all around me. Luckily just over two hours wasn't so far at all, but it was still a shock to suddenly be on my own after being so not on my own my entire life.

They had all of the freshman arrive a week early to get acclimated to our new college world and attend some of the million events and activities happening all over campus. I remember contiuously seeing signs for Greek life and Rush Week and it started to get my wheels turning a bit. Sorority life? I wasn't too sure. I certainly hadn't come to college with the intention of rushing, but in the spirit of "new" that was pervading every inch of my life, I decided to try it out and dragged along my friend from home.

I think sometimes it's hard to really see life-changing events for what they are as they are happening, and I'm not sure if I really grasped just how much this would change my life. There's so much more to say about my four years as a Pi Phi- many more stories for another day for sure- but for now I'll just say that looking all the way back to 2000 I can't even begin to express how fortunate I am that I just did it. Through it and its connections I met my lifelong friends, the girls who I call my sisters and who are deeply intertwined into my life so naturally and easily that it's amazing to just step back and look at this family of friends we've created. We may not all be the same; in fact, we're insanely different, but over the past decade we've all grown together and apart, and back together again in different ways, that our now adult selves are able to really appreciate the strength and stability of our bond even more. We don't all talk all of the time, and naturally some of us are closer than others, but when we are all reunited it's as if no time has passed. And to me, that is the sign of a true friendship.

And now fast forward twelve years to the present. It's Fall again in Flagstaff, the leaves are orange and gold and red. It's freezing out, our breath clouding the air as we laugh and talk, and the clouds hang in the same way around the San Francisco Peaks just as they did ten years ago. I walk arm in arm with the girls I spent four years laughing and partying and studying with. The girls who have seen it all. We talk about old times and we catch up on our todays. We reminisce at how strange it is to be back together in this place, visiting our old haunts and walking the same steps we did, way back in the beginning. And we make wishes for the future, looking ahead to a day just like today and yesterday, when the six of us will walk arm in arm together again as little old ladies, thinking how strange it is to be back together in this place, visiting our old haunts and walking the same steps we did when we were young.

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She is a friend of mind.  She gather me, man.  The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order.  It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind
  
-Toni Morrison, Beloved

12 comments:

  1. Love this! I'm so grateful to have you in my life and looking forward to many, many more years of friendship and memories.

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  2. Awesome post. I'm so lucky to call all of you my girlfriends, and so thankful that life led you all to each other, and then to me! ;) xoxo

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  3. What a beautiful group of girls. Gotta love those college friends.

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  4. I think the sorority thing is great. It's not something we do in the UK at all. How old are you when you go to college? Is it 18, like in the UK when we go to university?

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  5. This is so beautifully written, Danielle! You're able to articulate the true meaning of friendship to the tee. Love you girls and grateful for each of your friendships & the memories.

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  6. Im a sorority girl as well. I got into it completely not thinking it would be a part of my college life and it actually became a great college experience.

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  7. Thank you for posting this! I'm a KKG and have had a similar experience. With so many negative stereotypes of us sorority girls running around out there, it's really wonderful to hear about someone who has developed strong and DEEP friendships because of it. For me, the friendships and leadership experience that I've had because of Kappa will shape me for decades to come.

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  8. Ya know what's so funny - I've read your blog for awhile now and I found you through a friend of mine that I went to with also. Anyway through reading your blog and learning about where you live, I'm from Phoenix myself and also went to school in Flagstaff I started to see we have more in common than I originally thought. Now when you post this - it's really funny because I was a Pi Phi at NAU also... I rushed fall of 2005 so probably right after you graduated and had left which is why I don't remember you. Just thought it was funny and cool to meet a fellow Pi Phi, do you know my friend Deanna? She was in Pu Phi with me and she's the one that I noticed was following your blog originally.

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  9. Yayyy I knew I liked you for a reason - sorority girls unite! I feel the EXACT same way about the girlfriends I made while in a sorority in college. The best part is that my besties now include girls from other sororities (including my blog partner, Em), AND my husband is a fraternity guy. People have a lot of bad opinions about Greek life, but I feel so lucky to have been a part of that.

    (P.S. I'm an Alpha Phi and Em is an Alpha Delta Pi, both from Chico State in Northern CA)

    Strive to Thrive,
    Nic

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  10. Don't know why I haven't put two and two together earlier! I started following your blog about 7 months ago, and have really enjoyed your posts. So when I log in to catch up I realize your picture is from a fireplace I know well. I am an AOII from NAU! I was at school 2000-2004, back when AOII was up on the 5th floor. I didn't want to post that and sound like a creeper, but I see that others may have been at NAU at the same time as well (Karena). When I told my husband, he just laughed and mentioned that sorority girls are like magnets toward each other, I think he was trying to be snide, but I just laughed and had to agree!

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  12. This is amazing. Coming out of high school I was probably one of the most unlikely girls you'd ever thing would have any desire to join a sorority. However, with the same spirit as you possessed. I decided to rush. I have fallen completely head over heels for my sorority. I look at my large chapter of sisters and feel so incredibly connected and close to nearly all of them. I have made my closest friends here and have been provided so many opportunities. I hope, that like you, time will not interfere with the bond we have. This post is so wonderfully reassuring to me.

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