October 2, 2013

Collegiate Perspective: A Home Away from Home

“When I set out on my own, I felt completely alone, then I found this home” (All I Needed).

As Alpha Phi sisters, I’m sure these familiar lyrics mean as much to you as they do to me. When I began my university experience, I moved across the country from British Columbia to Ontario, Canada to attend a university that I had visited only once before and where I didn’t know a single person. At first I thought I had made the wrong decision, leaving my friends and family, and moving so far away I didn’t know if I was ever going to fit in; if I was ever going to find my home away from home. Joining a Greek organization was always something I had wanted to do, as my mother was in a sorority during her university career, and I had many friends who went off and joined different sororities at their respective universities. Their stories of how they made some of their best friends during their time as collegiate sisters and all the different ways they had been involved philanthropically, socially on campus and internationally reassured me that I was pursuing the right path.

I’m sure the feelings of fear and uneasiness I experienced are similar to what many incoming freshmen students feel. In the beginning I didn’t know where I would find my niche. On my campus there are two international sororities and one local organization. I soon met the wonderful women of the Iota Theta chapter of Alpha Phi and instantly realized that this was the beginning of something phi-nomenal.

During recruitment, the Alpha Phis were cheering and smiling, all the while standing in the rain! Their enthusiasm for their chapter as well as their eagerness to talk to Potential New Members regardless of the circumstances was inspiring. As soon as I attended my first recruitment event, I knew that Alpha Phi was the place for me.  Once I was matched with my big sister, there was no looking back. She was more than I could ask for in a mentor and to this day is still my best friend. She encouraged me to get involved, to take chances and to involve myself in everything Greek life has to offer.

Today, I am halfway through my undergraduate degree and settling into my third year as a collegiate member. I welcomed a little sister of my own last fall, I had the opportunity to attend Canadian conference in my first year, I have held multiple positions within my chapter, I am working on planning our annual sisterhood retreat, and now I am a Collegiate Perspective Guest Blogger! I can’t fully put into words how Alpha Phi has shaped the woman that I am today. My sisters motivate me each and every day to be the best version of myself that I can be.

Our recruitment ended last weekend, and on bid day we welcomed 38 beautiful new members into our chapter; one of the biggest new member classes we’ve seen! As a Canadian chapter, we are much smaller than many of those in the United States. It’s something that makes us unique. I am so proud to call myself a sister of Alpha Phi and I know that choosing Alpha Phi is something that the new members all over North America will not regret. Congratulations to all the chapters on your successful recruitment seasons this fall, and to new members everywhere, welcome to the Ivy League!

“It’s not four years, it’s for life.”

Chelsea Birtch is a collegiate member at Wilfrid Laurier (Iota Theta). Read her bio by clicking here.

1 comment:

Hillary V said...

So proud of you Chelsea! You are such an inspiration and I am so proud to call you my little. Love you to the moon and back, aoe <3 and panda legacy love