Not four years, but for life. We’ve all heard it. During recruitment, on a T-Shirt, at a senior goodbye or maybe a leadership training. I’ve heard it, I’ve said it, I even suggested it as a topic for a blog post. And yet, I never gave much thought to what it meant, to what it was going to mean for me.
Early on in my Alpha Phi experience I knew I wanted to keep Alpha Phi in my life in some way. I was a founding member of the Iota Sigma chapter at Carnegie Mellon University, and for a while I knew more alumnae members than collegiate. Being a volunteer wasn’t a question it was a certain fact. I heard “not four years, but for life” and thought of the future and how much I looked forward to being a Chapter Advisor, an Alumnae Chapter President, the International President. I still think about all of these things. But, in the week since I graduated and joined the ranks of dedicated alumnae, I have been thinking about this statement in a different light.
I began to think about who I would have to be to become an Advisor worth having. Older and wiser come to mind but it's more than that. I will need to become, to remain an exemplary Alpha Phi. In college I thought a lot about living to the highest ideals of Alpha Phi, I thought about how my actions would reflect on me, but also on my chapter and my sisters. There was something incredibly humbling and powerful about striving to be better not just for myself but for a group of women who loved and supported me. I am proud of who Alpha Phi made me.
This last week I have come to realize what the real meaning of “not four years, but for life” means. Yes, it means volunteer. Yes, it means donate money to our amazing Foundation whenever you can. Yes, it means reunion weekends with your pledge class as often as you can make them happen. Yes, it means having a drawer of Alpha Phi shirts you cannot bear to part with. But what it really means is to not forget what Alpha Phi made you. Do not forget the person you were when living to the highest ideals of our values. Do not forget how it felt to have you and your actions resonate with 90 other women. I picked Alpha Phi for a reason, I stayed for a million more. It is a decision I will be happy about for the rest of my life, and I will thank Alpha Phi by always reinforcing what it taught me.
Rachel Pustejovsky is a collegiate blogger from Carnegie Mellon (Iota Sigma). Learn more about Rachel by clicking here.