JUNE 2018: WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR THIS SUMMER?
By Clara Yardley
I’m writing this blog post from a train in between Nice, France and Cinque Terre, Italy. Its
already summer for me! I’m not sure if this blog will be published before or after UW finals are
over, but for the study abroad program I finished last week in Cadiz, Spain, my finals were last
week. So, part of what I am most excited for about this summer is already in process! Last week
and for the next couple weeks, I will be traveling around the south of France and Italy with my
friend Caroline, a fellow sorority woman who I have already wrote about as someone who
inspires me. Seriously, she rocks. We are going to do lots of hiking and frolicking in the foothill
mountains in Cinque Terre and Tuscany, float in the Mediterranean, hopefully eat loads of pizza
and gelato, and see some incredible art before heading back to Seattle. I am really looking
forward to the next couple of weeks!
I am also thrilled for summer back in the U.S. At the end of June, I’ll be packing up for a couple
months to work in Yellowstone National Park. Hopefully I will get to meet people from all over
the world, read, hike lots, and challenge myself to plunge into freezing lakes and rivers. I’m
going into this experience alone, and while I’m a little nervous about making friends, I know that
starting the conversation is the hardest part. I am very eager to learn about (and from) the variety
of personalities that come to work at Yellowstone each season. Cheers to a summer filled with
new experiences, new terrain, and new friends!
Have a great summer everyone! :)
MAY 2018: SENIOR SPOTLIGHT : WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE FAVORITE MOMENTS OF COLLEGE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE FOR THE INCOMING MEMBER CLASS '18?
When I think back on my memories from college, the ones that stand out as my favorites aren’t the ones you might expect. I have great memories of spring break trips to escape the rain, Dawg Saturdays, and exciting milestones like getting into my major. These are memories that I was excited to make when I first got to UW. The memories that I now look back on as my favorites are the ones I never could have anticipated making. Like becoming best friends with a girl in my PC who
intimidated me at first, after one night that we stayed up until 5:00am talking. Or one of the spontaneous weekend trips we’d make to a random place I had never been, where I was introduced to my friends’ friends who would soon become my
own friends. Or less fond memories like getting bad news from home, but not having to cry and be sad alone. Your experience is going to be so much different than you expect. But it’s also going to be much better.
If I could offer any advice, it would be to do all you can to avoid comparing yourself to others. The type of memories and the type of friends that you make in college will be 100% unique. Everyone is going in different directions and at a different pace. They say that comparison is the thief of joy and this proved to be true for me. Don’t waste your experience worrying about how your grades, your Instagram feed, or anything else compare to those around you. These four years are going to fly by - try to be in the moment. Be there at 5:00am talking to the stranger because she might become your best friend. Go with the person who is making a McDonald’s run at midnight because you know you’re going to regret it when they get back and you smell the fries. We all know how important school is, but these people and the time you have with them are going to be really important too.
Finally, don’t worry too much. About what sorority you end up in or about maybe not fitting in right away. The beginning is the toughest part. It’s the only chance you’re going to have to feel alone. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself surrounded by strong, beautiful friends who will do everything they can to encourage and support you. Everything is going to work out. And in a few very short years, you’re going to be like me; about to graduate and wishing it didn’t have to end.
APRIL 2018: WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN A SORORITY? WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED BY JOINING THE GREEK COMMUNITY?
BY TAYLOR MADSEN
Thinking about starting my freshman year at college as an out of state student I knew that finding a small community would be extremely difficult. I was about to enter the biggest place of education I had ever experienced and that thought was overwhelming. Once I had heard of the UW Greek community I immediately decided that this would be a great way to find an early and close group of friends. I just had a feeling that I would be able to find my home here.
Yet after I signed up for formal recruitment my mom expressed to me how nervous and skeptical she was about my decision. During her own college experience she had multiple negative interactions with women who were in sororities. She witnessed these women engage in cliques, drama, and cattiness directed not only towards her but also towards each other. My mom did not want me to experience, let alone be a part of, a community that behaved this way. In return this made me very skeptical about not fitting the typical “sorority girl” image or how much of a home these people would be able to give me. I entered formal recruitment with a very guarded heart and mind.
Yet as the week progressed, the more and more I began to talk to the Greek women at the University of Washington, my assumptions were shattered. I walked into these houses feeling welcomed, feeling as if I could be myself, and had shockingly meaningful conversations.
After joining Kappa my perspectives of what a sorority should look and act like did a complete 180. The girls that surround me are nothing like the ones my mom had described from her past. They were genuine, supportive, inspiring, and inclusive. They stand up for what they believe in and work tirelessly to achieve amazing things in our community. Last year at our Mother-Daughter brunch my mom came up to me and stated that she was so glad I had found a community as amazing as Kappa. She said that she had never met a group of girls that loved each other so much in every way possible and that her perspective of sororities had been completely changed by UW. After being in a sorority for three years now, I have learned that the Greek community at the University of Washington is an extremely special place. The people in this community have each others’ backs, lift one another up, and aspire to change the world. I have never felt so lucky to be a part of something and cannot wait to see how the Greek community grows and thrives.
I went Kappa simply for the connections I made with each and every girl I talked to. All the conversations I had were easy, genuine, goofy, and vibrant. I was inspired by these girls while also feeling like one of them. Picturing myself as a Kappa, I knew I would be my best self here and would be constantly surrounded by incredible and uplifting women. Throughout recruitment I had this overwhelming feeling about Kappa that in hindsight, I can only describe as feeling like I was exactly where I was meant to be. I’m happy to say that Kappa and everyone in it has brought me that feeling every day. I am so proud to not only be able to call Kappa my chapter, but also my home. – Jaelin O’Halloran, PC ‘16
MARCH 2018: HOW HAS A PANHELLENIC WOMAN IN ANOTHER CHAPTER ENHANCED YOUR GREEK EXPERIENCE?
Caroline is the type of person everyone wants to be friends with. She lights up a room, has the best sense of humor and is both interesting and interested. I have known her for less than two months, but I can already say she is someone I want to have in my life forever. I met Caroline through another friend who is also in a different chapter, and we have become great friends while studying abroad together. I have spent hours with her almost everyday for the past seven weeks, and we still find loads of sarcastic comments and funny situations to laugh about. Truly, she’s awesome.
For me, Caroline has enhanced my Greek experience by shedding light on the fact that at their core, all sororities are basically the same, and that this is a good thing! We are all just groups of women who desire love and support from others and have found that through our chapters. Though we might not have friends in every chapter and sometimes may even generalize about the “type of girl” in each individual chapter, each sorority is chalk full of kick-ass women who celebrate each other. That’s what matters. It’s easy to make surface level generalizations and comparisons about each chapter-- especially during stressful times like recruitment--but I think its constantly important to remind ourselves that no matter what you might think about a chapter at face-value, there are awesome women in each and every one. Caroline is my personal proof, but I’m sure that with little effort, all other Greek women can find theirs too.
Before meeting Caroline in January, I had no friends or even acquaintances in her chapter. Now I have an amazing, loyal friend who I know I will stay great friends with after our study abroad program ends. When we get back to UW, I know she will introduce me to her friends in her chapter and I’ll do the same. We’ll be the bridge that builds a larger community between our separate but awesomely similar and compatible mini-communities. Truth be told, we don’t really talk about our chapters and their differences and similarities much while we are here in Spain. Our other friends often forget we are in sororities, much less different chapters. What we do do however, is support each other, bring out the best in each other, and make each other laugh. We do what I know my fellow Kappa’s do for me at home, and what her fellow chapter members do for her as well. We practice with each other what is at the core of all sororities, and she reminds me every day how the pillars of Greek community sisterhood are not at all chapter specific.
Clara Yardley PC’16
FEBRUARY 2018: HOW DOES YOUR SORORITY EMPOWER YOU ACADEMICALLY?
Coming to UW, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life. I had my mind dead set on pediatric nursing and came into college prepared to do anything and everything to get there. However, while I have always been very self-assured, college is a time full of growth where you become a new and improved person. Unexpectedly I found myself heading full speed for a career that I was slowly learning did not suite what I wanted in my future lifestyle. At this point I knew I needed to switch majors but was extremely anxious at the thought of doing so. Each one of my friends in the house was supportive and understanding of the rough and confusing time I was going through. They all wanted me to be happy and pursuing something that was important to me. At Kappa we implement a system called study buddies where each lower classman is paired with an upperclassman to help guide them through the challenges of academics here at UW.
At a scholarship dinner each quarter you sit with your study buddy and at a table filled with members who are studying in a field similar to you. At the beginning of spring quarter my freshman year we had a scholarship dinner and I was introduced to a senior who was majoring in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She explained to me all about the courses she was taking to become a Speech-Language Pathologist and what the career entails and I fell in love. I was completely inspired by the passion she had for her major and knew that I could feel the same way. I had observed and worked with Speech-Language Pathologists during my high school job at an elementary school for children with special needs and hearing one of my friends talk about it reminded me of how much I loved that job and working with those people. I knew from then on that this was the right path for me. Every day when I step into Kappa I am surrounded by women that are hardworking, inspiring, and doing incredible things with their lives all in their own unique ways. Each and every member has this intrinsic motivation to be the best they can be. I know that without that community I would not be doing the same great things with my life and making the difference in our world that I am today. Kappa has been a constant source of support in my academic endeavors as well as every other aspect of my life.
JANUARY 2018: INTRODUCTIONS AND NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
BY CLARA YARDLEY/ TAYLOR MADSEN
Hi! My name is Clara Yardley and I am very excited to be representing Kappa Kappa Gamma as a Panhellenic blogger. I want to start off with some (hopefully) fun info about myself. I am a sophomore double majoring in International Studies on the Global Health track and Spanish. By the time this blog goes live, I will likely be in Cadiz, Spain! I’ll be studying abroad there until the end of May, and I want to spend some time travelling around Europe, North Africa (Morocco is only a ferry ride away from Cadiz!) and the Middle East while I’m there and after my studies end.
Anyway, a little more about me: I am originally from the east coast, but Seattle has been my home since I was 8. It’s honestly pretty awesome being only 5 miles away from my childhood home and family while at UW-- I didn’t think I would like the closeness originally, but I’m very close with my family, and now I can’t imagine being much farther away. I love getting outside and actively enjoying nature by hiking, running, cycling, skiing and kayaking. I wish I could say I am into health and fitness, but even though I’m pretty active, I have a HUGE sweet tooth! It's a constant--and hard!-- battle of trying to find balance (I ate a piece of salted chocolate peanut butter cake before writing this post that was the size of my head) . I also love reading, listening to music, and watching awesome movies-- I really appreciate great and impactful literature, film, music and art that asks big and relevant questions and truly makes me think.
I wanted to write for the Panhellenic Blog for a number of reasons. I really enjoy expressing myself on paper, and am trying to do more of it. I have a academic blog/portfolio that though I am required to have for school, I like reflecting in it. I also have a personal journal that I try to write it every couple days. This blog is yet another place that I can express my ideas on paper, this time with yet another lense and focus. I want to get more involved in Panhellenic and I thought that writing for the blog would be an awesome place to start! I think that this could really be a great tool in demonstrating the diversity, intelligence and kick-assedness (is that a word?) of our community, and I am so excited to be a part of it and see where it goes.
To wrap things up, I wanted to share a couple of my New Year’s Resolutions. I honestly can’t decide how I feel about New Years. I’m a firm believer that if you want to make a change in your life it shouldn’t matter the time of year, but I do think that New Years can serve as a motivational tool for a lot of people, and I think that's great. I also don’t really understand why people ring in a new year, something that seems so pure and is supposed to be a fresh, clean slate with belligerence and aggressive drinking. Anywhooo, just food for thought. I like to set New Year’s Resolutions, but many of these goals are things I have thought about or been working on for a while, or are things I hope will be continuous throughout life, not just for 2018! Okay, here’s a couple:
Be more comfortable being uncomfortable! -- I want to put myself into challenging situations that will help me grow and learn.
Say yes to more things!--- Along the same lines, I want to push myself to do as much as possible and to take advantage of spur the moment opportunities, especially when I am abroad. I am a very routine oriented person, and I want to work on being more spontaneous and living life to the fullest!
Read more for fun!-- I often find myself bogged down in reading for class, and whenever I am done I only want to watch Netflix. I usually read a lot in the summer and on breaks (except I have been binge watching The Office this whole winter break…), but I want to read more during the school year too. I want to read at least 15 books this year that I am excited about reading!
Listen more and Ask more questions- You sure can learn a lot!
Tell people how much I appreciate them-- This goes for everybody, from my family and friends to professors and TAs to random favor do-ers.
Fitness wise: Run another half marathon or maybe even a longer distance, and do an Olympic Triathlon!
Do what my future self will thank me for-- this goes for everything from food choices (wink!) to going the extra mile in school work.
Be confident!-- I feel like I was more confident in high school than I have been so far in college, and this is really something I want to change!
Journal more and write more for myself!
Hi! My name is Taylor Madsen and I am a junior Kappa Kappa Gamma here at UW. I am majoring in Speech and Hearing Sciences and minoring in Disability Studies which are both very small and specific but incredible departments. I have worked with disabled children my entire life; they are a passion of mine that has grown over the years and has inspired me to become a children’s Speech-Language Pathologist. I also love to read novels, run, travel, and hang out with friends in my spare time. I wanted to write for this blog in order to help other girls either within or outside of UW Panhellenic see topics revolving around the Greek Community with a new perspective. Often the Greek Community is associated with negative stereotypes; however, from an insiders view I have found the UW Greek Community to be inclusive, supportive, uplifting, and extremely beneficial to my growth as a person. We were asked to write about our New Year’s Resolutions for this first post and before that I had not even given it a thought. After some reflection on my past year I came up with a resolution that I think would really help me live life to the fullest. I want to see more of the world this year. I have had the opportunity to see many places but never places that I truly have the desire to travel to and never on my own. I hope that this year I can make experiencing new cultures and people a priority because I know it will help me see the world in new ways.