JUNE 2018: WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT FOR THIS SUMMER?
By Marisa Allison
Summer is one of the most exciting times of year, and not just because it’s the end of a school year. Sure, it’s wonderful not to have to get up and run out the door because you snoozed your alarm one (four) too many times; but without the structure of school and sorority life things can get a little mundane. Luckily, I have plenty still on my to-do list this summer.
This summer I’ll be heading back to live with my family in Edmonds, which is just a 20 minute drive from campus; therefore making it an easy trip if I want to go see all my fraternity friends or my sisters living-in at fraternities. But, when I’m not driving over with my dog in tow, I’ll be sufficiently busy in Edmonds. I’ll be continuing my work as Assistant Manager at my yoga studio, as well as starting back up as a wildlife care intern at PAWs Wildlife Rehabilitation.
I did wildlife rehabilitation at PAWs last year as well, and fell in love with the entire process. I love handling the wild creatures (as minimally as we do so) and helping them get strong once again, so strong that no human will ever be able to pick them up again. But the best part is watching them go out into the world, finally free. They have been through weeks of confusion and medicine, but they walk out into the world with such power and a lack of habituation that would make anyone who adores wildlife smile. Wild creatures have taught me a lot about myself, and the world around me. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to go back to PAWs two days a week and help some animals get healthy and prepared for their wild life.
In addition to these jobs, I’ll be back on Rover to actively care for some animals on the domestic side! I already have a couple of weeks where I’m watching some cats, and hopefully I can do a bit more. It’s nice to close my day with animals I can snuggle with and love on after a long ten hours of getting down and dirty with raccoons.
Sorority wise, I got the opportunity to attend leadership institute and be a representative of my chapter. Three other women from my chapter, my chapter advisor (an absolute peach), and I will be heading down to Nashville, Tennessee to talk about all things AOII. Hopefully we can come back with some awesome inside information, striving to make our chapter even better than it already is. Also coming back with a bit of a tan (or even a better fake Southern accent) would be nice too.
Finally, and most exciting for me, is that the first day of my summer vacation I have an interview with my dream job. Hopefully I can move on further with this process and maybe even get the job! (stay tuned…)
Overall, exciting things are to come this summer. Even with all these incredible experiences, I’ll definitely be more than ready to come back to AOII and recruit some more amazing women in September.
Make sure to apply sunscreen!
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?
My sophomore year two years ago I decided that I wanted to study abroad. For a long time, I was heavily debating where to go and for how long I wanted to be there. I was afraid to make a decision because leaving is scary. It was my roommates and best friends who helped me make the decision. They told me that even though they’d be sad to see me leave, they knew that if I didn’t go somewhere and if I didn’t go there for as long as possible, I’d regret it. They were the only people telling me to go for it.
So, for my junior year, I spent 9 months in a small country called Kyrgyzstan, away from my friends who were all living a different life back here in Seattle. It wasn’t until I was gone that I realized just how deep our friendship and how meaningful AOII was to me. While I was gone, my friends facetimed me once a week at least, and even with the 13-hour time difference, they all made sure to call me on my birthday. There were multiple instances where I’d be facetiming my friends on their lunch, and they’d hand me the phone because, “I just had to meet this girl!”
When I’d gotten back into the country and eventually back to Seattle, my core group of friends had all graduated and I was afraid that having been gone for so long, I’d find it impossible to fit back in, let alone meet almost 100 new people. Boy was I wrong. When work week for recruitment started and I stepped into the house, I was almost immediately greeted by one of the girls I’d met over facetime, and it already felt like we’d been friends forever. People I hadn’t talked to in a year came up to me and told me how excited they were to have me back and they asked me thoughtful and truly inquisitive questions about my time abroad. And from experience I know I’m not the only girl to feel this supported and loved.
My friends and sisters at Alpha Omicron Pi are the reason I bought the plane ticket that led to the wildest year of my life. They were right there next to me even when I was halfway across the world, and a year later they welcomed me back the same way they welcomed me home on bid day. Being in AOII meant learning together, growing together, facing challenges together, and becoming better leaders together. They’re more than just friends, they’re sisters, and the shared experiences we’ve had, have kept us together and I’m sure will continue to keep us together, despite distance and time.
APRIL 2018: WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN A SORORITY? WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED BY JOINING THE GREEK COMMUNITY?
Becoming a woman in the panhellenic community was something that I never questioned. Going Greek was one of those decisions that felt easy for me, like breathing or tying my shoes. For many future collegates, or women currently in college who were initially unsure of Greek life, I will always encourage them to at least try to find their home in this community.
The magnetic pull of Greek life came from my dad’s stories. My father was a member of a fraternity, and his experience was one that shed light on all the reasons a person should join a fraternity or sorority. His brothers were not only there for him in the fun times or the times when midterms really sucked the life out of him, but also when he went through one of the hardest parts of any person’s life. His father, my grandfather, died during my father’s college career. All of his brothers knew that while comforting someone in this time of loss was a nice gesture, they could really make a difference. They showed what a group of college individuals could do when looking towards one goal. They all went to the nearby hospital, and gave blood in honor of my grandfather. These men ranged from my dad’s best friends, to people he had exchanged only brief words with. That story always told me what kind of people joined a Greek chapter, and my path had been set.
Now I can assure anyone on the fence that joining the Greek community is honestly the best decision I’ve made in my adult life. I’ve worked extremely hard academically, but without my sisters I would have been lost. I’ve been through hard times emotionally, and without my sisters talking me through it (or bringing me snacks) I would have wallowed in my own misery. Sisters in any chapter are women who will be there for you to celebrate your highs in life; but more importantly, they pick you back up during your lows. Trusting the process of recruitment is difficult and uneasy, but it is easily the most important part of recruitment. At the end of the day, you’ll find women who are more concerned about ensuring that you feel loved and happy than what you’re wearing to class today. The Greek community is filled with lifelong friends who will cherish you, but you have to take the initiative and trust that you’ll meet them along the way.
MARCH 2018: HOW HAS A PANHELLENIC WOMAN IN ANOTHER CHAPTER ENHANCED YOUR GREEK EXPERIENCE?
BY MARISA ALLISON
Outside of school and sorority life, I’m the assistant manager of a yoga studio in my hometown. I had worked at this studio as a volunteer for a few months in the summer before the manager asked if I wanted to continue as a paid employee. Melissa, the manager, is one of the most incredible women I have ever met. She’s soft, intelligent and organized in a way that I had always hoped I could be. Seeing her is always a new light to my day, and her comforting vibes are always welcome.
When describing my new position to me, Melissa described the owner of the studio. She mentioned that Jen was looking to create an environment with not only yoga for everyone of all abilities, but also a studio where love and support was at the forefront of everything we do. This became a woman that seemed so great she had to be a figment of my imagination.
In an email chain with Jen, I learned she was a member of a Panhellenic chapter during her time at the University of Washington. This little tidbit of information lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. Anyone who’s a part of a chapter knows that there’s a substantial time commitment in being an involved collegiate; where not only are chapter nights off limits for work, but sometimes weekends can be full of activities too. Jen’s understanding and Melissa’s kind nature would allow me to be involved in multiple things I love, both my chapter and the yoga studio.
As I got more involved at the studio, I ran into Jen more often. She’s no longer a ghost of my fancy. I learn from her each time I speak with her. I discover her insane drive and passion for what she does, her love for her family, and her empowerment of all women. These traits are components that a Panhellenic woman aspires to include in her life, and to see them in action has been incredible.
This past month, she was off on a yoga retreat in India; and as much as we missed her at the studio, it was incredible to watch her pursue something she loved. Her photos were obviously incredible, making us all a little jealous that she was exploring the world. But for me, it was more of a zealous admiration of an independent woman who sees something she wants and goes after it. She’s an inspiration not only to me, but to everyone who walks through our studio doors and experiences the environment she created for us.
Through my encounters with Jen, I’ve learned that all Greek Community women share the values that my own chapter holds so dear. Even though we aren’t in the same sorority, and we don’t share one ritual, I would definitely still consider us all sisters.
FEBRUARY 2018: HOW DOES YOUR SORORITY EMPOWER YOU ACADEMICALLY?
The University of Washington had never been my first choice college while in high school, it was merely another school on the list. It took two visits and some bribery from my parents (in the form of a puppy) to get me to fully embrace the school. I needed to make this sixty-thousand person school seem like a home where I could pursue my academic dreams, and my sorority has provided me with just that. My freshman year, I came in thinking I would be an Environmental Studies (BA) major. Then I took BIO180 and thought I would be a Biology (BS) major. Then I talked to more people, realized I hated chemistry, and became a ESRM: Wildlife Conservation (BS) major. Without my sisters, I know I would have been a complete mess during this rapid change of directions my first year in college.
They were the ones who walked me to class, and watched me come home from class. They were the ones who first realized how much I completely detested chemistry, and how much I was merely getting through that class for the credit instead of for the knowledge. They were the ones who comforted me when I did horribly on tests that I studied weeks for, and the ones who quizzed me on flashcards the next day. It’s so easy to get caught up in the majors that everyone else is doing, and the ones that seem to guarantee a career after college. While I know that going into wildlife conservation may not give me an instant career or a big paycheck, I have learned that (for me) that isn’t what’s going to make me happy.
Now we’re a quarter and a bit into my sophomore year, and I’m fully settled into my major and minors. As much as I wouldn’t want to go through all the confusion and failure I did last year, or wish those same feelings upon anyone, I would go through it all again. I don’t think I would feel like that if I hadn’t been surrounded by women that cared about me. I don’t think I would have successfully found my passion for this school and wildlife conservation without my sisters’ encouragement to pursue something I loved.
Alpha Omicron Pi is an organization, but when you join a sorority you’re joining people. The people in my home have given me a community that I can turn to when I feel on top of the world and when I don’t. Most importantly, they can make me feel like I’m a wonderful woman who deserves to feel joy and love.
JANUARY 2018: INTRODUCTIONS AND NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
The new year brings up so many emotions and thoughts of starting new... and then the realization that all of those resolutions are going to stop three weeks after you made them (or in my case, January 2nd). For this reason, my resolutions for 2018 were more based on achieving a healthier lifestyle rather than a specific GPA or weight.
I want to focus on going to all of my classes, even the ones where it isn’t required that I physically go to class. I’m an ESRM: Wildlife Conservation major, with minors in LSJ and Quantitative Science. Two of these are so incredibly important to me, that it would make sense that I attend classes associated with them. (The Q Sci minor is basically included in my major, except for one class; so I figured I would add that one as well.) Unfortunately, my motivation isn’t always at a level where I feel super pumped to go to class. I may be really invested in what we’re learning, but there are times where the bed looks so much more interesting. So, this year I determined I would schedule better. My classes will all be at attainable times in the late morning to afternoon so I don’t have the ability to sleep through a class.
Another resolution I’ve made this year is to more consistently write on my personal blog. I run a blog with my best friend who goes to Arizona State University. We met in high school and hated each other for basically no reason; but once we were forced to sit next to each other in AP Lit we found that we had much more chemistry than either of us saw coming. Long story short, we determined that both of us loved blogging and wanted to create a combined place to share our feelings, and now I have even stopped my individual blog to focus on that one. Even with this being my only writing priority (outside of school of course), I don’t seem to write as much as I want to. So I made a goal to write biweekly posts on the blog, regardless if I publish them or not. (ps if you wanna follow that one it’s: theentitledkids.blogspot.com)
My final resolution is to eat healthier. As I’m typing this out, I just ate breakfast for dinner so we can already see how that one is going. But in general I want to eat more veggies and commit to a more vegan lifestyle. I’ve been vegetarian for over five years, and I have tried being vegan multiple times. I don’t anticipate being able to stick to an entirely vegan diet, but if I could stick to it a few days a week I have a feeling that I would feel (emotionally and physically) way better than I do now.
Overall, New Year’s Resolutions aren’t something to stress over. Especially in college and sorority life where there is so much else going on in our lives. But if I can get it into my head, and written in my bullet journal, that I want to drink 6 cups of water a day I’m going to try to down those 6 cups. Telling yourself that you’re going to go to the gym every day is probably a waste of your precious brain space, unless your an incredibly dedicated person who already goes to the gym a ton. Instead, I believe that telling yourself that you’re going to do your best to live a healthy lifestyle is a much better use of your brain power.
-Marisa Allison, AOII