Preference day is the last, and arguably most important day of sorority recruitment. It’s when the last decisions are made and your new home away from home is finalized. This year, instead of talking to a girl one-on-one, I opted to give a speech about why Pi Beta Phi is so important to me. It’s been everything I could ever ask for and more.
I remember being in your shoes. I had no idea what to expect or what I was doing. Walking from building to building with so many rooms of hundreds of jumping, singing, chanting sorority girls who are hyped up on adrenaline and what had to be caffeine was intimidating to say the least. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t find the right sorority, but after I walked into this house, I knew. As the days continued and the rounds went on, I fell more and more in love with Pi Phi; with its sisters, with its energy, everything. That’s when I realized what I was about to become a part of. It’s a little scary, committing to a sorority. I can barely even commit to what I’m going to eat for lunch tomorrow let alone a group of a hundred some girls. But once you make that leap, you become a part of something amazing. Something bigger than you or me. I share something with the girls in this room, that is exclusive, and profound, and that I share with no one else in this world: a sisterhood. From the moment I opened my bid, my life was forever changed.
Over the next year, I found my best friends, and some of the most real people I will ever meet. It started with my Big. She’s a senior this year and I’m already getting anxiety thinking about her graduating, but she is and always will be one of the most influential people in my life. She’s the most beautiful, kind, intelligent person I’ve ever known, and she chose me. She’s just a year older than I am, yet she somehow always knows exactly the right thing to say or do…whether that right thing is telling me the calories don’t count when you’re sad, or picking the perfect big brother, she’s always got it right. If I learned nothing else from my time here, I learned that Big knows best. Always.
As for my pledge class, we’ve been through so much together since day one. I feel like we’ve watched each other grow up, and you’ve helped me to become the best version of myself I could ever ask to be. Whether I’m harassing someone about REALLY important things, like what color I should get my nails done, painting the rock in the middle of the night, eating all the cookies in a fraternity house, or jumping around a trampoline park, you never disappoint. You welcomed me with open arms and the good times since are endless. These girls have stood by my side and let me run as Miss America, without judgment, and convinced me that no matter the outcome, I deserve the title.
All in all, I just feel so lucky. I found in my sisters, friendships that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I found girls to laugh with, cry with, and to go to Starbucks at 5:30 in the morning after an all-nighter. I found girls that I can truly be myself around. I hope that all of you find that. I hope that when you’re all on the other side like me, you can look back on your recruitment days with confidence in the fact that you wouldn’t change a thing. I hope that when you’re in my shoes, you can honestly say, “I found the perfect place for me.” You may not know it at first, but give it time and love. Good luck in making your decisions tonight, girls. I hope you all find a place to call home.