The End of an Era

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Three and a half years ago, a young woman trudged to a final in a half a foot of snow. She passed the Animal and Food Science Lab exam, and then she walked out with a goodie bag of snacks that one of the TAs handed her on her way out the door. In the bag, there was information about recruitment for Sigma Alpha, the Professional Agricultural Sorority. She brushed it off at the time, but when spring semester rolled around, she talked to some of her friends and decided to give it a chance, even though the thought “Greek life isn’t for me” kept running through her head. A fairly awkward and shy person showed up to almost every single rush event for the two weeks of recruitment, and then somehow, despite a story she shared about a grape, she got an email inviting her to Bid Night. She was officially an MC. Over the next six weeks, she met the group of women who would become the heart and soul of the sorority for the next three years – the fellow members of her Alpha Eta class.

Three years ago, she became an active sister of an organization that would change her life. She took the oath of sisterhood, and gained an endless number of new connections. She took on a committee head position and never looked back. She grew tremendously because of the responsibility that she had undertaken. Her communication skills developed, and she got comfortable talking in front of crowds. She slowly turned into a leader. She fell down, but she had learned how to pick herself back up. More importantly, she had developed a support system that was always there willing to help brush off the dirt and dust.

She developed an open mind because she met people who were different from her and learned to respect how diversity is what makes a group strong. She met people who challenged her, who changed her morals and values, who helped her develop into a more mature, well-rounded person. She learned so much more about the agricultural community, and she tried to share that knowledge with everyone who was willing (and some who weren’t) to listen.

She met people who inspired her to be adventurous, who empowered her to take chances that she had previously been too timid to pursue. She traveled to the other side of the world and back with some of her sisters. With others, she’s shared so many experiences that it feels like she’s been around the world with them. They are some of her best friends; she would call these women her sisters even if they weren’t.

That woman walked out her last chapter as an undergraduate tonight, and with that act she is officially an alumni of an organization that molded her undergraduate experience. Thank you to the women who have been there with me through thick and thin over the years. I am honored to walk with many of you at graduation in 20 days (barf), and I am proud to leave the sorority in the good hands of those we leave behind.

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