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The Perfect Birthday Present

web_Ellie_PiersallBy: Ellie Piersall
Theta Sigma, University of North Florida
Region 2 Traveling Consultant

On the morning of January 10th, I received not one but multiple text messages from friends with the simple “grandma emoji.”  Apparently turning 24 is symbolic of old age now. Although I don’t believe I’m old by any means, the grandma emoji certainly triggered me to reflect on the past few years. I began thinking of who I am, who I have grown to be, the many things I have accomplished and the many more I hope to accomplish. I spent even more time thinking about my current life, my job and how I would be spending my birthday. This year, I spent my 24th birthday enduring a 10-hour travel day filled with delayed flights, layovers and the wonders of airport food. I did, however, find the time to treat myself to my favorite candy, Sour Patch Kids. Most would say how sad it was for my birthday to be spent traveling and not celebrating. However, very few people knew from where I was coming, where I was heading and what I would be doing in the days following my birthday. I had, in my mind, the perfect birthday present.

The morning of my birthday, I woke up around 6 a.m. and began my 10-hour travel day. I was leaving one school, where I was assisting with formal recruitment, to do the same task at another. I oftentimes have difficulty articulating the multiple aspects of my job as a chapter consultant. The feeling I get when leaving a chapter to begin my journey at a new one is just one indescribable part of my profession. I’m devastated to be leaving one school, where I felt well-acclimated and had bonded with the members, yet simultaneously excited and nervous to meet an entirely new chapter. I temporarily go into a routine two-to-three-day funk of feeling sad, out of place and unimpressionable. Right around the time my funk fades and I start falling in love with the chapter I am visiting, it is typically time to say goodbye and move to the next chapter and campus. Cue the cyclical, but brief emotional rollercoaster.

So, back to my perfect belated birthday present. As I mentioned before, I was sad to leave my previous school, excited to meet my new chapter and nervous to feel welcomed. There is something absolutely beautiful about recruitment time in all chapters. Despite the long hours, strained voices and blistered feet, it is by far one of the most exciting times to be working with a chapter. It is one of the few times every year where the each chapter expands their sisterhood with the addition of new members. Working a recruitment week never fails to give me chills, and I was fortunate to not only work with a recruiting chapter during my birthday week but all throughout my birthday month.

This birthday month of mine has unquestionably been my best month on the road thus far. I have had the amazing opportunity to work with three different chapters across the nation and help with their formal recruitment process. These women, my sisters, quickly washed away all my nervousness and my doubts about working with new chapters. These chapters welcomed me with open arms, and we bonded during late night junk-food-eating sessions and many sleep-deprived bursts of laughter. Alpha Chi Omega and this sisterhood has given me unimaginable opportunities, surrounded me with the most passionate and influential women I know and molded me into the best version of myself as a young woman. I am forever grateful for the women Alpha Chi Omega brings into its sisterhood and the development it provides for its members. I owe a large part of who I am to the sisterhood of Alpha Chi Omega, which is why I am beyond blessed to have spent my birthday month helping to expand our sisterhood. I have had the incredible opportunity to help recruit new members who are just as fabulous as the Alpha Chi Omegas I already know and continue to meet. Having the privilege to expand three chapter sisterhoods in the course of one month has undeniably been the perfect birthday present.

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