The Unexpected Gift
Last week, after I returned home from a normal day on campus, I began my typical after-work routine: I set my things down, changed into comfortable clothes and started eating the Chipotle I picked up on my way home. Mid-bite I realized I had to make it down to the apartment office before it closed to pick up the packages I was expecting. However, among the usual mile-high stack of packages for apartment 152, was one I wasn’t expecting. I left it for last, after going through boxes of online purchases and the Valentine’s Day gift from my boyfriend. I hesitantly opened it, not knowing what could be inside. As soon as I saw the little bit of oatmeal colored sweater poking out behind the box flaps, I couldn’t help but become overcome with joy and excitement. It was the “Traveling Oatmeal Sweater” that my best Alpha Chi friends and I had started last semester. (Yes, just like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.) While all together over Halloween weekend last semester, we had the brilliant idea to send around the one sweater everyone borrowed while we were in college: Anna’s oatmeal colored sweater. Going from living together in 701 Main Street to living in three different states, the nine of us wanted something that would keep us connected, and this was the perfect solution!
As soon as I put the sweater on that night, I was overcome with a flood of my best college memories. As I reflected on what this sweater symbolized, I realized that the Alpha Chi Omega experience is like the traveling sweater that my friends and I exchange. Alpha Chi Omega is warm and comforting, it is a place where women can go to feel welcomed, accepted and comforted. Just as the sweater fits each of my friends and me, Alpha Chi Omega is an experience shared by all types of women at different stages of life, and connects friends and strangers alike through shared experiences, values and traditions. Alpha Chi Omega is a shared tradition, one that can be passed between women and span generations, offering unique, but always cherished, memories.
When I joined Alpha Chi Omega four years ago, I had no idea the journey I was about to embark on, and I certainly did not know I would be where I am today as a resident consultant at IUPUI. This experience was unexpected, just like the sweater in my stack of packages, but was exactly what I needed in my life – then and now. As a consultant, I now have the opportunity to witness over 100 women begin their unexpectedly amazing journey as founding members at IUPUI. They have no idea the women they will become because of this experience, or the enriched lives they will have because of the support, experiences and traditions that Alpha Chi Omega will offer them for the rest of their lives. I hope that these women, too, experience the type of friendships and opportunities that I have been blessed with because of Alpha Chi Omega. I am confident that though this journey may have been unexpected for many of them, Alpha Chi Omega is now, and will always be, exactly what they need.