This morning marks the beginning of Aphi Senior Week.  This week is meant to celebrate, congratulate, commiserate, and send-off the senior pledge class.  So far this semester, I have done a relatively good job of not getting overly emotional, avoiding sappy moments, and acting like everything’s not going to change in three weeks.  But, the truth is everything is going to change soon. We are graduating college and starting new chapters of our lives.  Some of my friends have already landed their first “real” jobs, some have been accepted to fabulous graduate school programs, some are not quite done with undergrad, and some are still trying to figure out their next steps.  Each time one of my friends would share their news with us, my pride and admiration for them was almost overwhelming.  What did I do to deserve to associate with such innately talented, beautiful, loving women? I would like to borrow a bit here from our senior letter that was read during recruitment:

Alpha Phi goes beyond dinner, meetings, and socials; it is the moments that happen in between.  It’s the moments that you won’t find in pictures that define our friendships.  Aphi is looking at each other and knowing what the other is thinking, playing what would you rather for far too long, and finding notes of encouragement on your bed during finals week.  We have seen the dustiest corners of each other’s mixed-up souls. It’s knowing that our individual idiosyncrasies – Jank’s vest flap, Jenny’s blanket habit, Toni the house cat, or Haley’s tendency to run home – all these qualities make us the bonded group of women we are today. Over the last three years, as life tends to go, we have had our ups and downs.  While some milestones were predictable – boyfriends came and went, grades fluctuated, hair colors changed – others were quite unexpected.  From times of unimaginable loss to unprecedented joy and everything in between, we have been there for one another through thick and thin.  These women inspire us each and every day to be better versions of ourselves, celebrate colorfully, think wisely, act bravely, and most importantly love genuinely. Needless to say, the relationships that we have built over our years as Alpha Phi’s can never be taken away.  We owe much of who we are and who will be become to Alpha Phi.  We are constantly comforted by the fact that we made the best decision of our lives by joining this house. Even though we are ending this part of our lives we are about to embark on a new chapter, taking parts of each other with us and holding them in our hearts.

Personally, I am excited, scared, nervous, and anxious to see what the future holds for myself and for my dear friends.  It is odd to think that I may never see some of these people again after college.  But for the wide majority of them, I know our friendships will last for many decades to come. I will miss getting ready together at the big white house, eating Margaret’s bean dip on Saturday mornings while laughing about what happened on Friday night, sharing far too many pitchers at the Rail, watching movies in the Pickle, and being able to comfort any of my friends in the moment they most need a shoulder to cry on. As bittersweet as this week is, I am comforted by the millions of memories we’ve made thus far.  Over the past four years, we have learned that there is strength in numbers – and this will not change. So, to my pledge class: I love you, I am SO proud of you, and I will always being cheering you on.  Cheers to going out with a bang!

“May the angels protect you, trouble neglect you, and heaven accept you when it’s time to go home. May you always have plenty, your glass never empty, and know in your belly you’re never alone. May your tears come from laughing, you find friends worth having, with every year passing they mean more than gold. May you win but stay humble, smile more than grumble, and know when you stumble you’re never alone. Never alone, never alone, I’ll be in every beat of your heart when you face the unknown. Wherever you fly, this isn’t goodbye. My love will follow you, stay with you, baby you’re never alone.”

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