Have you ever thought about how one choice you’ve made in your life impacted everything beyond your wildest dreams?
(This is where the record abruptly scratches and a cinematic rewind of my life in the past three years occurs and clicks resume.)
In a warm summer night at Curtis Hixon Park, I sat with a friend from high school and caught up on our first year of undergrad. As someone who didn’t leave her hometown for college through suggestion of my parents, I was enthralled by my friend’s story about her time in Jacksonville. Her experiences painted times of work, play, and change… just like as many first-years would come to experience. Yet, it was way more thrilling than my cycle of commuting 30 minutes to class—occasionally—and commuting another 30 minutes straight home. As a person who found security in her routine but felt insecure about not keeping up with the grades and involvement that she once had in high school with extracurriculars, it still felt like I was missing the experience that my friend, and many others, were getting from college. She told me about the successes in her first year, such as joining her sorority, how her sisters have helped her with getting used to Jacksonville, and how she’s able to depend on them.
Depend on them? I asked.
She had told me about the times she would study with her older sisters and how they would always be there to camp the night at the library with her. There would always be a sister to study with, she explained. I sat there amazed and exhaled a breath of disbelief. Really? No way! She nodded and assured me that it helped her out during her first year. I explained to her that I didn’t think I was ever going to join a sorority because I wouldn’t even know how to explain the benefits to my parents and still was unsure even with the urging of a mutual friend ours who wanted me to sign up for Recruitment with her. She told me that it had been a great decision for her so far and for me to think about going through Recruitment at USF.
Watching the street lights reflect off the running water of the Hillsborough River, I thought about everything my friend had told me. I never thought about sororities in the aspect of getting involved, nor have I thought about possibly improving my grades by meeting people who are down for long nights at the library. I needed to get out of my routine, I needed to feel like I got more to going to college other than sitting in class and going home, and I needed to feel like I was doing something for myself.
A few weeks later, the mutual friend had texted me and let me know that Panhellenic Recruitment had a special and, with that message and after 20 minutes with my computer, I decided to submit my registration for fall Formal Recruitment and looked forward to what was to come for my sophomore year.
My name is Ana and I am the University of South Florida’s Panhellenic President. I wanted to start off by giving you a little bit of information about my first choice with the Panhellenic Association, deciding to go through Panhellenic Recruitment, and how it illustrates how small decisions can add up into experiences you would never thought would be possible. In the beginning of my collegiate career, I never thought I was going to join a sorority, let alone become a leader within the USF community. In these Posts from the President, I want to leave a little bit of my experiences with you and to throw some advice out there to all who cares to read. For this post, I leave you with this: make choices that will help you become the person you aspire to be, whether they are big or small. For me, this small decision has cultivated an undergraduate experience that has brought me closer to the woman I want to become with people I will continue to grow with.
“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” -Keri Russell