By: Sarah Scribner PC '17
I’ve always been told that I resemble my mother. From the tone I use to answer the phone to the organizational style of my agenda, there’s no doubt that I am my mother’s daughter. We use animated gestures whenever we talk, we eat spoonfuls of peanut butter out of the jar, we dance around the house singing along to Michael Bublé, we use the same words at the same time to describe the most random things, we laugh until tears prick the corners of our eyes, and, most importantly, we tell each other everything. But who knew, by the start of my freshman year, we would turn out to be sisters, too?
I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through recruitment. The summer before college, I was sitting at the kitchen table one night with my laptop in front of me, staring dejectedly at the blank recruitment application with the deadline looming over my head. My mom was tinkering around in the kitchen, silent but attentive, waiting to see what I would do. After scrolling through, I spotted the question asking me why I wanted to join a sorority. I looked up at the ceiling to reflect and then found myself directing the question to my mom, curious for her answer. She paused for a moment, and with a warm smile, shared that she met her best friends through Alpha Phi. My mother’s maid of honor and my godmother are both Alpha Phis, and she has kept up with them all these years. She went on to say that Alpha Phi was an instrumental force in making her feel comfortable and welcomed at UT throughout her college career, especially when the workload was overwhelming and the process of adjusting to college was daunting. The connections and memories she made through Alpha Phi ultimately made all the difference in her college experience and beyond and she felt she couldn’t be more grateful to Alpha Phi after everything the organization gave her. Moved by her words, I finished the application that night and submitted it, excited by the prospect of what was to come.
At the start of recruitment, I was nothing short of dazed and confused. The first wave of the chanting, the conversations, the clothes, and the cuts came in an absolute blur. I was paranoid, insecure, awkward, and sweaty for the duration of Open House—writing everything down so I wouldn’t forget the houses and praying the houses wouldn’t forget about me. The calm amid the chaos came when I arrived at Alpha Phi’s doorstep. There, I met wonderful girls who shared my interests and made me feel welcome. Toward the end of the visit, my cousin Allie tapped me on the shoulder to give me a quick wave and it brought a huge smile to my face to know that she was there, looking out for me. It wasn’t until the next round that I felt completely more at ease with the process, because by then, I just had six houses left. While I enjoyed my time in the other houses, for the second day of Philanthropy, I only had Alpha Phi and I was elated. For the craft, each prospective new member took a paper heart and wrote down the name of someone she looked up to. Without hesitation, I wrote down my mom’s name and proceeded to have a wonderful conversation with Alpha Phi actives about having close relationships with our moms. On Preference Night, as emotions were running high, Allie led the ceremony where we all put on our ivy crowns. She looked out over the rows of girls as she spoke and near the end of her speech, she made eye contact with me, smiled, and said, “You belong here”. And that’s when I knew I was home.
A (happy) tearful phone call with my mother followed thereafter in my dorm room as I relayed what happened and we were both desperately hoping that I would see Alpha Phi on my Bid Day card the next morning. And sure enough, once I opened the envelope and saw the Alpha Phi crest peeking through the top, I couldn’t contain my joy. I raced home full of adrenaline with my new sisters, not knowing that several of my new sisters were already there waiting to surprise me. My mom wrapped me up in her arms, crying and laughing, while my godmother, her daughter, Amanda (also an Alpha Phi), and Allie came over for more hugs and photographs.
Flash forward to sophomore year, and here I am, proudly serving as the Director of Alumnae Relations and writing this post in Room 5, where I currently live and my mother used to live during her time in the house.
I owe more to Alpha Phi than I will ever be able to return, because it’s given me the ability to find new ways to grow closer to my family. From attending Bid Day and Initiation to giving me suggestions for engagement events to coordinate for alumni, my mother, my godmother, Amanda, and Allie have been there through it all and shared in some of my favorite college experiences in an incredibly special and meaningful way. They are also direct links to Alpha Phi’s past, so I know there’s much for me to learn about Alpha Phi that I haven’t already discovered and I’m sure there’s a wealth of stories about their experiences that have yet to be shared with me.
As our Constitution states, “We have banded ourselves together to improve our minds and hearts, and we seek to aid each other through a constant watch-care always given in love.”
And I’m lucky enough to say that this is another thing my mom and I have in common.
Thanks, Mom. I love you most.