By Micahela Gates, Staff Writer
Two years ago, when I wrapped up my first semester of college, I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t feel lost as a person. I was miserable in a difficult major, I didn’t have many friends, and I was on the verge of transferring.
However, in the spring of 2016, I decided it was time to make a change. After I had expressed my negative feelings about UMass Dartmouth to my family, they quickly asked how involved I was, and the truth was that I really wasn’t involved with anything on campus.
It may seem silly that I had yet to realize this on my own, but frankly I hadn’t. I had never realized in that miserable first semester that I was involved in absolutely nothing, and I knew that it had to change. That is when I found Greek Life at UMass Dartmouth. I was not into sports or art and academic clubs a bit, but Greek Life was different. While many people believe that Greek Life is just an excuse to drink or a way to buy friends, I can tell you firsthand that that’s a load of crap.
When I made the decision to join Phi Sigma Sigma, a national sorority on campus, I quickly realized that these girls were not there for parties or because they could not find friends elsewhere.
They were there because they were interested in making the community they lived in, whether in be on campus or in the Greater New Bedford area, a better place. They were there to find other girls who were truly interested in supporting and encouraging each other to strive to be the best person they could be.
In the spring of 2017, my sisters and I managed to raise about $5,000 for Relay for Life, which is a charity event that raises money for cancer. My boyfriend lost his grandmother at 14 due to a two-year bout she had with ovarian cancer. It meant the world to me to be able to tell him that my sisters and I did this in order to end cancer.
Two Saturdays a month, my sisters and I go to Acushnet in order to volunteer at Gifts to Give. Gifts to Give is a charitable organization that donates school supplies and clothes to children in need.
While this may not seem like much, the reality is that because of the efforts of my sisters and I, many kids were given everything they need to start school. It warms my heart to think about a little one, somewhere, opening up a backpack full of things we organized for them.
Aside from philanthropy, I can tell you that I never been a better me than I have been since I became a Phi Sig. I have been relatively shy and timid my whole life, but my sisters taught me to be assertive and to step out of my comfort zone. These lessons drove me to become Vice President of the sorority and while the job has not always been easy, I have learned countless lessons doing it.
And while it has not been easy, my sisters have always had my back through every single problem I have had as Vice President. It didn’t matter what was wrong, one would always step up and help.
That type of support wasn’t just for being VP either. It was for life. No matter what I was dealing with, one of them was always there to put a smile on my face and give me a pat on the back.
While these are my experiences with Phi Sig, I can promise that you will get the same thing from all the national Greek organizations on campus.
It’s not about parties or buying friends, it’s about making college home and finding a family.