What happens when... you need a sister.

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The moment I opened my bid day envelope with the beautiful turquoise and silver Zeta Tau Alpha card, I didn’t even realize what I was getting myself into. It has been a fun journey adjusting to exhilarating college life, but it has also been a journey that completely broke my heart. Becoming a member of The University of Arkansas Zeta Tau Alpha has completely changed my life.

August 14th, 2015 was supposed to be a fun move in day and turned out to be a devastating morning. My father passed away that morning in Kansas City at 5 am. My mom and I woke up in our hotel room in Fayetteville to several missed calls from the rehabilitation center he was receiving care from. He suffered from two strokes in the past year, and due to his wounds from the military, it only complicated his healing process. He was supposed to be on the up-hill climb that day when I said goodbye to him. He was supposed to be coming home within a few weeks of me leaving for school. I knew in my head and my heart that something was very, very wrong. My heart sinks to my stomach thinking of the very moment we heard the news from the director of the facility. Instant tears came upon me. My mind was in complete shock. All I can remember is praying to God, and asking him why. How was I supposed to push through the day and move into my dorm? How was I supposed to go through recruitment and pretend like I am so excited and peppy on the outside... but realistically on the inside my world had completely shattered into pieces? I contemplated not even going through recruitment. But I am sure happy I did, I knew he would want me to be a soldier like he was and stand strong.  Zeta has given me an unbelievable amount of strength and love. Without my sisters, I can literally say I would NOT have been able to survive my first semester of freshman year. I am reminded everyday how much I am loved by so many special ladies. This is where my journey begins.

As Zeta’s, we say “Love is the GREATEST of all things.” It is something we live and stand by. As mushy as this may sound, I truly see this being actively lived out in every single girl of this sorority. Life definitely threw me a curveball at the beginning of my journey in college. Without the special love and bond I have with my sisters, I would not be the person I am today. Something that I find so incredibly amazing about ZTA is that no matter the age or your pledge class, you’ll find a friendship with every single girl. Just because I am a freshman doesn’t mean that they treat me any differently. It makes my heart so happy to be able to say that I have so many older girls that I can look up to as well. I have formed so many friendships beyond just my pledge class. I have always felt extremely comfortable walking into that house on Oakland Avenue. This is something so important to my adjustment of coming into college. I wasn’t treated like a specialty case. I was treated like the girl everyone saw me as. Everyone in ZTA is so genuine. It is truly amazing to have so many girls to stand by me through the good and the bad. I want to personally thank Zeta Tau Alpha for helping me survive my freshman year.

With all of that being said, I would like to tell a story about some very special people to me. One morning in March my absolute best friend and pledge sister, Peyton Podschwit, told me she was coming over. She calls me when she got to my building and said, “Hey, come let me in the back door.” Well, of course I misheard and thought to let her in the front door because that is where I normally let her in at. As I opened the front door Allie Wetzel, Madeline Caldwell, and Maddie Wipfler, who are all older zetas and some of my favorite girls, were walking in saying they REALLY had to go to the bathroom. Of course I thought nothing of it, and didn't have a clue, so I went to the back door to let Peyton in. We go up to my room and moments later Allie, Madeline, and Maddie walk in my room. They confess "Okay, we didn't actually have to go to the restroom, and we have something for you!" Allie pulled out a card with a little blue box. I’m usually not one for surprises, but this one was so incredibly special. I start to read the card to find out that what they are about to give me is this beautiful necklace that has the coordinates of Arlington National Cemetery where my Dad is buried. I was in instant tears. The sweet words, and inspiration these ABSOLUTELY AMAZING ladies gave to me fills my heart with so much love. I'm truly blessed to say that God definitely guided me in the right direction when I went Zeta Tau Alpha. They went out of their way to give me something that will always remind me of my Father. I wear it daily not only in remembrance of my Father, but as a reminder that I have some of the most amazing sorority sisters in the world.

People say you pay for your friends in a sorority, however, I say I couldn’t pay enough for them. Moments like this are absolutely priceless. I thank God for Zeta Tau Alpha everyday of my life. Without this powerful love and friendship I have found, I am not sure where I would be today. Zeta Tau Alpha is not just a sorority. It is my second home. It is friendship. It is love. It is happiness. It has my whole heart. I do not know what I did to deserve Zeta, but I am sure thankful.

- Alix Arnold, Pledge Class 2015