I have wondered about my purpose in life more times than I am proud to admit. In high school I constantly squirmed in my skin, never feeling entirely comfortable with what I stood for. Eager to start a new chapter, I nearly ran to the University of Arkansas immediately following my high school graduation. Arkansas equated to the opportunity for me to explore; to figure out what my mark on the world would be. Self-discovery is the entire premise of freshman year. And for many young women, that process starts at recruitment, a.k.a. the most humbling experience of your college experience. Or so I thought.
Crowns have been a recurring theme stringing together my 21 years. From pageants to plays, one way or another, I always seemed to end up with uncomfortable crystal atop my head. So rushing Zeta as a freshman was no surprise to all that knew me. Throwing the crown was a natural fit. By the end of the first day of recruitment, I knew I had found my forever home.
From that moment forward, the floodgates had been thrown wide open and the ZTA obsession had reached a level that l didn’t even know existed. My freshman year was all that a pledge’s should be: busy. I took every chance to get involved and I recommend everyone do the same. What amazed me was realizing that this was the ultimate Zeta attitude. Our chapter is a chapter of movers and shakers. Girls with big dreams, big hearts and work ethics like you wouldn’t imagine. I found myself roaming the mansion halls often because you could almost feel determination in the air. These girls were exceptional and I was inspired daily. I wanted to more. I needed to.
Remember the Zeta obsession I mentioned earlier? Yeah, it skyrocketed the next year. I ran for exec with my whole heart set on new member coordinator. That was the total dream. Well, I was slated for philanthropy chair (Side note: huge s/o to Shelby who was the GOAT of new member coordinators. It was an honor to watch you serve our chapter). This was a hard position to wrap my mind around. New member I knew that I could get the hang of, but the philanthropy program needed a total makeover and honestly I didn’t know if I was the girl for the job. After much consideration I accepted the position, but had reservations basically until my year was over.
I remember the exact day I realized why I was put in the position of philanthropy chairman. It was a crisp October night and Paint the Town Pink was about to take place. Stressed didn’t even begin to describe the way I was feeling. I didn’t think anyone was going to show up to help. When I walked into the living room to a sea of Zeta women I was almost moved to tears. I was so proud. NEVER will I forget how I felt Monday morning walking onto campus. It took my breath away. 400 women had banned together to raise awareness for a disease that, unfortunately, is very close to my heart. For the first time, I knew I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be. I had never felt so sure of something in my entire life.
But like all good things, my term as philanthropy chairman came to an end. Suddenly I was scrambling again, grasping at straws to find something I was passionate about. Just when I thought that I had exhausted all of my Zeta options, one sprang to mind. The past summer I had gone on a networking trip to D.C. with the Lemke Journalism Department. While in D.C., I connected with an Epsilon Zeta that had a strategy empire in Washington (I kid you not, she is a real life Olivia Pope). I sent her an email in early January. That single email changed my life. She offered me a paid summer fellowship accompanied by travel and networking opportunities. She didn’t ask to see my resume, nor did she care about my GPA. All she knew about me for certain was that I was a Zeta. I thought, and still kind of do think, that I was dreaming.
Shortly after the 2015-16 school year ended, I boarded a one-way flight to Washington D.C. and the entire way there I had one thing on my mind: Zeta. Zeta swooped in in my time of need and offered help in more ways than I even realized. Zeta welcomed me with open arms when I was running full force from who I used to be. Zeta made me the good kind of uncomfortable and showed me that I am capable of more than I give myself credit for. Zeta gave me the connection of a lifetime that made my big city dreams come true. Sometimes I forget to give credit where credit is due. Zeta had its hand in every major accomplishment I have had in my adult life. This is exactly why I went Greek, so that I could have opportunities to enhance not only my college career, but my entire life. I thank God that I rushed Zeta because I had no idea it would impact my life to this magnitude. Cheers to my ZTA sisters. You all indirectly shaped me. I am eternally grateful.
-Faith Tyrell ~ZLAM~