Dear College Sarah…

Dear Freshman Sarah…

You are so excited to start college and meet new people. It’s hard pulling out of your parent’s driveway in Colorado even though your dad is taking you, because as you leave your mom is standing in the driveway crying. The next time you see your parents will be in early November at parent’s weekend, and the next time you’ll see your siblings will be after a treacherous drive to Colorado with your boyfriend and best friend from high school in Montana. You enter college as a dual International Relations and History major, but your classes have you ready to change majors almost immediately. It won’t be a waste though – you’ll end up minoring in both political science and history. You go through sorority recruitment and end up a member of Kappa Alpha Theta – your first choice, because you knew these girls would push you the most to come out of your shell and past your comfort zone. You are also part of the marching band and experience the worst bullying you’ve experienced since middle school – so you quit. This teaches you that your sanity and health is what needs to come first and that it’s okay to quit something that doesn’t enhance your life. At semester you move into the sorority house and become roommates with your neighbor from the dorm – you both can’t wait to move out of the dorm! Your dorm roommate was miserable because she wouldn’t speak to you on the sole basis that she was disappointed she didn’t have a Japanese roommate; when you move out, she gets her wish. Your freshman year is full of many new experiences and firsts for you and your biggest lessons are about quitting and knowing when to dig in and push harder.

Dear Sophomore Sarah…

You break up with your boyfriend just before school begins; he had to move home to Alabama and you did not want to try and juggle a long-distance relationship at that time. It broke your heart to break his, but you become friends again with time and distance. You are recruitment chair of the sorority and learn the importance of communicating expectations and knowing what your job description calls for due to conflicts with the Vice President of Membership. It’s a growing pain on top of heartache that leads to a challenging fall semester. This fall you have a short-term fling with your first college friend, take your first trip to Seattle, become a big and finally get your Ulcerative Colitis under control. But someone finds the pills you take for your UC, notices you spend a lot of time in the bathroom and accuses you of having an eating disorder. This spirals into harsher accusations and severed relationships with members of your pledge class. You also start dating your best friend from high school this fall. Its a lot happening in your life and it begins to feel overwhelming. Over winter break the sorority house floods and the chapter has to move into Kappa Kappa Gamma’s basement; your doctor told you that sharing a single room with 40 other girls would be too much with your UC and tells you absolutely not; this doctor’s note causes you to have to take a medical leave of absence for the semester because the Advisory Board Chairman won’t let you move out; at the end of the spring semester you have to petition for reinstatement as a member and its granted. This weird limbo of your membership shows you who your true friends in the house are and who are convenience friends – its a tough lesson to learn. That spring you discover your major, Communication Studies, and fall in love with psychology too. Its a year of immense growth and learning to stand on your own, while also finding your place academically and finding a major that fit.

Dear Junior Sarah…

You are excited but nervous to move back into the sorority house as a reinstated member and unsure if relationships will be awkward – they are for a week or so and then everyone moves on. You serve as a member of the recruitment board and enter all of the votes into the software system so your house can welcome an awesome pledge class! You don’t participate in the face-to-face side of recruitment because you have a couple night classes for your newest minor, Nonprofit Administration. You turn 21 in February and rock an exam the morning of your birthday after having gone out at midnight to celebrate. You feel so much love from the people who celebrate with you and have a wonderful time. That spring you have an internship with adaptive programming at the YMCA and love working with Special Olympics fundraisers, board meetings and coaching. It is one of your favorite activities of college.

Dear Senior Sarah…

You are so excited to be a senior and return to Missoula after a summer on Capitol Hill. You can’t wait to be a Rho Gamma and help with the Panhellenic side of recruitment and are excited to begin your year of service as the undergraduate representative to the Department of Communication Studies. This fall begins with your boyfriend’s appendix rupturing and a misdiagnosis at the campus health center, causing him to spend over a month at the hospital and need to withdraw from fall semester. As you are trying to be a support for him and his family, you also are serving as the Director of Public Relations for your house and thriving! You enjoy finding service opportunities for your sisters, running social media, writing press releases about your philanthropy activities and overseeing philanthropy planning. That November your boyfriend goes home to Texas to recover, y’all break up, your best friend from Theta breaks up with her boyfriend and you almost total your car outside of Sheridan, Wyoming and then have to continue driving it back to Missoula – Christmas break could not come fast enough to say good riddance to a crazy semester! It wasn’t all bad though – you had such a fun social life this semester and really poured yourself into getting the most out of your senior year. That spring flew by – you interned with MontPIRG and took two classes in the subjects you started in as a freshman; it was a very full-circle moment in your education. You had fun with your sisters and finished college on a high note. You also got back together with your boyfriend when he returned to campus – looking back, y’all should have stayed apart and worked on becoming just friends again, but hindsight is 20/20 or so they say…

College was full of so many highs and many lows, but it made me stronger and taught me how to let go of toxic relationship and people while still being civil when you interacted. There was not a semester that went by until I started by senior year that I didn’t want to transfer, but I powered through and am grateful I did. It also taught me to cling close to my family, who will always support me.


2 thoughts on “Dear College Sarah…

  1. Those are definitely the highs and lows of college right there!! Interesting that bullying came from band and less from the sorority! #misconceptions. 😉 love how much you challenged yourself to be brave.


  2. I really love this post and that it made me start to think about what I would say about each year. It’s great to remember the highs and lows and what you learned from both! Thanks for the reminder.


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