Dear Mom & Dad

I am writing this letter to you so you guys can be assured your baby girl is OK! While there has been ups and downs these past few months, at the end of the day I’ve finally found my home away from home. Thank you for everything you guys have done for me!

I have found the best friend group within my sorority and have made friends with girls on my floor. All my classes are going well. As you know, I have recently changed my major and I couldn’t be happier. I am extremely excited for my next semester’s schedule.

While school work is extremely important, it’s also great not having any sort of responsibilities on the weekend and being able to let loose. Tailgating is super fun! I love being able to share my Hawkeye spirit with everyone else in Iowa City. I’ve already binge watched an entire show (How I Met Your Mother). I love my roommate. We have become really good friends over these past few months. It’s hard to keep our room clean, though.

I’m really happy I got to see you two over parent’s weekend. Tailgating, going to the game, and staying in the hotel with you were awesome! I miss you guys every day! It’s weird not being home in my own bed, but the freedom has helped me mature and become a more responsible person.

Mom, thank you for keeping your phone on high volume at night for when I call at 2am bawling my eyes out so you can help me. Dad, thanks for giving me such great life lessons and calling me a few times a week to catch me up on your life. I could go on forever in this letter; however, you two already know how much I love and appreciate you. I can’t wait to see y’all at Thanksgiving!!

Love your baby,

Salmon

IOWA SHOUT

Every year for homecoming each sorority is paired up with a fraternity to put on a skit for the Iowa community. This year Alpha Phi was lucky enough to be paired up with two awesome frats: Acacia and Pi Kapp. Both groups of boys were so nice and made the experience so much more fun.

There are three dances in all including a skit in between each dance. There is a boys dance, a girls dance, and a combined dance. I, of course, totally fell in love with the idea of being in the dance! I decided to step up to the plate and be the main character for the dance, not realizing I would have to be apart of the skit as well!! I was so nervous when I found out that I had to be up on stage in front of hundreds of people and remember all my lines! Our theme for the dance was spongebob. I played the part of Sandy. Spongebob, Patrick, and Mr. Krabbs played a part, too.

We had practice three times a week for three weeks. However, by the time the dance came around I was still forgetting lines, dance moves etc. The combined dance had flips and tricks that looked so cool! But for me, I am not a gymnast nor can I do any sort of cool dance moves. Thank god I had my partner, Jake, who happens to be on the cheer team. Having him made me feel a lot more comfortable about the flips we were doing.

We had to be at the IMU at 5:30 the night of the dance to check in. I was getting excited as well as nervous. We took a lot of pictures in front of our spongebob themed banner. Finally, after waiting hours to get on stage, It was time to go on. Spongebob, Patrick and I started up on stage for the first part of the skit. We introduced our theme and the reason behind our skit. Mr. Krabbs was hosting a dance contest and whoever won got unlimited Krabby Patties for life. First the boys went, (another skit), and then the girls went (another skit). Mr. Krabbs then arrived on stage to tell me, Spongebob and Patrick that no one won and it was all for publicity. We all realized that that we should dance for fun and not for a silly contest. We then all joined on stage for the last dance as a team. It was SO much fun.

Although I made mistakes during my skits and messed up on dance moves, I did something that took courage and practice and overall I am really proud of that. Plus, I have always wanted to be famous so thanks Iowa Shout for giving me my 15 minutes of fame. While the dance was a silly idea, it gave me the opportunity to find friends in fraternities and become closer with my sisters. I am so excited for greek week where I can show off my dances moves once again.

Until next time

Sandy Cheeks is out.

Dear Kate

What it’s like living with a roommate:

Dear Kate,

It was April 4th, 2017 and I received a Facebook message from you about rooming together and the rest is history. I live in Minnesota and you live in Chicago; yet, I think it’s funny how we never had a single moment throughout our entire summer to meet half way.

Move in day was August 17th and I remember meeting you in our small yet cozy room on the fourth floor. I remember thinking how cute, nice, intelligent and funny you were! Like every pair of roommates, we spent the first couple weeks getting to know each other in small talk. Each day we learned something new about one another. We were getting along well but we hadn’t become best friends yet.

It wasn’t until we decided to watch a Netflix series together that we got close. We decided to watch Friends From College. It was hilarious. Do you remember finishing it in less than a week? The show brought us much closer in that it was something we could bond over. We probably gained 5 pounds while watching the show in that we ate SO much popcorn.

Kate, after that our friendship kept growing. We started spending a lot more time together. While we joined separate sororities, we find time to eat meals with each other, gossip, binge watch Netflix and keep each other in the loop. We stay up way too late each night talking, laughing about youtube videos, eating and unfortunately, finishing homework we left for last minute. Remember the night when my soup exploded in the microwave or when we talked to the cute cashier at the supermarket? LOL! Whenever I am stressed out you know how to cheer me up and make me laugh. We have each other’s backs. We are there for each other. We both have had our set of bad nights. With that being said, when I have a bad night you drop everything and help me and I can’t thank you enough for that.

I thank you for being kind. I thank you for being funny. I thank you for listening to me rant about my day. I thank you for folding my clothes when I leave them on the floor. I thank you for keeping the room tidy when I make a mess. I thank you for keeping me on track with my homework. I thank you for understanding my weird humor. I thank you for telling me to watch “How I Met Your Mother”. I thank you for helping me write my paper. I thank you for inviting me into your life. I thank you for giving me insight into your friends from home (can’t wait to meet them!). I thank you for taking pictures of/with me lol. I thank you for going to football games with me. I thank you for tailgating and going out with me. I thank you for encouraging me to be a better person. I thank you for putting up with me. And, most importantly, I thank you for being my best friend.

Katherine Grace, I could have easily been stuck with a random girl that I coexist with. Instead, I got you. I really lucked out. I can’t wait for the rest of the year with you to make more memories and take more pictures!

I love ya girl

xoxo Sam

Bid Day 2017

September 4th 2017: The day I found my home at the University of Iowa. While I didn’t have to be at the IMU until 2:30, my excitement woke me up at 8 and I couldn’t get myself to fall back asleep. Kate and I spent the morning blasting music, jumping up and down and getting ready to meet our new sisters in a few short hours.

The time finally reached two and it was time to head down to the IMU. As Kate and I left Hillcrest, hundreds of other girls filtered out of their rooms with their roommates with emotions from head to toe wondering what house they would be able to call their own. Upon reaching the IMU, all of the PNMs (potential new members) pushed their way through the crowd to find their Rho Gammas, or Recruitment Guides. After lots of searching, screaming and panicking I found Rachel, my Rho Gamma, and my group and I gathered around the amphitheater. All of us girls were uneasy, nervous, and excited all at the same time.

By 2:30 the ceremony began. Katherine Clarke, Vice President of Recruitment, led the ceremony. All of the Rho Gammas handed out our bid letters and we had to sit on them until the ceremony was over. While the ceremony was about twenty minutes, it felt like eternity. All I wanted to do was open my bid. The ceremony was finally over! Before opening up our bids, Katherine counted down from ten. Ten…nine… oh my goodness butterflies are taking up my entire stomach. Eight…seven… My palms are getting sweaty. Six…five… my heart is racing. Four…three… CAN IT BE ONE YET? Two…one… IT’S TIME! Girls ripped open their letters! Tears, screams and smiles overpowered the area. “Alpha Phi cordially invites Samanta Bly to become a member of our sisterhood Delta Epsilon Chapter.” I freaked out! I ran over to my friend, Kennedy, and gave her the biggest hug. We found out we were sisters! I quickly called my mama to tell her that her baby is continuing on the tradition and is an Alpha Phi just like her.

After all of the girls found their new sisters, each chapter took their girls and ran over to Hubbard Park to collect our new shirts, meet some girls from our chapter, and take some pictures. Since Alpha Phi is an outhouse (an off-campus house), we had to take a bus back to our house for a bid day welcome party. The bus ride felt like forever. I just wanted to get to the Dollhouse. As the bus approached 906 E College St., my happiness soared. All of the other sisters who stayed at the house were cheering, singing, and jumping around waiting for us to get off the bus.

The theme for Alpha Phi’s Bid Day was “sweet life.” I felt like I was in candy land. There was candy everywhere. From giant lollipops to cotton candy and everything in between, Alpha Phi had it all. All of the girls energetically got off the bus and found their bid day buddies. There were good vibes all around. Everyone was laughing, enjoying themselves, making new friends, and taking lots and LOTS of pictures. My entire Instagram feed for the next three days consisted of Bid day, Bid day, and guess what? Bid day! The excitement went on for hours. The entire house was filled with glitter and hair spray.

There isn’t doubt in my mind that this process of recruitment isn’t real. It works. I have never been happier than when I opened my letter and saw “Alpha Phi” written across it. The recruitment process is full of awkward and uncomfortable moments, forced conversations, and lots of girls going all

out with their hair, makeup and outfits. But, at the end of the crazy two weeks, you find your home, sisters, and lifelong sense of happiness.

 

First day as a Hawkeye

As I sit here on my lofted bed at 12:30am on August 18th 2017, I can’t help but get excited for my next four years here at the University of Iowa! Yesterday (August 17th) was move in day. I woke up at the crack of dawn, left my hotel in Coralville, and headed to Hillcrest, which will be my home for this upcoming year. After pulling up to the dorm, I realized my University of Iowa student ID was packed in the back of the truck in one of the 10+ bins I brought. Of course I need this to officially check in! Despite my dad’s obvious frustration with me, we dug through the tightly shut bins and found my ID.  My mom and I went to check in. I got my key, found my room and it was time to unpack. Thankfully, my roommate, Kate, and I share similar interests in fashion, makeup, style, and aesthetics which made it easier to make a cute dorm room. With that being said, we both brought A LOT of stuff. It took a lot of maneuvering, moving beds, desks and dressers, but after 5 hours the room was perfect.

After setting up the room, Kate’s family left for lunch. My mom, dad and I went to Shorts for a quick burger, bought some Iowa necessities (cute clothes), met with my blog advisor, Aly, who is AWESOME, and went to move my brother (incoming junior at the University) into his apartment. Dan, my brother, drove up yesterday WITH OUR DOG! So, Madison, our dog, helped move Dan into his apartment, too. Dan lived there his sophomore year as well with three of his best buds. After moving Dan in, my parents and Madison dropped me off at Hillcrest and it was time to say goodbye. Saying goodbye was easier than I thought because I feel comfortable with my transition to college (and they are coming down for Labor Day weekend to see the football game).

Soon after our goodbyes I ran up to my room and started decorating. I put pictures on the wall, strung lights, and cleaned off my desk. Ironically, my best friend, Shannon is a freshman at Iowa, too. This was not planned. But, I can’t complain. She is living in Peterson which is pretty much connected to Hillcrest. I went to visit her and her roommate, hung out with them for a bit, grabbed a bite to eat, and headed back to my room. Upon returning to my room, a facetime call with my mama awaited. I miss her already. The rest of the night was getting to know Kate, learning how to shower/use dorm room bathrooms, and learning how to successfully climb up a lofted bed, which  brings me to this point. While reminiscing about my day, I can’t help but be thankful for the easy move in, my new friend Kate, and all the amazing opportunities I will have by coming to my perfect school, and most importantly, I’m thankful for my new home!