Thanksgiving Break: I thank college for that.

Happy (late) thanksgiving! It was such a nice and needed break. I hadn’t been home since August, so I was psyched to be able to sleep in my own bed, eat a home cooked meal, and spend time with my dog.

The first thing that stuck out to me most from being home is I didn’t need to see anyone I didn’t want to see. College gave me so many opportunities to meet people and find my true friends. Honestly, because I found my people here at Iowa, I wasn’t too jazzed to see many kids from my home town. Of course I saw my close friends, but I didn’t feel pressured to attend any huge parties or gatherings with my high school class. In high school, however, if I didn’t go to a party I would be completely out of the loop for days and desperately trying to hear the drama from the weekend. This reminded how much I love college in that NO ONE CARES!!! If I don’t go to a frat party it is not the end of the world. College reminded me that there is no such thing as popularity and it doesn’t matter if every kid knows who I am or that I know what’s going on in everyone else’s lives. I love meeting new people and creating new friendships, but I don’t need to be a part of every single aspect of their lives to feel like I am included. I thank college for that.

The next thing that stuck out to me is that family is so so so important. Though, it may seem annoying that my family constantly asks me how school is, who I am dating, if I have job etc, in the end it is only because they genuinely care. We are their babies and they only want the best for us. I am so beyond thankful for the most amazing family there is. I can’t wait for winter break with you guys!!! Giving me freedom and space at college allowed me to realize how much I need you guys in my life. I thank college for that.

The last thing that stuck out to me was how easy it was falling back into routine at home. It was weird driving my car again, but after a few minutes, I remembered how much I loved driving. I quickly remembered where my family kept each and every little thing around the house. I remembered how nice it was not using communal bathroom wearing shoes and carrying a caddy each time I shower.  And it was especially easy to get use to always having yummy food around the house instead of eating dining hall food. After over a week of my old routine I felt like I had never left home, but it was time to say goodbye. This reminded me that though I may not live at home 12/12 months of the year, coming home is my safe place and nothing is going to change that. I thank college for that.

When the time had finally come, I didn’t want to leave so quickly; however, once I got back to Iowa City I saw the most beautiful sunset and my best friend who lives right the down the hall from me came into my room and gave me the biggest hug. We ordered in food and gossiped all about our weeks at home. After that, our other two best friends joined us and we continued to talk and plan our spring break. Later that night my roommate and I redid our entire room and unlofted our beds. And that night was when I knew Iowa was for me. Although I had fallen back into routine at home, this was my new home and my “routine” here makes me the happiest girl in the world. And, I thank college for that indeed.

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!