From the North to the South: A ZETA is born

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Have you ever moved 1,300 miles away from home, leaving your family, best friends, high school memories and more clothes than you wanted to leave back home in your closet? Did you ever dream bigger than yourself with sole intentions of wanting to make it big somewhere far away, somewhere where the sun shines more than half the year, and somewhere where dreams can come true if you believe they can? Hi, my name is Samantha Smitley, I’m from New Jersey and I’ll be your personal tour guide on my recruitment and new member experience during my freshman year at Louisiana State University. 

First and foremost, rushing at LSU was such an eye-opening experience for me. I had absolutely no idea that rushing included dressing in your cutest clothes, running from house to house in high-heels and using coffee filters to blot your face in the heat. I had no clue that choosing what you liked and disliked about each sorority after you visited would be so difficult - I loved Zeta’s philanthropy and service, but I also loved another house’s bathroom shower curtains (they had monograms on them, how could I not?) However, in the midst of feeling confused, overwhelmed and seeking peace and answers, there was one sorority that stood out to me the most. 

During each round of recruitment at LSU, I had spoken to so many women about so many different things, but what I found to be always present for me was that every woman I talked to at Zeta Tau Alpha had the same interests as me, shared the same morals and experiences as I did, and made me feel more welcomed and wanted than I ever had by a group of ladies so charming and classy. This was home for me, and I knew it in my heart. 

The night before preference round, I prayed a prayer that God would bring me where He wanted me to go most-- where He believed I would thrive and could be myself. 

On Bid Day, when I closed my eyes shut and held my hands out for my card, I couldn’t wait to turn it over, excited with nerves. I was so thankful I was given the opportunity to rush in the first place, with an amazing Gamma Chi who helped me throughout the entire week and parents who gave me the confidence to know that I could grow anywhere I was planted. 

I turned my card over, and, “Zeta Tau Alpha” was written! I screamed, and a huge door was opened up for all the other girls and I to run through toward their new sisters. I was hugged and handed blue lipstick to put on, and started a day I would never forget. 

My freshman year with Zeta could not have made me a better person than who I am today. I met fabulous and selfless sisters whose love could not have overfilled into my life any more than it did. My big sister, shout out to Haley, was the New Member Coordinator my first semester, and she helped me with my classes, meeting new people within Zeta, and so much more. Joining a sorority like Zeta Tau Alpha blessed me with the confidence to find people who I could rely and depend on, while also finding the sisters I could go to crazy late-night movies with and do blindfolded makeovers on. 

My advice to any out of state or in state, nervous, shy, or indecisive girl who does not know if she should take a leap of faith and rush at Louisiana State University, is to do it. The one thing that sticks with every day of my life is to try for the things that seem unreachable, unapproachable, impossible because what if those things become reachable, approachable, and possible through you? 

You never know unless you try, and I am so happy I did at LSU. 

Some of the girls from my new member class at our New Member Retreat!

Some of the girls from my new member class at our New Member Retreat!

Delta Kappa