Senior Year So Far

I can't believe I'm writing this post about my senior year of college.  I can't believe I'm already a month into this year, and I graduate in eight months.  I tend to be a planner and person who frequently looks toward the future.  How could I not be at this stage of my life?  I have to figure out some sort of plan for after I graduate, even if it's pretty vague.  However, I also want to do my best to soak up every moment I have left while in school, because I know I'll miss it once I'm gone.  It's been a pretty busy start, so I'll try to catch everybody up on what I've been up to so far.

I came back to school and was immediately swept into the whirlwind known as sorority recruitment.  I actually really enjoy recruitment, even though it is exhausting in every sense of the word.  It's so important to make sure you gain a pledge class full of girls you can be proud of and trust to carry on the legacy you're leaving.  We used the week before recruitment to hold our annual recruitment retreat in our house.  It's always nice to catch up with everybody you haven't seen over the summer and spend time remembering why Phi Mu is so special to us.

Picture of all of us taken during retreat

  This year, I felt extra involved in recruitment, and it was so rewarding.  Each round except for preference lasts two days.  The second round was philanthropy round, so of course I had to be very involved in that.  Crazy story though - (Sorry for any gory details) The afternoon before philanthropy round, I unexpectedly had to have a minor surgical procedure performed during which I had an abscess removed.  It was a painful procedure, and the doctor inserted a wick into the spot afterward, so it would keep draining.  Having the wick was very painful and made it hard to move around at all.  I couldn't move without the wick poking and prodding me, and walking was especially painful.  Because I hurt pretty much every time I moved, my sisters all came together to set up the house for philanthropy round.  I was so moved to see the way the girls all scurried about asking me what I wanted done and doing it for me.  It was just the cherry on top of a week full of Phi Mu love realizing that's how we are.  We all come together even if just one sister is affected.  Philanthropy round went very well, and the room looked great.  My roommate, Lauren, made adorable hot air balloon centerpieces, and we had a giant hot air balloon made out of red and yellow balloons, since those are Children's Miracle Network's colors.

 Seniors on philanthropy round

With the best philanthropy assistant I could ask for, Allie.

The next round was skit round, and I had a very small part as the announcer.  Our skit's theme was E!'s Live from the Pink Carpet Special, and if you know me at all, you know I'm all about some E!, so I loved it.  And yes, we had a pink carpet running through the house, which I adored.  It was fun to just be involved and get to know some of the girls in the skit better.  Skit round is always the most fun and gives the girls going through recruitment an opportunity to see our silly side.

 Skit girls
Seniors being weird per usual

The last round is preference round, and it's a serious round during which we share with girls what Phi Mu means to us and what it's done for us.  Three girls give their testimonies each round to the entire room, and I was asked to give mine.  Our testimony speakers are a secret, so nobody knows who is giving a testimony until you stand up.  I was asked over the summer, and it was so hard to keep it from everybody, but it definitely made the moment more special.  It took me a while to craft what I wanted to say, because there are honestly no words that can do justice to how I feel, but I did my best.  It's also a hard thing to completely open up to a room full of girls you don't know and may never see again, but it's important for them to know what's on our hearts.  I went into greater detail, but here is the gist of what I shared.  I focused on the fact that I didn't join Phi Mu until my sophomore year.  I explained how alone and lost I felt my freshman year and the fact that Phi Mu completely changed that.  I found a place where I felt accepted and cared about.  The girls inspired me, encouraged me and loved me for who I was.  I felt like they put me back on track with my life and gave me back not only who I used to be, but who I was supposed to become.  Because of them, I've gained confidence I never had and taken opportunities I wouldn't have without their support.  I explained what has been the most difficult issue I've had to walk through in college.  It's an issue that involved a lot of ups and downs, and a lot of people didn't want to deal with that roller coaster.  However, my sisters did ride that with me.  They also knew that a lot of times I didn't need advice or opinions; I just needed people to walk with me and be there, and that's what they did.  I explained why I feel a special connection to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and how personally touched I feel any time I'm doing something for CMNH or East Tennessee Children's Hospital as philanthropy chair.  As you mature through college, you will have a lot of good and bad experiences that just come with the territory.  My sisters have been through that with me - dealing with the hard times but also encouraging me as I deal with grownup issues, like figuring out what I want to do in life and going through applications and interviews.  I concluded by revealing that my sisters are a huge reason I'm as ambitious and motivated as I am.  Because of them, I know I'm going somewhere.

Seniors after pref round

Bid Day is the day everybody waits for.  It's when all the girls going through recruitment get their bids and join their new sisters to celebrate.  All the sororities gather at our basketball arena, Thompson Boling, and the new members receive their bids and run to their new chapters.  We had trolleys waiting for the girls to take them to our house.

Obsessed with this quatrefoil.


 Adorable chalkboard quatrefoil with the names of the Phis (new members)

Last bid day picture for seniors

 It's a tradition for seniors to jump in the fountains at Worlds Fair Park, but it was packed that day, so we jumped into the pool of my apartment complex!

Aside from being busy with Phi Mu, I'm also the president of my school's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) this year, and I'm loving it.  The other officers are great, and being so involved makes me even more excited to start my career.  I'll be traveling to Philadelphia in October for the PRSSA National Conference, where I'll meet professionals and PRSSA students from all over the country.  I can't wait for what I know will be a great learning experience.

Most of the officers after our first meeting

With Jordan, the vice president.  I also call this girl my best friend in my major.  We've stuck together and helped each other out for a while now.  She's a true inspiration both professionally and personally, and I can't wait to see all the things she accomplishes.  I really don't know what I'd do without her to help me through school and internships, as well as personal matters.  It's crazy how alike we are.

I've also enjoyed our first two football games...

Oh, and I was on and the Jumbotron multiple times this game.  Thank you, third row seats.

And the most recent thing?  Our annual first date party, Mad Plaid, which was a blast.
With my little, Anna.  Isn't she adorable?!

Love Caitlin!

I can't wait to see what the rest of the year holds!


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