“What is the Helenes?” my relatives ask. “Why is my mom’s name all over your Facebook wall?” asked my friend, who, coincidentally, has a mother named Helene. “Is the Helenes a sorority?” ask my friends back home. I love that people are curious, but in all honesty, it’s really hard for words to do justice to what the Helenes means to me.
Of course, the Helenes is rooted in sisterhood, service, and spirit; but beyond that, what is the Helenes? That’s a big question I’ve been discovering slowly throughout my Rosebud semester. It has only been a few weeks so far, but to me, Helenes feels very much like a warm hug; I don’t think that ever changes.
As a freshman coming from across the country, from a high school class of 74, I scrambled to find any small community that would have me; I feared getting lost within the vastness of the 19,000 students at USC. I didn’t find that community my first 2 years—and in a way, it was a blessing in disguise. Yes, I felt pretty lost, but in my underclassmen years I learned how to function independently—a lesson that is so very important to learn as a young adult.
Come Junior year, I realized a pattern—wherever I was, generally, the people I made an instant connection with just so happened to be in the Helenes. Every Helene I would casually talk would turn into someone I wanted to get to know better. They constantly gave me new perspectives, and inspired me through their passion for helping others. Talk about friend crushes 😁.
I met them all in the most unpredictable of ways—a hiking trip, a medical brigade, playing Quidditch, at a research lab, through neighbors. When this kept happening, I realized that it couldn’t be a coincidence—it had to be a sign. With a lot of support from my Helenes friends, I applied—and here I am. I can confidently say that it has been a complete game changer for me. Joining the Helenes has helped my turbulent underclassmen years fade into more adjusted Junior year. You know what they say—April showers bring May flowers (possibly in the form of roses?)
I feel so blessed (and not in a cliché way, no, not #blessed—truly blessed) to be a part of the Helenes community. The Helenes fills me up—with love, with incredible female role models, with joy. Each and every day I find myself discovering more and more that the women of Helenes are beautiful in every sense of the word.
To me, one of the best parts unique to being a Rosebud has been having a community of “older sisters”. As the oldest child of my family, I never got to be the younger sister. As a new Rosebud, I feel like I have so many veteran Helenes who act like older sisters—they are always willing to give me advice, to cheer me up, to hang out. I won’t lie, it’s fun to be the younger sibling for once! This sentiment is perpetuated by the big/little relationship you create once you become a Helene. My big is my kindred spirit—a curly-haired, comedy loving New Yorker who also had a stint playing Quidditch (c’mon, how many of us are there on this campus?!)
I could go on for pages and pages, but I’ll stop here. I’m so excited to begin my journey as a Helene—to challenge myself, to expand my world view, to integrate myself into a network of inspiring women.
To all the Helenes out there—thank you for being your wonderful selves, and I can’t wait to get to know you better ☺.