“Helenes has the power to transform lives in the best way imaginable.” That was the statement at the end of my acceptance email. At the time when I read it, I was thrilled, excited, and ready. But despite my enthusiasm, I really had no idea just how much weight and truth that statement held.
Flash forward three semesters later, and I frequently am brought to tears when I let myself think about how much this organization has done for me, how much it really has transformed me and my life for the better, and how eternally grateful I am to be a part of such a powerful, supportive, and inspiring group of women. In many ways I find it impossible to truly express my gratitude for Helenes (maybe that’s why I end up letting my tears speak for me), but in honor of Thanksgiving approaching I will do my best to list just some of the reasons why I am thankful for Helenes.
Helenes is a family and home. Helenes not only gave me a community at USC and a sense of belonging for the first time in my life, it gave me a tremendous support system to turn to and rely on. Whether by sharing the highs and lows of your week during Roses & Thorns, or simply walking into a room of smiling faces and positivity every week at Wednesday meeting, you always find so many Helenes who will listen to you, care about you, hug you, tell you they love you, and encourage you to push through and fight on.
Helenes gave me a sense of purpose. I joined Helenes at the beginning of my sophomore year. During my first year at USC, I struggled to find something to strive for. I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue, what I wanted to major in, and no idea what I was striving for. I was lost, confused, and wandering around aimlessly. With Helenes, I was given a purpose - to serve my school and the surrounding LA community, to be there for other Helenes, and to strive to make this world a better place in any small or big way possible.
Helenes believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. During recruitment, I remember thinking “there is no way I will stand out amongst all these accomplished individuals, why would they pick me?” But Helenes saw something in me when I thought I was invisible with not much to offer. And throughout the course of these past 3 semesters they have helped me begin to see what I previously couldn’t.
Helenes inspire me and give me courage. Helenes is a group of diverse and incredibly accomplished women. Being around them and hearing about all that they do inspires you to do more and makes you think if they can do that, so can I. I credit Helenes with giving me the self-confidence to change my major to Computer Science, when previously I had the mindset that I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have any prior experience and it would be too hard. They gave me the courage to go for something that scared me and had faith in me that I could do it.
Helenes love. To me, Helenes represents love in every single sense of the word. This organization is so much more than service, spirit, and sisterhood. It’s joy, laughter, empowerment, support, trust, selflessness, understanding, respect, and every other word that is associated with love. Every week when you walk into Wednesday meeting, you really do feel like you are coming home. We have a saying that “Helenes find it when you need it most.” When I first heard it I thought it was something cheesy they said to make prospectives feel better. But after experiencing Helenes love and all that it has done for me, I now whole-heartedly believe it is true. Helenes love is magical. It’s unconditional. And to be in its presence is something I will forever be grateful for.