When I was in your shoes three years ago, our rosebud class had the opportunity to sit down with the senior Helenes. I, an excited and impressionable freshman, was mesmerized by how accomplished and inspiring each girl was. They imparted some wisdom on me that I took to heart and will now write to you. Fair warning that most of the following advice is unoriginal and taken from incredible Helenes before me like Carolyn Windler, Lizzie Jones, Rashelle Nagata, and Meaghin Riske. These wonderful Helenes and my rosebud self are all pictured in the photo above.
First off, try everything. When it comes to Helenes, go to every type of event at least once. Don’t be afraid to go to something even if no one you know is signed up (something I was guilty of doing). I can honestly say that I have gotten something out of every single event I have attended. When it comes to college in general, the same rule applies. Do you love the movie Dirty Dancing? Take a ballroom class taught by Jay Fuentes, the best professor you will ever have, who was in Dirty Dancing. Who knows? You may love it so much you end up president of the salsa team (True story!). Have you always wanted to sail? Go take the sailing class and sail to Catalina like many Helenes have done. If it sounds cool try it, regardless of whether it fits in with your major or your career plans. You will learn more and grow because of it, even if you don’t end up liking it.
Second, once you find things you like, really commit to them. In the words of Ron Swanson and my big, Meggie Howell, “Don’t half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.” (Pardon my language). While in your case, one thing is probably more like two or three things, make a commitment to what you really like. Did you love talking to the super cool high schoolers in Junior Helenes/Knights? Go to their meetings every week and really form a connection with them. Become a Jr. Helenes mentor and help your mentee navigate the maze of emotions that are bound to come from being in high school. Did you love being a buddy at Kicks for Kids? Go to every event and spend a semester convincing Nikita, one of KFK’s most well-known buddies, that you’re cool (She has high standards). Eventually she’ll friend request you on Facebook and you’ll know you have succeeded. The same applies for college in general. Is there a club that you love? Join the E-Board to give back and gain a deeper connection to the organization. Do you love working out and eating healthy? Be like Hima and start a fitness blog, teach spin classes, and create events that allow Helenes to take better care of themselves. Do you love a class or professor? Reach out to your professor and find out how to be more involved in the topic.
Third, and most importantly, focus on the friendships in your life. You will be inspired by every Helene you meet, and every Helene will be inspired by you. Talk to everyone you can. If you’re at an event, introduce yourself to a Helene you don’t know. If you have a friend crush on a Helene, reach out to them and make lunch plans (I promise it will make their day!). College is the only time where so many amazing people will live within walking distance of you, so take advantage of it! Don’t say no to an opportunity to meet someone new or help a friend who needs it. When you’re graduating, you won’t remember the grade you got on a test or the hours you spent studying alone, you will remember that time that you and Kylie spent 12 straight hours in Leavey Library, studying, talking about your lives, and bonding over your stress. Or the time that something bad happened to you and Shayna Cooperman made you pasta and hugged you while you cried. Or the time you explored San Francisco with your beautiful little, Raina. Or that time you strutted down the streets of Barcelona with Shreya Tanna and Meaghin Riske while you were abroad. Talk to Helenes, be inspired by them, and be good to them because odds are Helenes will be some of your biggest cheerleaders, future roommates, and maybe the bridesmaids at your wedding. You will be amazed by how strong the Helenes bond is and how it will shape you (in such a great way) for the rest of your life.
Rosebud semester is such a special and overwhelmingly positive semester. Helenes will make your heart grow bigger than you ever thought it could. Follow my advice and you will be just fine.