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Feeling at Home with Helenes!

Hello friends!! I’m Audrey Burba, Family Chair and Spring ‘20 rosebud! This is a story all about how I joined Helenes and my path to get there! I had the perfect vision of what my life would look like: graduate high school, get accepted and attend USC, secure a wonderful job before graduation, and continue on my perfect life path. Step 1 and 2, check! Step 3 is where the rocks got slippery. I had been admitted to USC (yay!!), but as a spring admit. This is where the first hurdle occurred. It was not the perfect idea I had set in my head, but I had been accepted to my dream university and it was time to make the world my oyster.

Fast forward to the middle of my first semester at USC. It was sometime in January, rain pouring down outside, and my shoes were soaked from the mile walk to campus. I was crying in my closet in Annenberg House on the phone to my parents, saying I could not succeed at USC. I was failing my calculus class, I had made zero friends, and had fallen into a monotonous routine. I walked a mile to campus everyday to go to class for 6 hours, then immediately came back to my apartment and did homework for a couple hours, and I ended every night eating instant ramen or takis for dinner. I had fallen into a rut that I was not happy in. This continued until my sophomore year at USC. By then, I had forced myself to branch out and become a Student Ambassador and Tour Guide, get more involved with clubs like Marshall Outreach Volunteer Entrepreneurs, and apply to be an RA. I was forcing myself to fit into the university mold and make myself better, so I could get the imposter syndrome out of my head. I was conditioning myself to be the model student, so I felt like I fit in and could succeed at USC.

At this point in the semester, I was working in the Admission Center and Adrika had told me about Helenes and what a great environment they had created for their members. She mentioned that this is where she made some of her best friends, so why couldn't I? I decided I needed a home on campus that was going to build me up and not make me feel awful for not keeping up with all the other students at USC. I needed an environment that would comfort me and reassure me in my times of need. It was the final push when I saw Evie, my art history GE bestie, had joined e-board and I had recognized her friendly face at the info session. This is when I decided I would try and apply. If people like Adrika and Evie were in Helenes, I knew this was the place to be.

Fast forward again, I had passed the Helenes test (after studying in my organizational business class right before the test, sorry not sorry) and next up was the Helenes interview. This is where I met Ava, who hyped me up, made me laugh, and made me feel so relaxed. It felt like that was where I was meant to be at that moment in time. Welcome Week and all the rosebud events were a blur, but I remember the feeling I had every meeting, rosebud rendezvous, and service event: pure acceptance and content. I could freely say I was having a bad day, struggling in classes, etc. and I was not judged.

Helenes has seen and accepted me at my worst. They loved me for my flaws and who I was. They didn’t love me for my achievements at USC, or how many clubs I was involved with, or my GPA, but they loved me for my attitude and personality. On top of acceptance, Helenes has introduced me to the most supportive, loving, inclusive, and kind humans I have ever met. Whether it be those in my family, my rosebud class, or the 100 friends I made within the first second of walking into my first Wednesday meeting. Helenes is a place where it is okay to not be okay. A place where you are wanted, loved, and accepted. It is the home that you didn't know you needed. It is where I finally came out of my shell and embraced me for who I am, flaws and all.

Helenes Love and All of Mine,

Audrey Burba


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