Here's How I Know Anything is Possible
Approaching the campus, I couldn't help but have butterflies in my stomach. Had it really been five years? It felt like just yesterday and it felt like a decade ago. In fact it had been a decade ago that my feet first stepped onto the brick pathways and gasped at the beauty of the tree-lined streets. I thought my nerves were on edge the first time; now I felt like my stomach was about to drop to my feet.
Nick and I approached the house and he squeezed my hand. "You ready for this?" he asked. I didn't know what to say. In the back of my mind I tried to brush it off. Nobody will know who I am. It's not that serious. Then we walked into the backyard and in just five minutes I realized that I was wrong about everything. I realized anything is possible.
College had not been a happy time for me mostly because I was spoiled by my high school experience. By my sophomore year I was having many late night phone calls with my mom and my best friend from home, tears streaming down my face, because girls who I thought were my friends were excluding me once again. They stopped answering my text messages and didn't want to go to the dining hall with me. I racked my brain for something I'd done to make this happen but I couldn't find anything and I still don't know what I did.
Do you know how much I wanted to go home? I made a list of fifteen, FIFTEEN, other colleges I wanted to transfer to. I wasn't happy and I wanted out. But my parents stopped me and asked me to seriously consider everything before I made my decision. The college itself was great, the tuition was low for an out-of-state student, there were many programs I was interested in. Did I have to give that up because of some mean girls?
Now, walking into that backyard, I was seeing again the one thing that made me stay: the fraternity I founded on a cold January day. Frustrated and lonely, save for one amazing girl who became my best friend at college, I did what people thought was impossible: created a women-focused organization with Greek letters that would become a support network for other women (and some men) that want to experience real connections.
I didn't have much of a plan. I didn't think about longevity. I only knew that in order to stay where I was, in order to have the experience I wanted, I was going to have to be the change. I could have done any number of things but I started a fraternity even though I was told over and over again "Our school doesn't do Greek life."
Building an organization was the single most trans-formative experience in my college career and has shaped how I see and experience the world. There were a million roadblocks and it was hard. But when I returned to my college campus two weeks ago to attend an alumni event for my fraternity, one hundred and sixty eager girls embraced me and told me how much the organization meant to them. I was greeted with hugs and stories of how it brought together best friends, motivated women to become leaders, helped them overcome their own mean girls to make true friendships. That's how I know now that anything is possible.
You really can do anything. Anything is possible if you want it badly enough. But where to start?
- Find like-minded people. It would have been hard to create the organization I did without a support network. My biggest fan became a girl I barely knew at the time but then became my best friend as we sat and talked about our common feelings of loneliness and the way other women treated each other. Without her support, I doubt all my plans would have come to fruition.
- Don't take "no" for an answer- find a way around it. My first plan had been for a sorority, meaning that I wanted only women to be admitted into the organization. Due to the university's inclusion policy, I was immediately shot down. Not wanting to give it up, I decided it was more important to create the organization than to exclude men. Men can join, they just have to hear about and support a sisterhood and women in leadership roles. Which furthers my mission anyway!
- Get used to "haters". My dream was that, as soon as it was up and running, the fraternity would be my buffer against all negativity. It actually incurred more. The popular opinion at my school was that Greek life was bad. When I became the poster child for Greek life support, people I didn't even know walked up to me and let me know that what I was doing was wrong. There were people who I could tell were talking about me as I sat in the lecture halls. It was hard but I knew deep down that what I was doing was right. It was right for me and it would be right for other people like me and I wasn't going to give up. So, as the great Taylor Swift says, haters gonna hate, just shake it off.
- Feel it in every part of your being. Anything is possible but you really have to want it to make it so. Nobody will believe you if you're only 90% sure of your vision. It's got to be 110% or no amount of begging, pleading, or marketing will get them to follow you into the unknown.
Whatever big plans you have, don't wait to start them. You can do anything; it's all possible. And in case you're not convinced yet, I'll leave you with my all-time favorite quote and the thought that got me through everything.
"Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so." - Belva Davis
Tell me: do you have any big dreams in the works? If I can help, let me know!