In some of my previous posts, specifically My Major Passion: Psychology Meets Gerontology, I mentioned that my true passion is Gerontology, or the study of aging. Every semester I take a different directed study class in order to receive my Minor Certificate in Gerontology, and this semester I took a Psychology of Aging class. As part of the requirements for the class, I was instructed to plan out, and execute, at least five group therapy sessions with an older adult population. I chose to do a guided autobiography group, and instructed participants from the local senior center. In a guided autobiography group, the participants revisit and write about different aspects and time periods of their life, with the goal of coming to terms with negative past experiences in mind. To protect confidentiality of the participants, I will not mention names or places, but I would like to share the life lessons that I have learned from the amazing members of my group.
Just calm down, and take one day at a time.
Let me start off by saying that I was incredibly nervous to run this group on my own. Even though the psychology program does allow me to practice running group therapy, the last time I did so was over a year ago, and it had been in the comforting setting of other cooperative classmates. The idea of going out into the real world, with real people and real feelings, terrified me. Yet the members of my group were incredibly supportive. Time after time, when I felt like I needed to be in total control and have everything planned out, the members managed to express the need for me to slow down. They taught me how to smile and laugh at life, because from the perspective of a 60-year-old, that’s about all you can do. Looking back at the past will not change it, and stressing out about the future will hurt more than help. This is something that is especially helpful to remember as we all approach finals. When I find myself getting overwhelmed with my upcoming exams, it helps to remind myself that preparing is all I can do, and the rest will come as it will. Read the rest of this entry
My most favorite time of the year stretches from around Halloween until New Years’ Day. This is really for two reasons. First, there is so much going on, both in the community and at LMU in particular, that there are plenty of ways to get out with friends and enjoy myself. Second, there is also a lot of opportunities this time of year to give back and participate in community service, which is a really big part of my life. Being in a sorority, I get to experience plenty of both!
During Halloween, there were plenty of things to see and experience. The Kappas love to decorate for the holidays, and this year has been no different. About two weeks before Halloween, I came back and Munson House had been transformed! With paper mice lining the staircase, spider web thrown all around the walls, and the front porch decorated to the nines, I finally began to feel the Halloween spirit. That weekend, I traveled to Knoxville and went through my first-ever corn maze. I went with my boyfriend and about eight of his guy friends, and it was quite the experience. After about two and a half hours, and splitting into three different groups, we finally all made it out! All I could do at that point was laugh and thank my blessings that I had convinced Jared not to take me to a haunted corn maze. Somehow, I couldn’t see myself going through two hours of terror and frustration.
Next on my agenda for Halloween was to volunteer at the Gamma Haunted Forest. Since the Gammas are the Kappas’ brothers, and they always help us out with our big fundraisers, we try to make it a point to help out as much as we can with the Haunted Forest. Being able to help our brothers out is a great way for us to build our brother-sister relationships, and also help out in the community, because a portion of the proceeds goes to Clairfield Elementary School in northern Claiborne County. While we were helping out at the forest for the week leading up to Halloween, the Kappas were also preparing for our first-ever Halloween Carnival!
Every year for Thanksgiving, the Kappas make sure to put together a Thanksgiving dinner basket to feed a family in the area that is having trouble. This year, we really wanted to be able to feed more than one family, and so the first ever Kappa Halloween Carnival was born! In order to play the games we had set up (such as Boo Bowling, Fear Factor, a Cake Walk, Blood Darts, and many others), that participants could either donate canned goods or pay money for tickets. We planned on having the carnival in the field beside the museum at the front of campus, in hopes that the exposure from the road would bring in people who had not seen our fliers. After much preparation, Halloween day came, and the weather threw us a curve ball. It rained throughout the day, so our Carnival was officially moved to Tex Turner Arena, along with all of the other Halloween festivities that were going on around campus, like Trunk or Treat and Halloween Havoc. Looking back, I think that moving to Tex Turner was actually a great thing for the Carnival, because there were hundreds of people that came to Tex Turner to enjoy all of the festivities. All and all, the carnival went off wonderfully, and the Kappas are going to be able to feed ten families this year!
Now that Halloween is over, it is time to focus on Thanksgiving and Christmas. In addition to feeding families in the area Thanksgiving dinner, the Kappas and the Gammas also get together to eat our own Thanksgiving dinner before school lets out for break. Getting everyone together, and eating a home-cooked meal helps put into perspective how blessed I am to have so much friendship and support at LMU.
Now, some people feel that Christmas should not be thought about before Thanksgiving has passed, but the majority of the Kappas are not those people. We unashamedly decorated the house for Christmas just this week, with the idea that we really only get to spend a week or two after Thanksgiving on campus, and we should enjoy the cheer now. During Christmas, I am honestly one of those people who love to give presents more than getting presents. Last year, I knit my entire family, and quite a few of my Kappa sisters, hats and scarves. This year, due to time constraints, I have learned how to can food, and I plan on giving everyone homemade strawberry jam, apple butter, or pumpkin butter.
Besides having our own events such as Secret Santa, the Kappas also sponsor an Angel Tree child every Christmas, in hopes that we can make someone’s Christmas a little better. I personally know that many families are going through hard times this year, and I was just telling my dad that Christmas is not about how many presents you get, but about being with family. That’s what I love about the holidays at LMU. Even when I am away from home, I get to spend these couple of months with my LMU family, sharing in laughs, food, and giving to others.
Feel free to comment, like, or share! If you would like to help with any of these community service projects, or have ideas for more the Kappas can do in the future, feel free to let me know!
Every year LMU you holds a campus-wide celebration to commemorate lasting traditions, new developments, and the students of past and present. Rightly named Homecoming, each year alumni from all around travel back to LMU to participate in events held over the three days’ time. This year’s Homecoming, held from October 10th-12th, was the most memorable and fulfilling Homecoming that I have experienced since coming to LMU, and that’s probably because I was so busy!
Being part of the sorority Kappa Pi Omega has so many perks and rewards, and the unique experience of Homecoming is one of them. My Homecoming experience actually began about two weeks before the actual celebration, when I decided to represent the Kappas and run for Homecoming Queen. My running partner would be my Gamma brother Chuck Sharrett . I have always been outgoing, but not in the Homecoming Queen sort of way. Even though I know a lot of people, and feel confident that I am well-liked, the idea of running terrified and excited me at the same time. I have always wanted to do something like this, but had never given myself the chance. So I decided to put myself out there in the best kind of way! The weekend before Homecoming, flyers were hung, business cards saying “Vote For Chuck and Ashley” were handed out, and I had given out candy at lunch time in an effort to meet new people and attain new votes. Now, all I could do was hope that the student population had acknowledged my efforts.
The next thing on my Homecoming agenda was the Homecoming Dance on Wednesday night. In the time that I have attended LMU, this was the first time the school had held a dance for Homecoming, and I was very excited. Thanks to the new development of the Student Activities Board, the dance had been put together for the first time. So, the other Kappa Ladies and I got all spiffed up and made our way to the quad to see if this would be a night to remember. Surprisingly, it was one of the best times I’ve had at an LMU formal so far! The tent that was used for many Homecoming events was decorated simply, we danced on grass after kicking our heels off, and everyone was in high spirits. After spending two hours dancing to the music played by the really great DJ from LMU’s own Sigmon Communications Center, it was time to head home and prepare for the next day’s events.
Thursday is usually one of my easy days, but during Homecoming a sorority girl doesn’t rest. Because I was running for Homecoming Queen, I got to enjoy sitting on the Homecoming Court float in the parade. While I was waving and throwing candy beside Chuck, my sisters were performing in our very own Hunger Games float. To match the Homecoming theme of “Blazing Trails,” we thought “The Girl on Fire” would be a great twist. I was so proud of my sisters, especially our Secretary Cierra Chambliss for planning the whole thing, because our float was spectacular! Our float was designed like the chariot scene in The Hunger Games, with our Katniss and Peeta riding. On the sides the remaining Kappas were all dressed in Capitol wear and shouting things like “Girl On Fire.” We were all very happy to tie for 3rd place in the float contest.
Friday brought classes and tests, but what I looked forward to all day was the Kappa/Gamma Reunion that occurred that night. One of the best parts about Homecoming for anyone that participates in Greek Life is getting to visit with all of the alumni that came before you. While I am of course biased, I believe that Kappa alumni are some of the funniest, most gracious ladies on this earth. Every year they bring a lot of laughs and great memories to us when they get to visit. After a few hours of food, music, and stories from the last 50 years, we bid goodbye until tomorrow.
Saturday brought the last day of Homecoming and my busiest day yet! That morning I woke up at 8 a.m. to go interview a very nice elderly woman for a class project. Once I made it back to campus, I prepared for the day by curling my hair and putting on a nice dress, because my day was fun-filled, but formal. Once I was ready, I headed up to the Quad and had the BBQ lunch that was provided. There I ran into more of the Kappa alumnae, and after lunch I was more than happy to take some pictures of them around the Quad. Simply seeing how happy they were to be together for Homecoming made me both happy and sad for the future. While I am sure that I will come back for Homecoming when I am an alumna, leaving college and my sisters will be a bittersweet thing. The fact that my junior year has crept up on me has shown me how fast my college experiencing is flying by, and I’m not sure I’m ready to be an alumna any time soon. After lunch, it was time for the All-Sorority Tea. Every year, the three sororities on campus gather at the President’s House with their respective alumnae to enjoy delicious treats, tea, and fond memories. For the actives, the tea is the time to enjoy the alumae and learn about the history and traditions that have carried on in the sorority. For the pledges, the tea is a way for them to learn that sisterhood is more than the here and now, but encompasses many traditions and an extensive history. After plenty of pictures and laughs alike, it was time to leave the tea and head to the LMU Men’s Soccer game where the Homecoming King and Queen would be announced.
As I walked on to the soccer field, counting my blessings that Chuck would not let me fall, I was incredibly nervous to hear the news. As the commentator announced that Christine Hickman had won Homecoming Queen, I felt so many conflicting emotions. On one hand, I was happy for Christine. On the other, I was disappointed that I had not won. Yet, in the end I decided to be proud of myself for putting myself out there and representing my sorority to the best of my ability.
My Homecoming experience was a crazy, wonderful adventure. Some people may wonder why I put myself through so much, combined with homework and classes. The truth is, I love the traditions that LMU celebrates during Homecoming, especially those of my sorority. From the decoration of the campus, to the packed schedule of activities, to the new memories that are made between alumni and current students, Homecoming is for sure one of my favorite times of the year.
Feel free to leave a comment and tell me how your Homecoming adventure played out!
When you read articles on college survival, or what it’s like to be a college student, you will probably receive all sorts of information and advice on classes, your major, how to deal with roommates, and so on. Yet one aspect of college that no one really talks about, but is a major aspect in a 20-something-year-old’s life, is dating. Dating in college is talked about constantly among peers, and you will probably hear about every type of relationship, breakup, and makeup before you leave with your degree. With all of the drama that can surround a college student’s love life, things can seem a little disheartening. While I don’t personally believe in happily-ever-after, I do believe in lasting, fulfilling, and love-filled relationships. I would like to share with you guys my own personal love-filled adventure.