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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

Today, I would like to talk about changes. This semester has brought a lot of changes in my life, and I have had mixed feelings about them. The way I figure it, the best way to cope with something is to talk about it, so that is what I’m going to do. Read the rest of this entry

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My Inner Social Outcast

Every major has an array of classes that may sometimes really interest certain students, but bore others. As a psychology major, I tend to enjoy classes that discuss interaction and emotions more than I enjoy research. This semester, one of the most interesting classes I am taking is social psychology. I find the study of social influence, attitudes, and human interaction to be incredibly engaging, because it plays such a large part in my everyday life. Last week, one topic we discussed in class really hit home and I have been thinking about it since: Every person on this earth has probably, at one point or another, felt alone, or like a social outcast.

I have definitely felt like an outcast at certain points in my life, and I am sure most people can relate. When my professor asked if anyone felt alone in anything, there was an immediate rise of hands and many people gave their personal examples of how they felt alone within their social group. My personal example of feeling alone relates to being the only girl in my sorority that feels ready for marriage. As I have previously written in College and Dating: Love Advice From the (Not-So) Love Guru, my boyfriend and I have been together for four years. Because we have been together for so long and I care about him so much, I often express to my Kappa sisters how much I would like to get married in the next couple of years. Yet, my sisters and the general public often do not understand this want, because in the average 20-year-old woman’s mind, this is the time to be free, single, and have a good time. While I try to understand this sentiment, it is a hard one for me to imagine and not an appealing option. While my sisters support me, the general public can be less than supportive. I have had people tell me that I’m too young, that I need to explore my options, and even that I can’t know real love because Jared has always been my only love. In this way, being a committed woman, as a junior in college, has oftentimes made me feel alone and a bit of an outcast.

Sharing my story made me feel better in class, and soon I realized that every person had something that they felt alone in. Others felt alone because they didn’t have a steady relationship, because of their religion, and many other reasons. After thinking all week about this subject, I came to a really nice conclusion, and Cathy Bates helped me along.

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“The thing to remember is, if we’re all alone, then we’re all together in that, too.”
~Quote from my favorite movie, P.S. I Love You

If we’re all alone, then we’re together in that, too. This may sound cliché, but I feel that embracing the parts of me that don’t necessarily fit in with my group of friends is what makes me unique. If I was like everyone else, then I would not be Ashley. I would not be any different than the average. Somehow, it seems that there is a give and take with this concept. In order to be a unique individual, I must also accept that I will not necessarily always fit in. This is sometimes very hard for me. I’m the girl that wears her heart on the inside of her jacket, waiting for someone to ask how I feel so that I can tell them. In this way, what people say to me often affects me way more than it should. At this time in my life, I have found myself in a constant battle between caring too much, but not putting myself out there at the same time. With this new idea, that being different is probably some of the best parts of myself, I am hoping to become a more well-rounded Ashley.

Alyssa and I performed "The Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars at last week's lip syncing contest!

Alyssa and I performed “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars at last week’s lip syncing contest!

LMU has helped me in many ways to embrace my social outcast thus far. As odd as it may sound, pledging a sorority was probably one of the most daring, atypical acts I have done in college. Looking back, I would do well to model the young pledge I was two years ago. Being a psychology major, I have learned so much about people, emotions, and myself that my head is always filled with the interaction that is going on around me. I commonly find myself not focusing on what people do, but why they do it. I believe this has actually helped me to become a more mindful, compassionate person. Lastly, college life in general has continuously challenged me to put myself out there. I recently participated in a lip syncing contest with my Kappa sister Alyssa, and even though we did not win, we both agreed that it was something we would not have previously done and were the better for it. College is such an amazing time to get an education, make friends, and find you. My advice: Embrace your social outcast.

Please comment your own stories or leave some feedback for this post !

‘Tis the Season

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!

Fall at LMU is the prettiest time of year!

Fall at LMU is the prettiest time of year!

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.

The Kappa House- Halloween style!

The Kappa House- Halloween style!

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.

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My Kappa sister, Katie, decorating our tiny Christmas tree!

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.

I decorated our the Kappa's announcement board. (I'm very proud of myself).

I decorated our the Kappa’s announcement board. (I’m very proud of myself).

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!