Last Friday I was initiated into Theta Phi Alpha!! This is when you go from being a new member to a fully fledged sister of the fraternity. It’s so special to know that I am a part of something, even when I go back home. This group of girls have been like my American family – picking me up from airports, taking me shopping and just looking out for me in general. Joining a sorority is probably the best thing I’ve done while in America. It’s given me an experience that I could never have in Australia, and a large group of friends to always stay in contact with. I’ve also learnt a lot about the American culture and that movies and the news do not always depict exactly what happens!
On Saturday morning I went to 360, which is when potential new students visit the campus for a day and learn about accommodation, catering and organisations they can join. It’s basically an a campus preview day. There were a lot of nervous looking high school students with overly eager parents – reminded me of when I went to open days at home. I was at the Theta Phi Alpha table, but also stopped by the Highland Cavalier table as well.
On Saturday one of the fraternities on campus, Pi Kappa Phi had their formal, Rose Ball. I got invited to go and had a great time. The formal was held at The Inn at Wise and everyone loved dressing up for the occasion. The night had a great buffet (in comparison to the cafeteria!) and speeches and awards. I learnt a lot about the impact that alumnae have in Pi Kap and how their brotherhood continues after finishing college.
On Tuesday in my Public Speaking class we had a group of potential students from a local high school come and listen to our speeches about why they should come to college, particularly UVa-Wise. Of course, once I started talking they all just listened to my accent and thought it was pretty cool (I still can’t hear it!). On Thursday I presented a persuasive speech on ‘Why student exchange should be a part of every college degree’. I accompanied it with photos of everywhere I have been in America, which prompted many questions about my favourite places I’ve been.
In the Highland Cavalier this week I wrote a short list about the things I’ve learnt while I’ve been living in the South, particularly in Wise. I’ve enjoyed volunteer writing for the student newspaper, as it’s given me something ‘communication-ish’ to do, seeing as most of my courses here are business subjects. I never think that writing about Australia and my travels is news, but everyone always wants to know things about them, so I’m glad I can teach a lot of people about Australia and the beauties of America!
Yesterday, Friday, I made ANZAC biscuits with my Big and taught everyone what ANZAC Day was. We had a bit of a hard time finding all the right ingredients. Turns out that golden syrup is not popular in America and neither is desiccated coconut! We substituted these for a mixture of molasses and maple syrup and shredded coconut. It seemed to work out okay. I watched the dawn services in Sydney and Canberra via the Sunrise live stream and it was so nice to still participate in ANZAC Day, even though I’m halfway around the world.
Today is White Rose, which is my sorority’s formal. Next week is our last week of classes, before a week of finals/exams and then I have a month left before heading back to Oz!