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Alumnae Blog

Posted On: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 09:00 AM, by Hilary Holmes Cessna
Hilary Cessna
Gamma deuteron/
Ohio Wesleyan
When I was initiated as a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, I thought I understood what being "Theta for a Lifetime" meant. Over time, I slowly gained more insight into the community and support that Theta could provide as it revealed itself to me throughout my college experience. However, it wasn't until years after I joined Theta that I understood what I was really gaining by becoming a member of this vibrant organization.

As I walked across the stage at my undergraduate graduation and looked into the audience, I saw my fellow graduating sisters sitting there with their gold stoles over their black graduation gowns. These gold stoles symbolized that they were my sisters—Thetas—and that because we were wearing these gowns and stoles, we were saying goodbye. Not only were we saying goodbye to four great years of instant and easy gatherings, late-night conversations, and formals, but as far as we knew, we were also saying goodbye to our time creating Theta memories.

At the time, I didn't realize how I was only saying goodbye to my undergraduate experience and hello to an entirely new, dynamic, and vibrant Theta experience. I had no idea how much Theta had to offer until I stepped outside my comfort zone and began to truly embrace the phrase "Theta for a Lifetime."

What "Theta for a Lifetime" means is different for every person. For some, it may mean attending an alumnae event or Founders Day, serving as an advisor, calling a fellow sister on her birthday, donating to Theta Foundation, or attending yearly Theta reunions. For others, it may mean being a part of an alumnae chapter, serving as a district officer, or looking at updates of Theta sisters on Facebook or in the Theta magazine. While I understand that not every community is filled with Theta members or has an alumnae chapter, I am now blessed with opportunities to engage in my Theta community in a variety of ways, whether it is through social media, the website, the Fraternity book club (Reading Women), the Theta magazine, or attending Grand Convention, to name a few.

I challenge everyone reading this blog to do one thing this summer outside their comfort zone in the Theta world. This may mean engaging in the Fraternity book club, meeting a new sister at Convention, reconnecting with a long-lost sister over Facebook or email, or attending an alumnae chapter meeting or event. While these occasions may easily be pushed aside on your busy summer calendar, you are a part of a unique community and have a special opportunity, if you are willing to take it. The world is full of harsh events, unkind people, and unexpected challenges. However, we are a part of a community that embodies sisterhood, hope, community, scholarship, perseverance, and most of all love. Why wouldn't we want to be active and engaged members in this vibrant and empowering group of women?

As I look back on my college graduation day, I never would have imagined that the steps I took across that stage were leading me to even more Theta friendships. After graduating, I met Thetas from all over North America, some of whom became my best friends. My Theta reunions today consist of these people, who I hadn't even met or imagined meeting during my undergraduate experience. During the years after graduation, I met my husband through Theta, and our wedding party included three Thetas and three FIJIs, whom we both met after graduation. I look back at my Theta wedding photo and I am amazed by the women standing beside me. These women are a mix of my undergraduate and post-graduate Theta experience. On top of it all, not only are these women some of my closest friends, but they are also sisters and had an instant connection at my wedding. I am so thankful that I stepped outside my comfort zone after graduation, and did not let my Theta experience be limited to my undergraduate experience.

This summer, I challenge you to step outside of your current Theta comfort zone and meet someone new. After you do this, I encourage you to write about it on Facebook or tell another Theta friend. I am also joining the challenge and will post about my new Theta experience this summer on Facebook. Together we can encourage more of our sisters to become active Thetas for a lifetime by taking the first step ourselves. You never know, the next Theta you meet may be the first one beside you at your next big life event, too! I dare you to open yourself up to that possibility—you have nothing to lose.

I would love to hear if you decide to take the challenge. Please e-mail me any stories and pictures you have to share:, or add a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Hilary Holmes Cessna, Gamma deuteron/Ohio Wesleyan, is a member of the Fraternity's young alumnae board and Concord Alumnae Chapter. She is also a Life Loyal member.

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