When I opened my bid card in August of 2016, I had no way of knowing how much Theta and the women of the Alpha Mu Chapter would mean to me over the course of the next three years. Coming from a small town in rural Missouri, I had a hard time feeling fully comfortable at college. During my first semester, I frequently questioned whether I had made the right choice for my major, my career goals, even my university. One thing I never questioned was my decision to join Theta. As a newly initiated member, I was inspired by the women of Alpha Mu and their academic successes, extraordinary campus involvement, deep-rooted passions and care for others. They are the ones who pushed me to grow beyond what I thought my limit was.
In my daily life, I strive to be a leading woman. I’m acutely aware that everything I do eventually reflects back on Theta, but I wouldn’t want it any other way because being a Theta is integral to the woman I am today. During my time at the University of Missouri, I’ve been in positions where I’ve had to disaffiliate from Theta. Though I didn’t wear my letters on campus during those times, I like to think people could still tell I was a Theta because of my conduct. To me, “Leading Women” isn’t just a tagline. It’s a modus operandi. It means pushing yourself beyond what is comfortable or easy. It’s taking on leadership roles not for the title but because you truly believe in the mission of an organization, and you want to give back. Being a leading woman means embracing the noble ideals of our Fraternity wholeheartedly.
Reflecting on my time as a Theta, I’m able to see how the glimmers of potential I had in 2016 have grown and flourished in the time since. Through various leadership roles in Alpha Mu, I was able to gain confidence, refine my views on leadership, and develop skills applicable to so many other ventures. Though I’m involved in other organizations and have held other leadership roles on campus, I truly don’t think those things would have happened if I were not a Theta. The women of Alpha Mu helped make Mizzou my home. They provided the security I craved as an anxious freshman. They encouraged me to apply for competitive organizations and jobs. They always celebrate my successes and remind me of my strength and power during periods of struggle.
For me, Theta isn’t just an organization. It’s my support system, my motivation, and my anchor in the craziness of life.
This blog is part of a series of posts from Theta Foundation’s most recent Founders Memorial Scholarship recipients. The Founders Memorial Scholarships are awarded to four outstanding junior applicants every year. These scholarships are Theta Foundation’s most prestigious awards, valued at $12,000 each. The recipients are purposefully matched to a specific founder based on their shared qualities.
Caroline received the 2019 Hannah Fitch Shaw Founders Memorial Scholarship as a result of her commitment to growing and improving her chapter through processes that she created and implemented. We encourage members who plan to pursue undergraduate or graduate study during the upcoming academic year to apply for Theta Foundation scholarships! The 2020 Scholarship Application is now available.