Erica Sullivan

All Things Change, and Theta Changed Everything

They always tell you entering the real world can be difficult and scary at times. But what they don’t tell you is how hard the actual graduating and leaving behind the memories and friendships you’ve made can be.

I think back to my first semester at Belmont, when I found myself lost and overwhelmed in a sea of musicians and southern accents. So lost in fact, that I almost left Belmont for good. In my last attempt to stay in Nashville, I tried to find myself in one of the sororities already on campus; instead I found myself as a charter member of the Eta Phi chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta.

That decision changed everything.

I always imagined I would join a sorority in college, but I never could have predicted the impact Theta and my sisters would have on my life. From the day I celebrated bid day, sitting at tables with women I had never met or even seen before, I found myself growing to love the life I had in Nashville. My days became filled with dance parties in the dorm rooms, laughing until we cried and always having someone who wanted to see me do bigger, better things.

While I and the other charter members were making fun memories and trying to figure out how to establish ourselves on campus, we somehow created the strongest band of sisters I have ever seen. I watched a group of girls who questioned their decision to join a sorority grow into a group of powerful and brilliant women, who stand united while remaining unique.

When I think about the individual women we have welcomed into this sisterhood over the years, I am honored to have ever gotten to stand alongside them. Leaving this era of my life behind is scary, but more than anything, I feel so lucky to have something that makes saying goodbye so impossibly difficult.

And besides, this isn’t really the end.

As the last of us charter members graduated, we got to watch the chapter grow in its own way. It feels a lot like I imagine sending a kid to college does, finally releasing something so important to you into the world to fend on its own.

At the end of the day, I realize change is and always will be a part of life. This sisterhood changed me by allowing me to grow as a leader, a sister and a woman. The chapter itself has changed, too, as all good things do. Graduation is just another step of change for Eta Phi and for us seniors.

To my sisters who still have time left as a college Theta woman: Please do not take this time for granted because it flies by faster than you ever expect. I am jealous of the years you have left. These women will support you, challenge you, grow you, and most of all love you. Take pride in being a part of this courageous, intelligent, and beautiful group of women.

To my fellow graduates: Thank you for being the first people who made Nashville my home. Thank you for fighting for this chapter and for seeing something in this sisterhood, allowing it to become a home for not only us, but for the rest of the women who will run towards Theta on bid days to come. I can’t wait to watch each of you bring your talents and kind hearts to the world outside of Belmont, and I look forward to days when we come back home and laugh about stories of these past four years.

What an honor it has been to not only be a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, but to have had a hand in creating something everlasting. Thank you for the best four years, Eta Phi.