My Story: Part III - Year 5

by Lavender Elizabeth, March 19, 2016

To read the beginning of Part III, click here:

Part III: Year 5
My last year at UC Davis was amazing!

My final recruitment for Chi Omega set the precedent for the remainder of the year. For the first time, I was 100% without my friends during pre-recruitment and recruitment. Three of my closest friends had graduated, and Emma was a Recruitment Counselor, so therefore, was disaffiliated; it was just me. What a blessing that was! I bonded with sisters that I hadn’t previously connected with and truly felt the love of my chapter all over again. At the end of pre-recruitment, we all sat in a circle and passed a candle around, giving each of us a chance to share what we learned or experienced during the previous week. It’s one of my favorite memories from my sorority, as we were all so in love with Chi Omega and so open about sharing that love. This was also the first time I had made it through all of recruitment with full days. It was a huge accomplishment for me and something I was very proud of.

My fall quarter was also my last quarter being a part of the New Member team. I was a member of the Sisterhood Support Team, which meant that I mentored the new members and helped them find their place in Chi Omega. My group of girls joined just after recruitment with snap-bids (a very fast process of joining). There were just three of them, so we all bonded really quickly. I am incredibly grateful for the friendships that I made that quarter, as they continued into my final quarters of active sisterhood.

For the first time since being an active member of Chi Omega, I finally go to experience it. I was involved with the new members, held a position as social media chair, was in charge of a day of recruitment, and had sisters turn into friends. It was a time that I had been waiting for since starting at UC Davis. My fifth year was where everything finally fell into place. It was the year that I finally experienced college and everything it had to offer.

In January, I decided to officially launch a wedding planning business, Dear Wedding Day. I had always loved weddings and event planning, and had started a blog the year prior showcasing my love for the two. It hit me in January that it was something I could see myself doing in the future, so decided to create an official business. I started posting on my blog regularly and even helped with an engagement shoot. It’s a love that continued to grow and something I am still so passionate about. (If you want to learn more about Dear Wedding Day, click here.)

Although I was loving Davis and everything I was experiencing, I was really missing my family. I was used to going home at least twice a month and now had to plan and fly to see them, hopefully once every 5 weeks. It was a big adjustment for all of us having me so far away. In December, we went on our annual trip abroad, this year going on a River Cruise on the Rhine. We spent 10 days in Europe, visiting Switzerland, Germany, France, and Amsterdam. I think it was at some point during that trip that I realized I didn’t like living so far away from them. We spent so much concentrated time together and I loved every second of it.

Deciding to move was a terrifying decision for me and something I wasn’t expecting. I initially had no intention on following my family to Illinois. I loved California, and particularly loved my friends there. I always just assumed I would stay put and build my life in the Bay Area. God thought differently. There was one day where I just said out loud that I was going to live with my sister next year. It wasn’t something I had even fully processed, but there it was, out of my mouth, the decision to move. God had to be behind this decision because it wasn’t something I planned or even thought I wanted. I had been pulling away from God at this point in my life because I wasn’t surrounded by fellow Christians. I wasn’t making God a priority, but He had a plan to bring me back to Him (you can read more about this tomorrow when I give you my current update).

At the beginning of June, I graduated. Walking across that stage is one of my proudest moments. I often think that if someone else had experienced all of the health issues I had in the past five years, they probably wouldn’t have stayed in school. I not only persevered and stayed in school, but I graduated with a double major. I worked my butt off to finish my last year strong and it paid off – I received my highest GPAs during that last year. Unfortunately, I don’t officially have my degrees yet, as I found out when declaring my double major that is a foreign language requirement. I am currently enrolled in my 2nd of 3 French classes, so come August, I will officially have a Bachelor of Science in Managerial Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Studies.

In February, one of my girls from my SST group named Shruti posted on Facebook about a study abroad trip to Paris. Studying abroad had always been something I wanted to do, as I loved to travel and experience new cultures, but my health stopped me from living out this dream. Then this opportunity was presented. I read about the program online and decided it was the perfect fit for me. I applied that day and found out the next month that I would officially be studying Fashion and Marketing in Paris for four weeks. Living in Paris for a month was incredible. Shruti and I tried our hardest to do and see as much as we could while we were there. We went on as many field trips as we could, tried different cafes, and truly saw Paris for what it had to offer. I was so thankful to have her on the trip! We each gave the other a person to lean on and learn with, which is something I will never take for granted. By the end of the trip, we had our own little group of four that we travelled around with, while also having adventures with others in the group. Of course, there were definitely some hardships that came along with our time there, but overall It was a truly magical experience. I’ve found myself longing for Paris these past couple of weeks, wanting to sit outside at a cafĂ© with my coffee and croissant, just enjoying the culture and its views.

In September, after finishing my final class at UC Davis, I moved. My mom flew out to help me get everything together, and then the two of us drove from California to Illinois. We had so much fun! I planned everything out, including where we would stop and for how long, which made the drive easier. It gave us set points for the amount of driving we had to accomplish, while also allowing us to see the different states we were passing through. Seeing God’s creativity up close was surreal. We visited so many new places, each of which had its own charm and landscapes. It was a trip that I’ll forever cherish with my mom.

To learn about how my faith is doing now and how these last six months of living in Illinois have been treating me, click here: My Story: Part IV.
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