My Story: Part III - Year 2

by Lavender Elizabeth, March 08, 2016
If you missed the first installment of Part III, see it here. Read Part I here and Part II here.

Part III: Year 2

My second year of university started out with my first formal recruitment season for Chi Omega. We had an intense work week where we prepared for our four days of recruiting and then a week spent engaging with potential new sisters. It was a lot of fun, but also really hard. The days were really long on my body, and my stomach just couldn’t handle it. I was able to participate in the first day, but after that, had to stay home. I was incredibly bummed to be missing out on the opportunity to meet new women, as well as bond with my current sisters. Thankfully, I was able to attend our bid day celebration at the end of the week. What made that day even better was that my best friend, Emma, received a bid from Chi Omega. Now, out of the six of us, four were a part of the sorority (sadly Alaa had dropped during freshmen year). It was my first bid day experience and I had so much fun!

I also moved into my first apartment that year. I remember feeling so grown up picking out the furniture for my new home. I lived with Marie, Clara, and Izzy, and Alaa and Emma lived with two others girls across from us. I shared a room with Clara, which was amazing. We coordinated our comforters and picked out beds together. Sharing a room with her was one of the best decisions I made, and we continued to share a room for two more years. Living with my friends was an overall great experience, but we definitely went through some struggles. For some reason, three of us were having a really hard time living with the fourth, despite being best friends. We learned fairly quickly that some friends just aren’t meant to live together, and when we were going to renew our lease, we had to tell that friend we couldn’t live with her the next year. That was one of the hardest decisions we had to make, but in the long run, benefited all four of our friendships immensely. The remainder of our lease was stressful; we all had a really hard. time Unbeknownst to us, she was going through a really difficult time, which made the situation harder. She eventually confided in us about the struggles she was experiencing, which helped us understand everything so much clearer. That year, we all became so much closer to one another, through the struggles, happy moments, and first time truly living without our parents.

Fall quarter was sadly, very similar to my first fall quarter. I was doing really well and then about halfway through the quarter, became really sick again. I was back to missing class almost exclusively, falling more behind each day. I was retaking the calculus class I had failed the year prior, along with taking more engineering-based classes. I failed calculus for the second time and my GPA fell below a 2.0, putting me on academic probation. When I first received the letter about being put on probation, I cried a lot. I thought they were going to kick me out of university. I met with my academic advisor and the dean of my program, and explained my case. Thankfully, they were sympathetic and helped me through it, without having me take time away from school.

Over winter break, my family began our tradition of traveling each Christmas. We travelled back to Mexico, the first foreign place we’d ever gone as a family. What an amazing time we had. It had been a very stressful quarter and spending a week in sunshine with my family was exactly what I needed. I’m so lucky to have such a close relationship with both my parents and sister. We spent as much time as we could just the four of us on this vacation, touring around and having new adventures. God made sure to bless us with quality time together despite me being away at school and my sister finishing her senior year of high school.

In the new year, I started seeing a new doctor, this time a neuro-gastroenterologist who specialized in gastroparesis. The doctor who developed the test for the illness was head of that office, so I knew I was in good hands. She decided to run another test just to be sure, and it came back positive, giving me a true diagnosis. We discussed options, but had a hard time coming up with the right choice. The medication usually used for gastroparesis had a side effect of face malformation, particularly in women 18-24. At this point, I was right in the middle of that age group and didn’t want to risk it. My doctor suggested another drug, that although not FDA-approved in the US, was approved in Canada. Because I’m Canadian, I was able to take this medication. Once I had the prescription, I started taking the pill 30 minutes before I ate, and it was amazing how much it helped.

Much like the previous year, my thyroid levels were all over the place. I would be on a medication dose that seemed to be working and then a couple weeks later, would throw off my entire system. Dr. B had heard about a different type of treatment, so went to a conference in southern California to meet with the doctor who prescribed it. The person’s case sounded similar enough to mine that Dr. B decided it was a good course of action for me to try. I started taking what we deemed the “mega dose” that May. Rather than taking my medication each day, I would take the full weeks’ dose on Saturday. The theory behind it was that because I metabolized my medication differently than most, this would allow my body to pull what it needed throughout the week. It took a couple of years to get the dosage perfect, along with my body to utilize it consistently, but ultimately, it would be my saving grace.

I finally passed calculus with a B+ that winter quarter, so moved on to the next course in the spring. I failed that class, too. It was then that I realized I might need to readjust my ambitions. My parents were always very supportive when it came to school, never pushing me to change my major or take an easier route. Failing a calculus class for a third time finally made me evaluate my major choice. I had switched my major from biomedical to biomechanical engineering at the beginning of my second year, and was about to change it once again. I finally realized that it wasn’t just calculus, but that I wasn’t enjoying the actual program, either. I loved the idea of engineering, but finally understood that it wasn’t for me. Thankfully, I have two very different sets of skills: 1) my logical, analytical side, and 2) my interpersonal and conflict management side. I started looking into different majors and when I told my parents that I wanted to pursue Human Resources, they both lit up and thought it sounded like the perfect fit for me. I wasn’t able to change my major right away, as I hadn’t taken the prerequisite courses, but I started taking classes to pursue a double major in managerial economics and organizational studies the beginning of my third year. It was the best decision I made for my future while attending UC Davis.

In the spring, Chi Omega participated in recruitment again, and Clara surprised us all by attending an event. We had been trying for months to get her to consider joining, but she was being stubborn. She eventually realized that she wasn’t joining not because she didn’t want to, but because she didn’t want to feel like she was only joining because her friends were a part of the organization. She told me the night before that she wanted to rush, and I was so excited! She already knew so many members of our sorority, and we knew she would be a perfect fit. Giving her a bid was the final piece to the puzzle. We were all sisters in Chi Omega after that night, which was the best feeling in the world.

That summer, Marie decided she couldn’t live with us the next year. Emma happened to be staying at my house the day we received her message, but Clara was studying abroad in Ireland at the time. Somehow we all managed to Skype each other about the situation and eventually got Marie on the phone to explain herself, as we didn’t think her Facebook message was good enough. Our friendship with Marie really took a hit that summer. We felt abandoned, hurt, and ultimately felt like Marie didn’t know us at all. The aftermath of her announcement was one of the most stressful times in my life. The three of us (Clara, Emma, and I) didn’t want to live with a stranger, but couldn’t afford to live in the apartment with just the three of us. In Davis, people sign leases in January, February at the latest. It was July. As it happened, one of the people Alaa was supposed to live with that year also bailed, so we started talking to her leasing office about switching her 2-bedroom apartment to a three-bedroom, while simultaneously looking for people to fill our lease. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to so many people about apartments in such a short period of time. By August, we had secured our lease at a new apartment complex and handed our lease over to new tenants. We moved in in September and the next week began pre-recruitment for the second time.

Throughout that year, I was able to see my friends from each stage of life. I saw my high school friends during each school break: Thanksgiving, winter, spring break, and summer. I was even able to make a trip down to Southern California to see Caitlin, Keiko, and Shannon. It was a wonderful year for my friendships. We experienced new adventures and continued to grow up together.

To read about my next year of university, click here: My Story: Part III continued.
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