My Story: Part III - Year 4

by Lavender Elizabeth, March 13, 2016

To read the beginning of Part III, click here:

Part III: Year 4

Throughout spring quarter and the summertime, the four of us worked really hard to put our friendship with Marie back together. It took baby steps, but by the time fall quarter of our fourth year began, we were all the best of friends again. The time apart somehow strengthened our friendship and I am so thrilled by the bond we’ve created.

My quarter started out so strong! Recruitment for Chi Omega was a different experience than I had been used to. Clara, Marie, and Izzy were Recruitment Counselors, so had to disaffiliate from our chapter until bid day, and Emma was Recruitment Chair for our chapter. Without the company of my best friends, I was pushed to get to know my chapter. As a way to make it through each day of recruitment, including Bid Day, I did half days. It was the best decision, because for the first time, I experienced all of recruitment. It was a stressful week for our chapter, but ultimately, we recruited a great class and I had a blast through it all!

Over the summer, Clara, Emma, and our fifth roommate stayed in Davis, while I returned home to San Jose. Throughout that summer, Emma and Roommate #5 butted heads. When we first moved in, they were the best of friends, but by the end of the summer, weren’t even speaking. I walked into a very stressful situation when I returned in September and the quarter really didn’t improve. I never had any issues with #5, but was guilty by association in her mind. Because we were all best friends with Emma, she assumed that we all felt the same way, and therefore, treated us the same. By the end of the quarter, I had finally snapped. It was nothing big, but all of the small things added together that did me in.

Then, in October, Emma, Clara, and I all received personnel meetings for Chi Omega due to conduct. Apparently #5 had complained to enough people that it meant we needed to discuss the situation. I was the last of the three of us to have my meeting, and unlike theirs, it went smoothly. It was a moment that I knew going into Human Resources was the right career path for me. Despite being accused of bullying someone, which was not the case, I remained calm. I gave an exact timeline of everything that occurred over the past couple months, and at the end of it, the personnel advisor thanked me for speaking so calmly and eloquently. That meeting was my final straw with #5. Since it was seen as bullying, the personnel board had to tell nationals because it was considered hazing. #5 was already an alumnae of Chi Omega, so we were really confused how this was the case. It could have been really serious. The personnel advisor asked me to reach out to her and try to smooth things over. Clara and I met her for coffee so that we were outside of our apartment and talked about how we would spend the last month of our lease together. She informed us that it wasn’t really us, but still she had no desire to be friends with any of the roommates, and trust me, the feeling was mutual. The rest of the quarter was spent in a tense environment. Knowing that she had accused us of acts that never happened (thankfully the personnel board believed that, sicne all three of us told the same story) was something we couldn’t get past. I hadn’t experienced that kind of drama sine junior high and it was not something I ever wanted to experience. At the end of the quarter, #5 officially graduated and moved out. Clara and I decided to take the high road and bought her flowers and a cake for graduation.

In January, we had a new roommate: Clara’s Big, Megan. Having Megan move in changed our dynamic completely. Clara and Megan were glued to each other’s hips, even before she moved in, and it continued that way. We felt very distanced from Clara at that point and like she no longer valued our friendship in the same way she valued Megan’s. In February, we all took a trip to Lake Tahoe to celebrate my birthday. The two of them weren’t as social with the rest of us, and it was really confusing. When we got back, Clara confided in me that her and Megan were actually dating and in love. It wasn’t that big of a surprise for me, because they had always seemed a little too close for just friends, but it was still a big change. She finally told our other roommates in April. Keeping that to myself for so long was hard, but I knew it wasn’t my news to share. Once everyone knew, we had to adjust to living with a couple, which wasn’t easy. It wasn’t something we signed up for and therefore, was hard to navigate. Before the news was shared, we had all decided to live together the following year. Once everyone knew, it was hard knowing we had another year of couple-dom.

In April, my dad found out that he was officially be transferred to the Chicago office of his company. For the past four years, my dad had been living in a multitude of places. He was in Napa for two years, then Florida for six months, and then split his time between southern Ontario and Chicago. For those four years, my parents did a long-distance marriage, with my dad coming home on weekends every week or two. When they found out they were relocated, they were really excited at the prospect of living together again. When Bethany found out it was near Chicagoland, she made the decision to transfer universities. For the first two years, she was in the honors program at Sacramento State, only 30 minutes from my school. Finding out she wanted to move with my parents was really hard. I knew I would be taking a full fifth year, so wouldn’t be joining them - a first for our family.

In August, they moved. Saying goodbye to my house in San Jose was incredibly difficult. That house meant the world to me, despite only living there full time for four years. Never has a house felt like such a home. There, I saw friends turn into sisters and brothers, I found Jesus, I experienced love, and I became the truest version of myself. This house was the backdrop for all of those moments, a second home for my friends and the gathering place over the years. Seeing that era end was sad for everyone.

I had to head back to school a couple of days before my family officially left. Driving away knowing that I wouldn’t be going back to the house was really sad. I cried a lot during that drive. I prayed that God would protect me and help me live in a different state than my family. When I was about 30 minutes from school, I saw the most gorgeous sunset. I've always equated sunsets with God's beauty and love, and that night, God reminded me of His promise to never leave me. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

Seeing as this was our fourth year in school, most of my friends were graduating. I knew that I would be taking a fifth year to finish my double major, so it was a scary time knowing they could all be leaving. I decided that despite not graduating with them, I couldn't pass up experiencing the typical senior year activities. I went on the senior bar crawl with them, took graduation photos, and enjoyed the senior brunch. Although it wasn't my celebration, I was so lucky to experience everything with them. They're memories that I'm so happy with!

To read about my fifth year, the year I truly experienced college for the first time, click here: My Story: Part III continued.
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