Where I’ve Been, Where I Am, Where I Want to Be

“I don’t know where I’m going, but I sure know where I’ve been

Hangin’ on the promises and the songs of yesterday

But I’ve made up my mind, I ain’t wasting no more time…”

Okay, enough with the Whitesnake reference. I just couldn’t help it — it was the first thing that popped into my head when I thought of the title for this post!

So, I haven’t written in a while.

I’ve written plenty of essays and research papers so far this semester, of course, but I haven’t really connected with my inner writer in a very long time…I think she disappeared somewhere. Poems once flowed from my brain to the page in steady little streams and I was inspired every time I walked outside, even if it was just on my way to class. I would sit in bed at night and craft groups of words into something that made me tingle, something I was proud of. I don’t know where that creative ease went or how to find it, but I need it desperately right now. Without it, my essence feels incomplete.

Where have I been? Who am I? School kind of engulfed me and I don’t really know anymore. I was so consumed by the stress of assignments and managing my schedule that I was running on empty every day. It felt like the world was out of focus.

But now the semester is over and I have a few days to finally relax (I forgot how to do that) and do the things I enjoy before I take my finals. The promise of summer in one week has me feeling a bit like my old self again! I hope my creative spark comes back with the free time and warm weather.

This summer I’m embarking on an adventure that I have such a positive feeling about! I think it will push me out of my comfort zone and help me grow in ways I can’t even imagine. It’s also been a lifelong (okay, half-lifelong) dream of mine to travel to this place, and now that the details are all confirmed I keep entertaining visions of what it will be like to live and intern there for two months! I CANNOT WAIT!!!

So to sum it all up: this year went by in a blur but I am starting to feel grounded in reality again. Blog posts will be back regularly (hopefully) as soon as I’m done with junior year. I love my family and friends dearly for supporting me on my upcoming journey. I’m super excited about life and all the opportunities that await!

“Here I go again on my own…”

Stay free! xo

—- Morgan

P.S. West Coast, I hope you’re ready for me…

 

 

Taking a Deep Breath

I am officially done with the fall semester of my junior year of college. Winter break is here at last! It feels so good to say that.

I can breathe again for the first time in months, and while I am grateful for the relief I am also saddened by its rarity.

I throw myself into my college workload and operate at full speed basically every day of the week, always attending meetings or completing papers (I had six final papers due over a two week time span — how is that even allowed?!) without taking time for myself. In a school environment where you’re surrounded by students who are constantly competing to see who has the best grades, who has the greatest internships, who is the most caffeinated, and who sacrifices the most hours of sleep to stay up and do homework, it’s easy to get swept up in the pressure. About halfway through every semester I reach the point where I am overcome with guilt for taking a break from my work to call a friend, read a book, or relax for just one moment. The education system shouldn’t make me and every other student out there feel this way.

But that’s a subject for another time.

Now, after a lovely holiday season surrounded by family and loved ones, it feels like I have nothing but time on my hands. I can teach myself how to truly appreciate “boredom” and get back into the hobbies and interests that made me happy when I was able to indulge in them — yoga, meditation, reading, discovering new music, writing, going for long walks (weather permitting), and thinking about the world. I can pause and refresh before the madness of a new semester, which seems ages away right now. I can finally take a deep breath!

With this dreadfully long and difficult year almost over and 2017 just a few days away, I’ve been trying to reflect on the good things that happened in my life in 2016 and the excitement of a fresh perspective. Approaching college graduation and “real” adulthood is scary, but I honestly believe that the future holds so much potential for positive growth for me.

I’m also hoping to do a lot more with this blog in the new year (like secure an actual domain and pretty theme, and post as regularly as my busy collegiate schedule allows) so stay tuned and feel free to leave any suggestions in the comments! I want to know what you want to see this space used for. And to all of my fellow college students out there: I know many of you already sick of being at home and ready to return to school, but try to soak up the last few weeks of break. Spend quality time with your family and close friends. Go to your old hometown haunts or find new ones. Do all of the things you’ve been meaning to do in your free time. Prepare to enter 2017 with a clean heart and good intentions. Live.

Stay free! xo

— Morgan

My First Tattoo!

When my high school peers started getting tattoos, I was completely turned off to the idea. Sure, I thought decorating one’s body with meaningful (or sometimes just cool) artwork was an admirable thing to do, but I could never see myself putting permanent ink on my skin. I mean, come on, I’ve never dyed my hair in my life and I only have double ear piercings…I’m not exactly the textbook definition of “badass teenage girl.”

Well, friends, I have some exciting news for you! I GOT A TATTOO!!! 

Yep, I did it. Two days ago I went to my local tattoo and piercing shop and held back tears as the artist drew the design I wanted onto my right inner wrist. And it was freaking awesome.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t awesome in the moment. Maybe I was too afraid to look at my wrist while the tattoo artist was at work and instead stared at the wall, gripping my boyfriend’s hand so tight that I almost cut off his circulation (because I have a low tolerance for pain and holy hell, did that tattoo pen hurt!). But I am so thrilled with how it turned out!

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I grew more open to the possibility of getting a tattoo (or two or three, we’ll see) when I started my second year of college and met more people who had them. And the best part was that each person lit up every time they told the story of what their design meant to them personally — how it memorialized a loved one who had passed away or signified an internal struggle they had overcome. I began sketching out a few ideas that represented my passions and life values and the many different ways I see beauty in the world. Then my boyfriend gave me a Christmas gift that solidified it for me: he offered to pay for my first tattoo! That’s when I knew I wanted to get it done this summer.

Now here is where I reveal the message behind the ink! After a lot of back and forth, I finally settled on the design in the picture above. It holds a double meaning for me that makes it even more special in my eyes. This symbol appears on the back cover of Florence + the Machine’s 2015 record How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Since the first time I saw it, I was captivated by its simplicity and striking depth. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, Florence Welch’s music has helped me through so many dark, difficult times in the past few years and this album in particular continues to inspire me every day, so getting the symbol tattooed onto my skin felt like the perfect way to honor that. It is a reminder of the healing power of song, the free spirit that is within me, and my own strength. Fun fact — Florence herself has the same tattoo (just upside down from mine) on her finger!

It also has another meaning that I discovered later on when I found this jewelry website, where the author describes the drawing as a connection of the four alchemical elements. The top triangle of my tattoo is the alchemical symbol for air and the bottom represents water. And to everyone else who looks at my wrist, the plain triangle becomes the top one and stands for fire, while the bottom shape is earth. I have always felt connected to air and water, and now I can look at my tattoo and feel all four elements of the earth with even more energy.

I absolutely love the dual symbolism behind this beautiful design and I am so glad that it is now a part of me forever! It’s the perfect size for me and I feel like it was meant to be right there on my wrist. My first tattoo experience was very positive overall and well worth 10 minutes of pain, haha. I have some other ideas in mind but I think I’ll stick with this one for a while…after all, the story on my skin will last a lifetime.

Stay free! xo

— Morgan

 

My Personal Goals for July

Hey, babes!! Can you believe it’s July already? Summer is flying by and I’m not sure how I feel about it…but there is some good to come from the swift passage of time: I have a newfound energy and determination to better myself. Here are 5 life goals I have set for this month!

1. Improve productivity

The job I have at college allows me to work from home and on my own time…it’s basically a teenager’s dream come true and I love it! However, the flexibility can easily lead to laziness of the Netflix kind. So this month I resolve to set a semi-structured”schedule” where I dedicate a few hours a day to getting work done (and give myself a day or two off as well). Once I get the hang of it, sticking to the plan should be simple and I’ll hopefully feel like a more productive person!

2. Develop and stick to a night routine

Ever since the busy high school days of extracurriculars and homework, I’ve been terrible at making this happen. I can’t remember the last time I regularly fell asleep before 11 p.m., and during the stressful college semesters I consider it a blessing if I’m in bed by midnight. I want to get accustomed to a night routine so I’m prepared when I go back to school. Sleeping is already one of my favorite things to do so this goal shouldn’t be too much of a challenge as long as I commit to it! Plus, studies show that teens who get the same amount of sleep….etc. So finding a night routine that works for me is a win-win situation!

3. Plan for the fall semester

I’m moving into my first “big girl apartment” off campus this year, so I need to start furniture and decor shopping ASAP! Thanks to my constant Pinterest planning this task will be a breeze; it’s just a matter of finding pieces that are inexpensive and still quality…but hey, that’s what the Internet and secondhand stores are good for, right? I also need all of your typical college school supplies: textbooks, notebooks, an agenda, and pens. So yeah, the list is pretty intensive. And to top it all off I have my heart set on studying abroad in the spring (I don’t want to share the location yet but it’s one of my dream travel spots), which means I need to start researching and calculating every last dollar and tidbit of information and stay up to date on program application deadlines. Time to get a move on!

4. Read more books

This has been in the back of my mind for quite a while now. Ever since I learned how to read as a child I’ve had a love for books and the amazing wonders contained on their pages. In elementary and middle school I was a library fiend, and I even received school wide recognition for my bookworm habits! But life seems to get increasingly busy and fast-paced as you grow up, and somewhere along the way I swapped reading for staring at a laptop screen for hours on end in my free time. I have a decent sized “book wish list” saved in my phone notes and this month I want to buy as many of the items as I can, and then some! Knowledge and perspective are two of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves as humans living in this world, and I intend to expand upon them.

5. Be grateful for every experience

I am already appreciative of so many moments in my life, big and small, and I hope I always will be. With all of the exciting little events I have coming up in July (and one super exciting trip) I want to make sure I take a few pictures to capture the memories, but more importantly, I need to unplug and focus on making real memories that are genuine and free of interruption. This is an exercise that will help me with my lifelong goal of mindfulness and benefit me here and now. I am blessed to have good health, loving family and friends, and the very joy of existence itself — these things should be recognized and truly felt in my heart every day, and I will try my best to achieve this level of sensory awareness about my surroundings and experiences. As Eliza Schuyler so fittingly put it in Hamilton, “Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now.”

What are your personal goals for the month of July, or for 2016 as a whole? How do you plan to make them happen? Let me know in the comments!

Stay free! xo

— Morgan

Music Monday: Florence + the Machine

Every once in a while a musician comes around who changes your life and the way you go about existing in the world. I’m not quite sure how they do it (it must be magic), but in an instant they open your eyes and revitalize all the parts of you that had been fading away for so long. These special people are a rare few in the music industry, but you know them by the indescribable feeling you get every time you listen to the words they sing. This is my love story with one of these such artists, Florence + the Machine.

“You are flesh and blood, and you deserve to be loved and you deserve what you are given.”

This single line alone is my a-ha! moment from the How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful album. Each time I hear it I feel my skin tingle and my eyes tear up, and I suspect it will resonate with me permanently. I have never before received such a direct message from the Universe, a reminder of my unconditional worth. I deserve to be loved and I deserve what I am given — we all do. That is my first of many favorite things about Florence + the Machine: they draw on the human condition and its universal experiences.

It is surprisingly easy for me to explain what Florence Welch has done for me in the nearly six years that I have been listening to her music. She brings out an effortless confidence in me that courses through my veins like a winding river on a lazy summer day. The sound of her voice is sweet freedom and unabashed power and quiet comfort. Through her music, Florence has become my dear friend. Her records have saved me, enriched me, and carried me through life, and that is awesome to me.

It began with “Drumming Song.” A modern dance class at my studio performed a wild routine to the song during a past recital, and it absolutely stunned me. I was hypnotized by the primitive power and immensity of every beat and I knew I had to look up the song. This led me to the Lungs album and every FATM video that I could find on YouTube. Over the course of my middle school and high school years — trying times for every teenage girl — I always kept Florence close to me so her lyrics could serve as a reminder of the kind, patient, peaceful, mighty presence I wanted to put out into the world. Shortly after my grandmother died, my family went to the beach for a week. There, I did a lot of struggling and grieving, but I was not alone. It was Florence’s albums, the endless ocean, God, and me. That was a transformative time in my life, and I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without my favorite songstress.

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I still cannot listen to “Shake It Out”, though, and that is my only regret. I remember having a moment of breakdown a few years ago while the song was playing and ever since then, something closes up inside when it comes on shuffle. I have to skip it. It breaks my heart that this glorious anthem has suffered from my tendency to deny myself happiness. Maybe one day I’ll be able to dance to it again and heed Florence’s call to let the light in. I hope so.

Still, I want to continue this on a positive note. I am beyond grateful for the things this band has done for me. Every time I glance at Flo’s glorious Instagram account I get a tickle in my throat and a smile on my face because I am reminded of who I want to be: a free spirited faerie girl whose aura projects light, confidence, and independence, but who also remains young at heart. FATM’s lyrics have taught me that it is okay to feel, to really feel all of the emotions on the spectrum of life, because that’s the only way to stay alive. I have learned the importance of a creative mind and an open heart in every situation. I’ve learned to wake up and count my blessings, from loved ones to the simple joy of coexisting with nature. I am much more honest with myself in my journey to let go of the pain that weighs me down. I cannot express all of the bigger and better ways I have grown as a woman, friend, and human being since the day I discovered FATM.

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Florence + the Machine is holding hands with your best friend and skipping along a winding road to “You’ve Got the Love.” It is closing your eyes and feeling goosebumps on your skin as you envision a blazing sacrificial rite during “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up).” It is the internal connection you feel with some strange holiness as you listen to Ceremonials.  It is the messy, truthful narrative of life that is told throughout How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.

So there you have it, folks — the story of my passionate spiritual love affair with Florence Welch. I am planning my first tattoo right now and I’m almost certain that it will be related to the band I love so dearly. I can only hope that one day I get to see the Queen herself perform live in concert, because that will be the day all my dreams come true! Until then, I look forward to dancing down the paths of life with so many beautiful songs in my soul.

Thank you, Florence Welch. Thank you a million times over.

Stay free! xo

— Morgan

P.S. If you ever need to restore some of your faith in humanity, watch this incredible video of Florence singing to a young hospice patient. Grab a box of tissues.

 

Spotify + Summer = Music Bliss

I’m not sure what it is, but every song I listen to sounds sweeter in the summertime.

Music sets the scene for so many precious moments that take place throughout the season, from road trips to beach days and backyard celebrations with sparklers and lemonade. I firmly believe that the perfect playlist can have the power to transform small events into unforgettable memories. And so, naturally, I’ve taken it upon myself to create playlists for almost every occasion and reason you can think of. Not to brag, but I’m kind of a big-shot Spotify connoiseur — at least in my mind, haha!

Anyways, summer is my favorite season and therefore a great excuse for me to go into playlist-making overdrive. There’s just so much good music out there waiting to be heard! For me, this time of year brings out my folksy hippie side so I tend to gravitate towards soft, uplifting tunes that make me want to get up and go on an adventure. I wanted to share some of my Spotify mixes with you all so you can get a better idea of the genres I love and how my personality is shaped by what I listen to. Check out my playlists below!

Summerdays

 

i’m a wanderess

 

Hot Summer Nights…

 

What song, album, or playlist is your summer soundtrack for 2016? Which artists are you loving right now? I’m always looking for new music so feel free to leave some recommendations in the comments 🙂

Stay free! xo

— Morgan

** This post is NOT sponsored by Spotify or any other music-streaming service. All opinions expressed are my own.

My Thoughts on the Insta Obsession

Hello, lovelies! I know, I know, it’s been a while and I’m terrible at keeping this blog up to date, but I’m on summer break now so I hope to write a lot more!

As a journalism major and teenager I am prone to a not-so-slight social media obsession, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. One popular app in particular comes to mind: Instagram.

When I first joined Instagram a few years ago, I just saw it as a cool way to share photos and moments of my life with my friends. Not once did I think of the potential it had to become a digital juggernaut for photography, networking, and even business. If you’re looking for a social medium where it’s possible to gain a sizable following by posting edited photos, the ‘gram is the place to be. In my opinion, the professional and personal opportunities through this app make it the most exciting platform to use right now. How crazy is it that “Instagram model” is a legitimate phrase and that people can go on amazing trips, get connected to a future employer, or spread the message of a movement, all with a few taps on a smartphone? I see more #sponsored and #ad hashtags in people’s posts than I ever thought possible. Technology is a marvel, folks!

But as with most things in life, it’s wisest to take what you see online with a heavy grain of salt, especially when it comes to Instagram. The harm is done when viewers believe that the photos someone posts on their feed are a completely accurate reflection of that person’s life. Let me stress one thing: This is NOT true!!! And in some cases, relying on likes and follower counts for self-validation can have disastrous results.

One example that comes to mind is the very recent, very public case of  Australian teenager Essena O’Neill, who worked her way up the social media fame ladder to become an Instagram star with a following of over 500,000 users. O’Neill once said in a mass email that she had enough money from working with Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and YouTube combined to fund travel excursions and live the ultra-glam, expensive lifestyle many people dream of. She signed with a modelling agency, did photoshoots with different products and brands constantly, and even bought her own apartment in LA, all by age eighteen. Yep, eighteen years old. However, O’Neill quit all forms of social media for good in November 2015 and revealed that the digital world she found herself living in was toxic, materialistic, and rested on “perfectly orchestrated self absorbed judgement.”

Soon after the announcement, she rewrote the captions of nearly all of her 2000+ Instagram photos to show the truth behind her life’s seemingly perfect appearance (before she deleted her account altogether). For instance, one edited shot of O’Neill lifting her shirt to show off a perfectly toned stomach, her hair tousled, now reads: “The only thing that made me feel good that day was this photo. How depressing. Having a toned body is not all we as human beings are capable of.” All the pictures can be viewed on O’Neill’s website BEHIND THE IMAGE, which is the platform she now uses to advocate for safe social media use, healthy self-esteem for girls, and the importance of real life.

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When I first heard about this story I immediately thought, “Well, duh…everyone should know that you can’t take Instagram too seriously. Obviously no one’s life is really what it seems online; that’s common sense!” Then I realized — for a lot of people, it is not common sense. If someone posts a picture of a room filled with plants and incense, it’s easy to believe that they’re a chilled out hippie who is all about good vibes and happiness, even if their life is difficult in reality. Maybe we tailor our digital lives to only include the good things because we want to avoid the barrage of negativity in the world today. I’m not quite sure what the reason is, but whether we like to admit it or not, we all care about the image of ourselves that we put out into the world. We get caught up in Instagram themes, filters, and editing techniques that present our individual lives as an “aesthetic” — Lord forgive me if that doesn’t become the most overused word of 2016 — just the way we want it.

Believe me, I am in no way immune to the digital plague and the way it affects my way of life. I check my photos multiple times a day to see how many likes they have. I’m not going to lie, I do feel a little confidence boost when my counts go up, even though I know it’s not healthy to mix self-esteem with social media. I am just as guilty of spending hours playing around on VSCOCam as the next wanna-be photographer. And I’m not saying there’s anything inherently wrong with this; in fact, I personally think Instagram brings out the inner artist and creator in all of us. It helps us see nature and the world from a different perspective, with a photographer’s eye. Colors, contrast, hues, and saturation are suddenly much more noticeable in our everyday lives. Capturing objects from different angles and getting them to fit inside the small square boundaries challenges us to think out of the box. But it is when we let the digital aspects eclipse the real ones that Instaddiction can become a problem. Heavily edited photos and happy captions are okay as long as you remember that what you’re seeing is only one dimension of a person.

So the next time you’re mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and liking every on picture-perfect moment that pops up on your feed, keep in mind that the best moments in life are often unseen, unedited, and offline.

What is your opinion on Instagram’s growth as a platform for business and sponsored posts? Is Internet fame really worth it? Also, leave your username down below and I’d be happy to follow you! I’m @magicalmorganx on the ‘gram.

Stay free! xo

— Morgan

 

Music Monday: I ♥ Female Folk Singers

I am a huge fan of many different types of music, from R&B to classic rock and pop radio hits. But there is a special place in my heart for what some call the “indie” genre and all of its subcategories. Over the past few years I have broadened my musical horizons and discovered artists that have a distinct folk style, from Bob Dylan to recent John Mayer…then I found some amazing female singers, and I officially fell in love! Here are a few of my favorite ladies in the world of modern folk music.

Joni Mitchell

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For many people, Joni is the first woman to come to mind when we think of 20th century folk music. The effortless emotion and richness of her lilting voice is indescribable, but she uses it to share opinions, thoughts, and stories that settle deep in your soul. I feel the strongest attraction to Blue, perhaps her most iconic album. No matter how many times I listen to it, every song on the record still takes me away to a peaceful journey on a long road to nowhere.

One of my favorite Joni songs is “Woodstock” (from her third album, Ladies of the Canyon) because of the unsettling, dark undertone it carries. I think it perfectly captures the swirling political current of the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, but the lyrics also apply to our human desire to find ourselves and our place in the world. Joni Mitchell is still one of the most celebrated folk artists today, and rightly so.

First Aid Kit

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I was introduced to First Aid Kit through a list of song recommendations that my best friend gave me a while back, but I never expected to become as obsessed with them as I am now! Sisters Johanna and Karla Söderberg formed the group in 2008, and although they are from Sweden, their sweet voices blend together to create some of the most beautiful Americana music I have ever heard. You can hear their style come through on their second album, The Lion’s Roar, and the summer road trip vibes are in full force throughout 2014’s Stay Gold. 

The modern indie folk genre is about more than music, though; the aesthetic and general feel that an artist puts out is equally as important, and these girls have it down. Their merch store is full of apparel with cool graphic designs that are reminiscent of vintage Fleetwood Mac. If I had to describe First Aid Kit in three words? Freedom, warmth, and sunshine.

 Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile @ The Troubadour, West Hollywood - 03/04/2015

If you’d never heard of Brandi Carlile before the announcement that she is nominated for Best Americana album at this year’s Grammy Awards, you are not alone! My interest in her is relatively new and piqued thanks to a friend of mine who was listening to her on Spotify, but I am so glad I found her. Carlile’s nominated album, The Firewatcher’s Daughter, is a perfect example of a classic folk record that still ponders life’s big questions but incorporates rougher tinges of country and rock. My favorite tracks are “Wherever Is Your Heart” and “I Belong To You” because of the self-reflection and strength in the lyrics. Whenever I listen to these songs I want to grab my best friends, drive across the country, and just live in the now.

To me, the reason folk music is such a staple in American culture is because it inspires the adventurous spirit in all of us and replaces all of the distractions around us with the simple beauty of the world. And for that, I will always love it.

What genre of music do you love most? Who are some of your favorite artists and why do you listen to them?

 

My Sorority Rush Experience

Hello, loves!

The second semester of my sophomore year of college has officially begun; it’s crazy how fast winter break flew by! It was even shorter for me because I moved back into my on-campus apartment one week early to participate in Panhellenic sorority recruitment.

Yep, you read that right: I rushed Greek life at my school…and I absolutely loved it. The biggest piece of advice I received throughout the week was “trust the system.” Well I did, and it all worked out. I found the home I was looking for: Alpha Xi Delta!

Like many girls my age, I grew up and went through my teenage years with preconceived ideas of what sororities were like. Movies such as House Bunny and Legally Blonde convinced me that the stereotypes were true…and my younger self was determined to never turn into a “sorority girl” when I got to college. Last week, however, I found out that those stereotypes are wrong. 

The recruitment process taught me so much about myself, other girls, and the many different opportunities that sororities offer. If you’re reading this, maybe you’re interested in Greek life at your school but the idea of rushing terrifies you. Maybe you’re just curious to learn more about about how it all works. This is why I want to share my journey with all of you. I’ll give a brief overview of each day, the outfits I wore, and what I gained from the overall experience. Read on!

Days 1 & 2 – Rounds

   

First Outfit: Cardigan, shirt, leggings, knee socks – Target; boots – Kmart;  necklace – my mom

Second Outfit: Top and leggings – Target, black ballet flats (not pictured) – Delia’s, necklace – my best friend

Round days were meant to introduce us Potential New Members to each of the sororities (we had 5 to choose from) and give us a feel for the personality of the individual chapters. On Day 1 I experienced every sorority this way: My recruitment group lined up in alphabetical order and we walked into the designated room that was listed on our schedule. Each of us was immediately greeted by a huge group of excited sisters who were typically yelling sorority chants or singing, and the rooms were decked out in themed decorations. We made small talk with 3 or 4 sisters during the entire half-hour of the party. It was our chance to tell them about ourselves, answer their questions about our personalities and why we went out for rush, and ask them anything we wanted…then we’d take a quick break and move onto the next party. After the first day I had to rank which sororities I liked best from 1 to 5 and I went home.

On Day 2 I came back to find out that based on the sororities’ own rankings, I got invited back to two parties, which meant that two sororities showed a serious interest in me as a PNM. This day was set up the same as the prior one but I had longer conversations with the girls and the focus was on philanthropy, so they showed us a video highlighting the charitable organization(s) they work with. At the end of the second day of rounds I ranked the chapters again based on the experiences I had with them that night.

Day 3 – Preference Night

Cardigan, top, skirt, tights, and booties all from Target. The addiction is real.

This was definitely the fanciest and most important night of the week. By this point the ranking process had narrowed it down to 2-3 sorority parties for all of the approximately 300 PNMs. We got our individual schedules and either waited until our party time or went on our way. I was invited to another sorority as well but by this point I knew in my heart that AXiD was where I wanted to be; every time I walked into their room that week I immediately relaxed and felt comfortable enough to be myself. I made a genuine connection with each girl I talked to & I loved how our conversations ranged from deep talks about college life to obsessing over clothes and Netflix! I won’t go into too much detail about pref night but I will say that the sororities’ ceremonies were beautiful and very emotional. The sisters wore matching black or white formal attire, sang songs that held meaning in their chapter, and displayed bonds of love that gave me a wonderful, funny feeling in my stomach. I honestly felt like I was in the rose-giving portion of The Bachelorette, haha! At the end of this long night I listed my dream sorority as my only preference, went home, and prayed for a bid from the best.

Day 4 – BID DAY!!!

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Bid Day, also known as the best day of my college journey so far & the day I officially found my home in Alpha Xi Delta!! The chapter gave me a bid (an invitation to join) along with 45 other amazing new members who I am now getting to know. Running through the huge crowd of jumping, screaming sorority girls and into the open arms of my sisters was exhilarating! The initiated members threw a party for us in the afternoon to celebrate; it was an event full of pictures, pizza, hugs, upbeat chatter, learning chants, and just feeling welcomed.

My rush week was nerve-wracking and not what I expected it to be at all, but it worked out better than I could have ever imagined. I learned a lot about myself, the values I hold close, and the many benefits of “going Greek” in college. I can’t wait to learn everything there is to know about my sorority’s history and become involved with Autism Speaks, an amazing and important cause that impacts so many people worldwide. I can’t wait to become close friends with my fellow new members and initiated sisters as well! I can’t wait to finally have the college experience I’ve always wanted…and to be an Alpha Xi.

Are you an alumna of a national sorority chapter? Is there anything you’re dying to know about sorority life? Would you ever go out for formal recruitment at your college or university?

Stay free! xo

— Morgan

Reconnecting

Hello, friends!

It’s been quite a while since my last blog post…you can thank college for that. The last month has been super busy for me with club meetings, papers, projects, and exams galore. I don’t have words to explain how stressed and exhausted I was day in & day out. But good news: I’m done with my semester and home for winter break! Now I can get excited for the holidays and enjoy 3 and 1/2 weeks of total relaxation. I can’t wait!

With all this new-found free time, I’m prone to do a lot of deep thinking and reflecting on life. I recently realized something huge: I need to reconnect with myself.

People always say your college years are when you truly find yourself, and that statement has been true for me to a certain extent. I’ve been through enough to know my own strength, perseverance, and work ethic. I know that using journalism to give people a platform to tell their stories is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I know myself based on my past and future…but not in the present.

It’s difficult for me to explain, so I’ll pose my dilemma as a question: Do you ever feel like there is a disconnect between the life you want to live and the life you’re actually living? Like you have so many visions, dreams, and goals but you don’t know how to make them realities in your everyday life?

That’s where I am right now. For a few years now I have been stuck in the vapid, swirling gap between the person I am and the person I want to be, and coming to that realization is pretty disconcerting.

I need to reconnect with the girl who was imaginative, creative, thoughtful, hopeful, hardworking, attentive, bright, passionate, and positive. I’ve been trying to find her for a while now but to no avail…maybe a good starting point is to figure out what caused her to fade away in the first place. I need to reconnect with each of my dreams (big and small) and put time & effort into pursuing them. I need to reconnect with the simple things in life instead of turning to technology as a constant form of entertainment or distraction. Most importantly, I feel the strongest desire to reconnect with my once daily habits like yoga, meditation, and journaling. These activities are great for my physical, mental, and emotional health and they strengthen my sense of energy.

A huge part of mindfulness is knowing yourself so you can be one with yourself. My goals over this break and for the start of the new year are to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with who I am in this moment. By learning to be confident in myself and trust the journey I am on, I can finally find peace in the here & now.

Stay free! xo

— Morgan