Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Senior Reflections - Part 7

By Dana Giallonardo, '10, Gamma Phi Beta

I’m sitting at my desk in the off-campus house I share with five other Gamma Phi Beta seniors and I’m thinking. I’m graduating in less than a month. What have I learned? What do I know? And what do I have to show for it?

As a journalism major, I know how to write an article. I know how to edit your paper. As a writing and communications minor, I could write you a fairy tale or a poem. I could tailor a public relations plan for your company. I’ve been in an A Cappella group for four years. I’ve been an editor of the Brown and White. I’ve been a Big Sister to a little girl at a Bethlehem elementary school. I’ve made the Dean’s List, I’ve volunteered my time, and I’ve learned the art of time management. All valuable. I’ve packed my “future suitcase” tight with knowledge and work ethic and social skills.

But, above anything else, what I’ve really learned over the past four years are the lessons that I’ve learned about myself. I attribute a vast majority of these lessons to having been involved in Greek life at Lehigh.

When I came to Lehigh as a freshman I knew I was a smart person. I knew that I was skilled in the social arena, I was athletic, and talented, and creative. I knew that I had excelled in high school and was ready to excel as a college student – whatever that meant.

Joining a sorority was a no-brainer. From the beginning of sorority recruitment, I knew that Gamma Phi Beta was where I was meant to be. I had known girls already in Gamma Phi and they, along with the girls I kept seeing come back along with me, would soon become my Lehigh family.

I would eventually spend the next two years living in the sorority house. I would be elected assistant to the New Member Educator as a sophomore. I would be elected President as a junior. I would attend the International Gamma Phi Beta Convention. I would deal with both older and younger members on a day-to-day basis. I would learn how to balance my social and academic lives. I would be forced to deal with the conflict and controversy that sometimes occurs when fifty women live together. I would learn to live by my own value system, which was reinforced not only by the values of my sorority, but by the women who were members alongside of me.

Being in a sorority has put me in situations unlike any other. It is through these types of situations that I have learned how to manage my likes, my dislikes, my personality traits, the types of things that really make me tick and the types of things that really don’t make me tick. I have discovered the kind of the woman I am becoming and the woman I am meant to be. This intuitiveness reaches far beyond the realm of surface realizations, but has allowed me to really reach inside of myself and open the door to a life of personal fulfillment and happiness.

When I look back, I can honestly say that this has been the most fun four years I have ever had in my entire life. I can also say that I’ve met the most amazing people and have garnered friendships that I know will continue on well past these college days. But what I know, what I really know, is me, and that Gamma Phi Beta certainly played a part in this knowledge. That is the most important thing I could have ever learned in college.