Change Amongst the Chaos
By: Rachel Loring
I’ve been thinking about change a lot recently.
I’m no stranger to change, I do it about every day. Yet, I still feel like change is so scary to me.
I know how important it is to learn, to grow. I also know that change doesn’t usually come alone, usually it comes right after pain or fear or sadness. Usually it comes right after you think, “I’ve figured this whole life thing out.”
Before Corona, I was in many ways “peaking”. I had an active social life, I was constantly surrounded by sisters, I was figuring out my major, I was dating, I was feeling the most “college” I had ever felt. I remember genuinely having no complaints about my life.
And then, after Corona, one by one I seemed to lose all the things that made me feel happy, that made me feel like me.
I began to wonder, who am I and what should I even be doing if I’m not doing college? Who am I if I’m sad? If I’m scared? Who am I when I’m lonely? Because for a while, I really didn’t recognize myself as Rachel. I was this weird in between person who was often sad, lonely, nervous, apathic. My whole life motto has always been that you are the sum of your passions and hopes, so what was I when I felt hopeless and passionless?
Maybe you feel like that too, maybe you felt like that when you couldn’t go to your senior prom or your graduation ceremony. Maybe you felt like that if you had a breakup, or if you had to move away from campus. Maybe you felt that like if you had a loved one get sick, or if you had to rearrange your whole life after March.
Maybe you wish desperately you could be that person who got those things, who went to prom, who finished their spring semester. Maybe you wish you were that pre-corona person who didn’t own a facemask and six gallons of hand sanitizer.
So, what do we do when life forces us to change? What do we do when we have to grow even when maybe we didn’t plan for it, or maybe when we didn’t necessarily even want to?
I think it helps to think of life at the moment as a car crash.
The car of a regular school year, of regular recruitment, of regular social interactions crashed. The car of the life you knew so well is totaled.
But even when a car is totaled there could still be good parts.
So, here’s what you do:
Sneak into the junkyard (do this at night so you don’t get caught)
Find your totaled car.
And check the glovebox first.
Take out every silver lining in that box: the spare Chapstick and the extra sunglasses.
Then look around and scavenge around a bit more, take your cool seat covers, take out your little hula dancer bobble-head on the dash, take out that pair of shoes you keep in the backseat just in case.
Just take what you can, and take what has value.
And maybe you get carried away, you start taking the gear shifts, the steering wheel.
But you have to leave those, because in reality they’re scrap metal.
And when you’re done, and you’ve taken every lesson, memory, and happiness out of that car, you close the door and you leave the metal car frame behind.
And the you get a new car. And sure, maybe it’s not the car you got when you were sixteen; maybe it’s not the car you went on your first road trip in, or got your first kiss in.
But that’s okay, because your new car is cleaner, faster, and most importantly: it drives.
So maybe you feel like you’re spinning out of control, and that your life has been irrevocably wrecked.
I promise you it hasn’t.
Instead, take everything out of this you can. Take the time you had with your family to appreciate them because I promise you will miss your mom when fall semester starts. Take the weird rush schedule as a special memory only your pledge class will have. Take the online classes as chances to get out of your comfort zone, to meet the person you are undeniably becoming.
I choose to take out of this how much I love my friends, how much I appreciate school, how much my family means to me, and how important it is to check in on my own health.
I choose to not look at all the time I lost from Corona virus as a waste, but rather time I needed to grow. I choose to cherish the happy pre-Corona memories rather than dwell in them because they are special and lovely and deserve to stay that way.
Eventually, we all must close the door; we must close the anger, the sadness, the fear. Don’t get caught on the scrap metal, on the what ifs and the should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. Don’t get caught up if you get dropped by a house you like, or if a house you thought you would love just doesn’t feel right- because that’s all scrap metal, and you really can’t do much with scraps.
Instead pay attention to that new car.
If you’re lucky, Chi Omega can be that new car for you.
I find a lot of my identity in Chi Omega, and yet- not because if the letters, or the aesthetic, or the date functions. I define myself by my sisters. By the moments I felt my worse and I had someone tell me how loved I am. The times I felt my lowest and just walking in the Chi Omega house made it feel a little less low. The times snuggled with my sisters on the couch, found a whole new family in my Chi O fam, stayed at the house all night to paint banners, and the times I was crying laughing over a joke one of my sisters said at lunch.
The times Chi Omega didn’t just tell me who I was, but challenged me to go find her. Pushed me to become that person.
Chi Omega is not only there for you, Chi Omega makes you want to be there for others. I promise you every sister in Chi Omega is ready to be there for you. And if you’re an initiated sister reading this, then I’m there for you, as I know you are for me.
Chi Omega is a beacon of positivity to me. It tells me it’s okay to be a different person every time I enter that red door; because I know that with Chi Omega, I’m becoming a better, more purposeful person.
So, this fall while I’m sure we all want to forget Corona, and forget the time we spent quarantined and bored out of our minds. I say instead, we take all of those bits with us and embrace the changed people Corona shaped us into.
Because it would be a shame if the most resilient and unique parts of us got left in the junkyard.