August 15, 2017

Round one, round two, round three… Should I wear a dress or shorts? Does my breath smell weird? Do you think they can tell I forgot to put on deodorant this morning? Wait, what even is a sorority?

A tornado of thoughts rushes through the mind of any woman experiencing Panhellenic Recruitment for the first time. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the theatrics of it all. And at this formative stage in our lives, it’s even easier to forget who we are and blend in with the crowd.

But I am here to tell you that you were never meant to blend in; you were made to stand out.

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit on a panel in front of a group of first-year students in their summer semester and bestow my ever-so-wise wisdom upon them. They asked questions like, “How do you find balance in college?” and “What is the best library?” But the final request was one that made me think: “What is the one piece of advice you want to leave us with?”

I looked around at the fresh, eager faces and knew what I had to share: Stay true to yourself. Recognize your core values and live them every day with integrity and your life will be abundant.

As Panhellenic communities everywhere make meaningful strides for values-based recruitment practices, we each play a vital role in bringing that vision to life. By encouraging intentional conversations and inciting curiosity, deeper relationships will form. When we share our beliefs and core tenets with one another, we empower, uplift, and encourage each other to be the best versions of ourselves.

For all those women who have ever experienced the tornado of thoughts that often coincide with our crazy recruitment process, take a deep breath, and remember these things:

1. Love yourself. Remember that you are remarkable, valued, and loved. Do your best not to compare yourself with those around you because you are unique and bring something special to the table. Extend compassion to yourself and to others.

2. Admire the qualities you see in other people. Appreciate the beauty in other people and welcome each other with open arms.

3. Keep an open mind and an open heart. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from others and expand your horizons.

4. Be kind alike to all. This is one of the founding mottos of my chapter and it has resonated deep within my soul from the very beginning. Embrace diversity and show love.

Living your values may not always be easy, but it is always worth it. Fortunately, Panhellenic women are equipped with a support system that fosters goodwill and growth. Dare to be different. Dare to be you.

About Devon Leasure:
Devon is the Panhellenic President at the University of Florida. Some of her leadership roles on campus include serving as Delta Delta Delta’s Vice President, Panhellenic Director of Special Events, a member of Order of Omega, a Florida Greek Ambassador, and in various Student Government positions. Devon values authenticity, responsibility, and selflessness above all else. In her spare time, she enjoys reading The Economist, taking naps at the beach, and sweating in spin classes.