lukeandmanda

The most amazing love story since Romeo and Juliet haha

I can’t be a senior…I was just a rushee!

Wow. I am a senior in college now. That’s a scary thought! Although I don’t feel old enough to be a senior (or old enough to be dating an officer in the U.S. Army, come to think of it,) it would appear that senior year has indeed snuck up on me, since my plans tonight consist of watching a movie with my mother while we pack my belongings to move back to Bama for the Fall. Even though I am not “officially” moving back in for two more weeks, I am heading down to T-Town with a carload of things tomorrow so that I can start to organize my new apartment before I meet Jessica Belue for some back-to-school retail therapy and lunch at the Cheesecake Factory in Birmingham. Time really does fly. Sadly, this will be the first year that I won’t be participating in sorority recuritment at UA. It seems like just yesterday that my parents were dropping me off at my dorm room in Ridgecrest South two weeks early so that I could go through Rush.God led me to find my “home away from home” in AOII that week, despite the scorching August heat, all of the girls and houses that blurred together after awhile and the stress and confusion of making such a huge decision that would affect my entire collegiate career. My decision to join AOII has brought me so many good times with great friends during these last three years, and I don’t regret any of it for a minute! I thank God so often for the opportunity to meet and bond with my AOII sisters.

A short flashback to my first Rush experience in honor of the upcoming Fall recruitment:

Ice water teas with Jessica Ruffin!

Philanthropy Day with some of the awesome ladies in my Rho Chi Group!

DYING to open our bids! Little did we know, in just a couple of minutes, Jessica and I would become sisters!

YAY! AOII chose us too!

I was so excited to learn that Jessica would be in my pledge class! She was one of my very first friends at Bama, and we are still close today. It’s wonderful to have sisters like her to turn to with all of the joys and sorrows that come along in life! And, my sweet mom came down for Bid Day also. We had such a great time touring the house and meeting all of the women who I would be spending the next 4 years with.

Momma and I on Bid Day 2009.

It was such a God thing that I found this amazing house with so many genuine, Christian girls to spend four years of my life with. Bid Day was an exciting, unforgettable day! Followed by the Bid Night Party, Pledge Retreat, swaps, swaps and more swaps, and some really fun date parties.

Our first time inside the AOII House after Rush. We were so scared to open the door and walk in haha

Hanging out before the Bid NIght Party!

Bid Night- Michelle Meadows, Allison Pike (my future big sis), Kelilah and Jessica

Pledge Retreat at the Yacht Club

Katie Naughton and I– AOII sleepover at Ridgecrest

AOII Sleepover in Ridgecrest South- With Jessica, Katie and Tara

TOGA SWAP! With Sarah Mustion, Kelilah Anders and Alaina Thweatt

Toga Swap with Courtney Calkins!

The day we received our pledge pins.

ATO Pajama Date Party- With Cati Hornbuckle

80’s Swap with Alex Walters. Love her :]

Redneck Date Party with Allison and Alaina

Red Rose Formal- Group Picture at the Cypress Inn

Red Rose Formal with Alex and Courtney! Such a fun night :]

So freshman year was pretty much amazing! I loved going to all of the swaps and date parties with my sisters! We also went to football games together, and it was really fun to eat at the AOII house before games.

Gameday at the AOII House!

Alaina and I at one of the first games of the season!

Spring semester was even more fun than the Fall! (I should probably point out that I met Luke the summer between freshman and sophomore year! Which is why he isn’t in any of the pictures to date and didn’t go to any parties with me freshman year. But, I DID meet him that summer and of course, that changed my life forever. But that’s another story!) Which brings me to: Rush sophomore year.

This is the year I met my future little Jessica Evers, and recruited her all during Rush Week. When they announced her name on Bid Day, I was so, so excited that she had chosen AOII!  I was her Bid Day Big and her Trial Big Sis before eventually becoming her actual Big Sis at the Big-Little Reveal. I absolutely love that she became one of my very best friends that first semester in AOII. A few pictures of sophomore year rush and the big-little activities:

Jessica Evers and I at the Bid Night Party at Claire and Emily’s

Maegan Gundy (another of my close friends), Jessica, and I getting ready for the party!

I tried to be a good Bid Day Big and baked some AOII cookies using cookie cutters that I picked up at Leadership Institute in Franklin, TN the previous summer. Unfortunately, I filled them too full and so I ended up with a GIANT A, O and II. Haha it was pretty funny at least and kind of broke the ice some more with my new friends (aka the coolest freshmen ever!).

TOGA SWAP 2010

And she also forgave me for being a complete failure at toga-making! My little must really love me since she picked me to be her big anyway..Haha I was never more happy to see two of my best friends Samantha Erickson and Holly Willis that night when they came to my rescue in the toga-making department.

FINALLY ready with all of the freshmen successfully outfitted in togas!

GROUP PICTURE! Lots of sweet girls in this group, including: Samantha, Holly, Maegan Gundy, Maegan Green, Jessica Evers, Lisa Ledbetter and many more!

Then the swaps and date parties began! I took Jessica and Maegan to many of the swaps this year, and Luke even got to come to one of our date parties! We had so much fun, although I definitely missed being a freshman and getting to dress up for swaps :]

Cowboys and Indians Swap with ATO

Holly, me and Sam, (aka Jasmine (I think), Cinderella and the Little Mermaid) dressed up as Disney Princesses for a date party.

ROLL TIDE ROLL! Game Day with Jessica, Lisa and Alaina! It was standing room only since we showed up a little late after Backyard Bash, but it was a blast anyway :]

The Iron Bowl was at Bama this year! Ethan (my younger brother) and I sat with these beautiful sisters, Sarah and Alaina. Love them!

Tacky Christmas 2010 with Jessica and Maegan

Insert a very busy Spring and Summer, and then jump to Rush 2011: Junior Year! This year, I met my ‘Bama Little,’ Grace Hagemann, who would become Jessica’s twin. She transferred back to Bama from a school in Georgia where she had joined AOII. We clicked instantly during Rush Week and became really great friends. Since she already had an official “big sis,” I adopted her as my “Bama Little,” so now she has a big at each scool. I am so blessed to know an amazing girl like Grace.

Grace and I at the AOII House before a Bama game!

Grace and I having our picture taken with an LSU fan as part of the ‘Amazing Race’ philanthropy event to raise money for arthritis.

Helping Grace decorate the doors of her new littles! (My grand littles). Yes, I feel old. Haha

Junior year was so much fun, and I wouldn’t trade all of the memories that I have hanging out with my AOII sisters for the world! If you look at a picture from my birthday dinner at Jalapenos last year, you will see that I would not have known many of these girls if it hadn’t been for AOII.

My 21st Birthday Dinner celebration!

From L to R:,

Holly Willis, my “bump buddy” and pledge sister! I cannot wait to be a bridesmaid in her wedding next June!

Maegan Gundy, a sweet girl who pledged AOII in 2010. She is currently serving as the Secretary at our AOII chapter, and I love talking to her about our respective long distance relationships since she really does understand where I’m coming from.

Sarah Mustion, my pledge sister and sweet friend who is also in communications with me. Sarah was a Rho Chi during Rush last year and represented AOII just beautifully.

Laura Metcalf, (the oddball haha sorry, Laura)! She is a member of Alpha Gamma Delta, and I actually met her through our mutual major of journalism. She is an amazing friend, and my favorite travel buddy. We have made many late-night/early-morning trips to Birmingham together haha

Jessica Ruffin, my friend since the Rho Chi group who is also a communications major! She had an awesome internship for a PR firm in L.A. this summer! I can’t wait to hear all about her trip.

Jessica Evers, my sweet little sis from Dothan, Ala. She came to my birthday dinner even though she was still on crutches from breaking her leg a couple of weeks before!

Lauren Killen, another pledge sister from AOII. She and I became close friends during the Spring semester of our freshman year, and I still love hanging out with her. She is one of my best friends! She is from Athens, Ala.

These are just a select few of the amazing friends I have found during my time as a member in AOII. For all of the girls going through UA sorority recruitment this year: Good Luck! It’s a wonderful, emotional, exhausting week, but in the end, when you run to that house on Sorority Row and meet all of your new sisters, it is so worth it!

As rush starts up again this year, I am sad that I won’t be a part of it. I am currently on Special Status for the Fall with the sorority, which means I am still a member but I won’t be attending all of the events anymore, since quite frankly, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. Since senior year will be super busy for me, along with a couple of other personal reasons, I knew this was the best choice for me, and I am happy with it. But, I will sure miss seeing all of these ladies at lunch and dinner every day!

Even though I won’t be in the doorsongs or passing out ice water to thirsty girls this year, I know that my sisters and I will remain close friends no matter what life throws at us this next year.  I cannot wait to see what the Lord will do in our lives during my senior year of college as we all prepare for graduation and the real world. (Some of us are already there– like Holly, who has an amazing job with a bank in Birmingham as she excitedly plans her wedding to the love of her life!) I couldn’t be more thrilled for my sisters who have graduated and are already embarking on exciting journeys in the real world, such as Marie Davidson, who has committed to spending a year overseas doing mission work, and Kelsey Richaud, who has gone on to join the Teach for America Corps to help provide quality education to impoverished children.

Me? Well, for starters, I know I get to spend four days with Luke next week, and I am more than ready for that trip. Classes start the 22nd, and then it will be Labor Day and my birthday before I know it.

Bring it on, senior year! :]

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