It’s the end of another semester in APO. But for me, this also marks the end of my time in Alpha Phi Omega as an undergraduate. In thinking about what graduating from USC and leaving APO means for me, I can’t help but reminisce on what being in this organization for the past three years has done.
Coming to USC, I was a very quiet, shy, and heavily introverted person. I had no free time and would rather spend my nights studying my books than going out. But my sophomore year, I wanted to change that. I wanted to see what more I could do with my college experience. I had never heard of APO, but I will never forget that enormous sea of blue rush shirts at the Involvement Fair my spring semester.
Chi Class Spring 2011
I was never one to want to get to know people, but being a part of the rush population forced me to get out of my comfort zone and open up to others. This experience was magnified even more when I officially pledged in Spring 2011, Chi class. I learned to be comfortable in having small talk with others; I learned to not be afraid in expressing myself and my interests. I learned to make friends.
From then on, I continued to take the steps of being part of a new family. I have also had the fortune of being on Executive Board in each of the six semesters I’ve been in APO. From pledging I wanted to prove my worth and commitment to my class from the get-go; so I became the Chi Class Secretary. The semester after that in Fall 2011 I was Psi Class’ Sergeant-at-Arms. Spring 2012, Omega semester, I was the Rush Co-Chair, and thankfully was able to reprise that position the following semester with the Alpha Alpha class. For Spring 2013, I was elected President of our chapter. This past semester I served as the President Emeritus. Being in all these positions helped me bring out the courage that was buried deep inside me, a strength I honestly didn’t even know I had. I learned how to use my voice and be comfortable with speaking in front of a large audience every week. Each semester I wanted to do my job to the best of my ability. I kept asking myself, “What more can I do to benefit this organization? How can I contribute my heart and drive to help my brothers move forward?” I could only hope that through my work I was able to accomplish those desires. That’s what APO does to you. If you’re committed enough, it challenges you. It brings out the best in you. It changes you into a person who is better than you ever thought you could become. It broadens your horizons, makes you more cognizant of the human condition, and makes you realize that you have importance in this world. That you do make a difference; and I can attest that APO has definitely done all these things for me.
Alpha Alpha Westwood Invasion
For the brothers reading this, know that I will miss you greatly. You all don’t know the kind of impact you have made in my life, and this is honestly something I cannot express adequately in words. You were the ones who helped me come out of my shell and be more sociable. You gave me your shoulder to cry on when I was repeatedly in my lowest moments. You made me laugh and smile to brighten my day and helped me remember that everything would be okay. The best days of my life have been with you guys.
I know a lot of you because I either checked you into meetings every week, or coordinated a welcoming rush experience for you. And in having you guys as co-workers, classmates, mentees, you all have become a very integral part of my life. In constantly seeing you, interacting with you, sharing with you, going places with you, accomplishing goals with you, you all have become my family. And in seeing so many of you guys rise up to become our organization’s leaders, you don’t know how much that makes me smile. I am too happy to see your dedication and love in this organization grow to different levels. Everything that you do to take the principles of LFS to your very core, inspiring others to do the same…it just makes me really proud!
So, thank you to everyone. Thank you Psi class. Thank you Omega class. Thank you Alpha Alphas. Thank you Alpha Betas. And of course, shout out to my Chi bro Jeff Su! Thank you for literally being the best pledge brother ever and sticking around with me this far! And to the Alpha Gammas, many congratulations to you on being initiated as full-fledged brothers of our chapter. I hope that you never lose sight of what drew you to this organization. That you’ll continue to be inspired by your brothers and do what you can to make an impact on APO.
Alpha Phi Omega is too big a part of my life that I can’t leave it forever. I promise, I will definitely come back as an alumna! But until then, you all take care. Take care of yourselves. Take care of your fraternity. Take care of your community. Please, don’t think of our motto as just repeated words you say every week but take them to heart, as words you can and should definitely live by.
I can’t thank you guys enough for your presence in my life, but I’ll say it one more time. Thank you, my brothers. Thank you, my family. I’ll miss you guys so much, but I love you dearly.
Forever in Leadership,
Forever in Friendship,
Forever in Service,
Forever Your Brother,