By Kay Elam, Sigma Delta (Huntingdon College), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee
As a long-time member of Alpha Omicron Pi, I’ve seen my relationship with Ritual change through the years.
When I was initiated, the values upon which Ritual was written were revealed. Ritual helped me solidify and put into words my own personal values. It also identified the common bond I had with my sisters. At that time, I thought that meant my collegiate sisters, and couldn’t imagine I’d ever have AOII relationships as special as those formed during college. But I have many.
In my twenties, I realized Ritual not only connected me to AOII but also gave me a foundation for solving problems both professionally and personally. I frequently called on parts of Ritual when stressed at work or when struggling with relationships.
In my thirties, I became a Chapter Advisor, a Regional Director, and a Network Director. I saw AOII through new eyes as I moved into positions where I could share my love for Ritual with the collegians I encountered. As I mentored these young women, I tried to be a role model and positive influence, just as my collegiate advisors and regional volunteers had been to me.
In my forties, my relationship with the Fraternity took a new direction as I joined the professional headquarters staff and traveled to close to 100 collegiate chapters during the five semesters I worked there. I loved my job, and any impact I had on the AOIIs I met paled in comparison to the impact they had on me.
In my fifties, I realized how well Ritual had served me through the years. When a position on RT&J became available, I applied for it and joined the committee. I wanted to delve into Ritual even more and to share that deep love with the women on the committee and with the collegians and alumnae I encountered.
Now, I’m in my sixties (time really does fly), and Ritual means more to me than ever. During this decade, I’ve settled into my role as an elder sister, and I’ve shared my love of Ritual with many AOIIs.
Reflecting on the AOII friendships made throughout the years, I marvel at how much bigger AOII is than my college perception. While I maintain some of my college relationships, I now also have AOII friendships with women born in eight different decades, who went to different universities, and who live all over the world…women I never would have met if not for AOII.
Ritual hasn’t changed since it was written by our Founders, but as I’ve traversed life, my relationship with it has evolved and I have changed. My love for Ritual has deepened, and with each passing year, it’s had more of an impact on my life. Wherever you are in your AOII journey, I encourage you to be cognizant of your relationship with Ritual and savor the impact it has on you.
You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org