Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” This statement applies not only a hockey but also to golf and even life. Golf scores are determined by the number of strokes someone takes at each hole. Missing one stroke can mean the difference between a par and a birdie. While I’m not a golf expert, I see taking a stroke in a game of golf similar to taking a chance in life.

I’ve always erred on the side of comfort and have opted out of taking any risks for fear of making a mistake. I’m not a person who enjoys change, but in reality, who does?

While all my friends stayed in our home state of Florida for college, I took a chance (or a stroke) and went to Loyola University Chicago. I was quickly pulled from everything I knew and was familiar with into an entirely new situation. I can be outgoing in comfortable situations but moving to another state without my friends and family proved to be harder than I originally thought. Many of my peers knew people from their local schools or from moving from one Midwest school to another. I, though, felt alone and started to feel as if  I made a big mistake.

The first semester went by, and I still hadn’t found my place, I became discouraged. While I tried to put myself out there, I hadn’t found a group of individuals that I could call my “home away from home”. So I became a sorority woman.

I attended Recruitment Orientation, feeling apprehensive and nervous.

Movies and social media portray sorority women as wild, boy crazy, and academically unfocused, at Loyola University Chicago, I found the opposite.

They welcomed me with open arms into something that seemed daunting and exclusive. After receiving my bid, I was welcomed into the arms of over 200 sisters who have pushed me to be the absolute best I can be and take risks I never found myself taking previously. While I’ve changed my major three times and altered my future career goals dramatically, these women have uplifted and made me feel welcome in a city and community I never pictured myself being a part of.

My stroke was going through recruitment and opening myself up to new opportunities. As a sorority woman, I found myself “under par” or exactly where I needed to be. The women I met and the memories we’ve cultivated became my hole in one. While I’ll probably never go cage diving with sharks or bungee jumping, I have learned that going out of one’s comfort zone is exactly where you find your true self.