With Challenge Comes Growth and Opportunity

July 6, 2020

by Mallory Golski, Omicron Gamma-Ohio University

When I asked myself on March 26, 2017, if the month of March could’ve gotten any worse, I wasn’t issuing a challenge to my future self. In fact, if you had told me that three years later, I’d be spending that same date sitting on the couch by myself for the thirteenth night in a row, moping about my cancelled weekend plans while contemplating the existential threat of a global pandemic, my 2017 self would have laughed politely and thanked you for presenting an outlandish scenario admittedly more tragic than my own.

 

On March 26, 2017, I didn’t have the energy to actually contemplate what would be worse—I was too busy fretting about a different cancelled plan entirely.

 

When I took over as president of the Omicron Gamma chapter of Delta Zeta at Ohio University earlier that school year, I inherited the daunting quest of leading the chapter through a social probation. During the first week in our positions, the executive board and I had a conference call with Delta Zeta national representatives, who explained our sanctions while reminding us, “With challenge comes growth and opportunity.” That night, we took on the challenge with a commitment to making fundamental changes in our chapter’s operations and values. We revised our social media policy, devised a risk prevention plan and underwent Standards training. This shift tested our chapter’s ability to stray from old routines, but our members successfully rose to every challenge.

 

However, despite our members’ enthusiasm every time we checked another task off our list, we were unable to complete our list of sanctions. Due to an unforeseen conflict, our Alcohol Skills Training Program (ASTP) – scheduled for March 26 at 5 p.m. – was postponed until August. That night, we couldn’t have fathomed how we would one day be crying tears of laughter during our ASTP (seriously—who knew risk prevention could be so fun?!) or how the journey through social probation would ultimately grow our chapter’s morale and sisterhood. Instead, we explained the situation to the chapter through forced smiles and reminded ourselves that it would be okay. We would get through our probation—together.

 

Fast forward to March 26, 2020, when I sat in the once-fabled position on my couch for the thirteenth day of social distance. As it turned out, the outlandish scenario was far from humorous—yet, that night, I found my emotions shifting from anxious tears to hysterical laughter as I recalled having once thought that not being able to have social gatherings for a semester was the most daunting challenge I could face.

 

So, I sought comfort in the same way I had three years earlier: I revisited my exec group chat.

 

“Happy March 26th, everyone! Remember when we thought our lives couldn’t get more stressful than they were on that fateful day in 2017? Ah, the good old days!!”

 

That evening – following a slew of reminiscent messages – we convened via FaceTime,    leaning on each other for support as we had years earlier in our chapter house. We shared our worries, discussed how we were coping and found ourselves genuinely smiling for what felt like the first time all month. Even though we were apart, we would get through the pandemic—together.

 

Weeks later, I rekindled the group chat once again when I opened up my inbox to find that I had been selected as one of DZ’s newest Alcohol Skills Training Program facilitators. The program is delayed for the time being, of course, which is expected of both the events of 2020 and my luck with ASTPs! However, I’m eagerly looking forward to the day when I can meet with sisters across the country to offer a humorous and helpful respite during an otherwise stressful time for their chapters, just as had done for us.

 

While we can’t quite fathom how we’ll one day reflect on this moment, I know the challenge we are all facing will ultimately bring growth and opportunity. To the women who are still in college and wondering what it’ll be like to navigate virtual recruitment and socially distant sisterhoods on top of already uncertain class schedules—hang in there. Lean on your sisters, even if that means making yet another FaceTime or Zoom call. I won’t challenge the universe by wondering if the situation could get any worse, but I can promise that your sisters will be there to help you through whatever this year throws you—and beyond.

 

Want to share your DZ Journey? Email your story to lamp@deltazeta.org.