Once. Always. Blog

Feeling 22

Submitted by Cassandra Egan on 5/4/2014 5:18:44 PM   

As corny as it may sound, Taylor Swift’s lyrics describe exactly how I am feeling, “happy, free, confused and lonely in the best way.”

All of these feelings have braided together to create one of my best birthdays, and yes, I am feeling 22.

Although I know that I am far from death, I still feel that 22 is the start of my life beyond college, which is nerve wrecking yet exciting.

I say nerve wrecking because I am ending a chapter in my life that I don’t necessarily want to leave yet. I’m slightly nervous about what this next chapter will hold.

I say exciting because of the possibilities of the future. Possibilities and dreams of finding a job I love, buying a house and getting married. The only thing left in the way before I can go after all of these goals is graduation. 

Obviously, I understand that turning 22 is not exactly significant to most people or even should be considered a major life-changing event. To me though, 22 means that my life is changing in the best of ways. “I know that everything will be alright,” as long as I continue to have my sisters and family by my side.

Sleep When You're Dead

Submitted by Cassandra Egan on 4/24/2014 6:58:30 PM   

“You can sleep when you’re dead.”

Wendy Lau, one of our local founding mothers of the Theta Upsilon Chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma, said this advice during one of her many speeches to our chapter and it was never forgotten.

That is the mantra that repeated in my head every time I volunteered to take on something else in my life.

Another event. Another job. Another project. I can sleep when I’m dead, right? At least, I hope so because I’m counting on taking a very long nap after ninety more years of a busy life.

Being constantly busy and productive is a trait people involved in Greek life experience throughout their college years. We learn about time management and being a leader.

Alumni will always tell students, "take advantage of the time they have in college. This will be the best four years of your life. The real world can be really tough and sometimes suck."

I took that to heart. Maybe a bit too seriously, but I don’t regret a single second of all the work I have accomplished in college.

As my four years in college quickly comes to an end, I have realized that I do have to leave and enter the “real world.” But I am also glad that I did those all-nighters and became involved in Phi Sigma Sigma Fraternity and participated in a million and one other activities before graduating. I am so happy that I made time to make great grades and lifelong friends.

While I still think the real world is going to be much tougher than school and is a terrifying concept to think about as my graduation is looming closer, I know that I can take on the world because I can just sleep when I’m dead.


Submitted by Cassandra Egan on 4/16/2014 6:53:11 PM   

Almost three and a half years ago on October 16, 2011, I was initiated into Phi Sigma Sigma Fraternity along with 14 other women. Feelings of uncertainty, nervousness and excitement swept through everyone in my new member class that day.

We had studied our local and national history, memorized all 10 of the founding mothers’ first, middle, and last names, and practiced songs until our voices were strained after four weeks of our new member process. The unknown of what initiation entailed left us with the hope that we would all be accepted into this amazing organization and be able to start a new journey with the rest of our sisters.

After witnessing so many initiations through my years with Phi Sigma Sigma and witnessing my last initiation ceremony on Sunday, I reflected upon how much I have grown into the person I have always wanted to be. Seeing so many young women make the same choice I did three and half years ago, I can only hope that they have the same great experiences that I had during my time with Phi Sigma Sigma.

Because of that day when I was initiated into Phi Sigma Sigma, I have gained so much in return. I have been granted so many leadership opportunities and created so many close relationships with my sisters. From being a shy freshman before joining Phi Sigma Sigma, I grew into a confident, sassy leader ready to take on any challenges after membership. While my time at University of La Verne is ending, I know I will always have sisters by my side no matter what may come my way after graduation.

Spotlight Weekend

Submitted by Cassandra Egan on 4/9/2014 7:03:00 PM   

Four years ago I chose University of La Verne as my college of choice. This decision was definitely not easy, but one of the most important decisions I have made.

When I was first visiting ULV at their Spotlight Weekend event for admitted students-- to be completely honest-- I absolutely hated the school and only stayed at the Spotlight Weekend for an hour. I wanted bigger and better things than a school called La Verne.

So, then how did I end up at ULV? When I looked beyond the surface at my two choices of colleges and made my pro/con lists, I realized that the University of La Verne was exactly the type of college I would feel the most comfortable attending. The small class sizes, the fact that faculty know who you are even if you have never taken a class with them, and sense of community and family that La Verne exhibits, were all things I loved.

Choosing University of La Verne is a decision I will never regret. I might not have joined Phi Sigma Sigma or met my little sapphires. I would not be the person I am today if I had chosen a different path.

As a graduating senior now participating in Spotlight Weekend, I hope that everyone has the same great experience I did at the
University of La Verne.

A Phi Sigma Sigma Angel Lives On

Submitted by Cassandra Egan on 4/4/2014 7:10:17 PM   

Phi Sigma Sigma member Nereyda "Neddie" Iniguez influences the lives of many people around her with her positive spirit, love of life and her continued support of Phi Sigma Sigma. Unfortunately, I have never met Neddie, but I know all of these wonderful qualities because of the love shown through sisters who did know Neddie.

Neddie Iniguez died in 2005 of leukemia as a junior at the University of La Verne, but most importantly, as a beloved member of Phi Sigma Sigma.

Neddie discovered the leukemia when she was a senior in high school. From there she went through several chemotherapy sessions and several remissions. During those cancer-free days, Neddie lived her life to the fullest by joining Greek life and studying abroad. She was studying abroad in Australia when she got really sick and was forced to fly back.

This was when Neddie decided to forgo another round of treatments for the leukemia.

Neddie’s influence continues as every sister in the Theta Upsilon Chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma learns to appreciate life that much more because of her. We honor her life and always keep her close to our hearts as we raise funds for the Neddie Memorial Scholarship so another sister could continue life in college and Greek life.

Phi Sigma Sigma Sisterhood

Submitted by Cassandra Egan on 3/30/2014 7:00:06 PM   

I have never been in love before. I wasn’t even sure what love felt like until I joined Phi Sigma Sigma. People already involved in Greek life always said “from the outside looking in, its hard to understand it, and from the inside, looking out its hard to explain.” In reality, the lifelong bonds we create with our sisters can be described in one simple word, love.

Of course, I don’t mean the kind of love that ends in romantic comedy movies or marriage. The bond of any sisterhood takes time and effort, but the love given and returned is for a lifetime. 

Sisters are always there for anyone who needs support or comfort, no questions asked. We make each other laugh after having a hard day. We annoy each other to no end, but always make up for it by listening to each other’s problems and issues. Sisterhood means never having to wonder if there is someone who loves you. The bonds of our sisterhood remind me everyday of the best decision I made, joining Phi Sigma Sigma.

The women of Phi Sigma Sigma have taught me year after year, heartache upon heartache, laughter upon laughter that love is tough and endless. Love endures tragedy and joy. Love is sisterhood and isn’t just for the four years of college, but for life.

My Little Sapphires

Submitted by Cassandra Egan on 3/23/2014 7:00:00 PM   
A sapphire is the person that will be forever around you and will refuse to leave… ever, but we never really want them too anyways. Sapphires help better each other and become lifelong soul mates, which I know sounds really cheesy, but you haven’t met my sapphires.

I met one of my two little sapphires last year, and Nina is one the sweetest people I know. Her heart is filled with love and is constantly thinking of others before herself. She has taught me so many things about becoming a better person and always trying to be positive. She is truly my better half, and I only hope that I have helped her half as much as Nina has helped me. She is part of the reason why I decided to get another little sapphire. I love being a mentor, but I also wanted my little sapphire to have someone to connect with after I graduate this year.

I was privileged to get another little sapphire, Sami, and I absolutely love her already. My new little sapphire is pretty amazing and will be a perfect addition to my sapphire family. Although I have only known her for a short amount of time, I know that she is a strong, confident woman. I can’t wait to get to know her even more and to see all the things she accomplishes in life.

Sapphires are all about learning and love, which should be a constant in life. Phi Sigma Sigma provided me with my sorority family, and I am so blessed to have each and every one of them in my life. Sapphires are truly a treasure that is possible to find in Phi Sigma Sigma. 

Big and Little Sapphires

Submitted by Cassandra Egan on 3/16/2014 7:00:00 PM   

Mia and Cristal are revealed as sapphiresMany people, even outside of Greek life, know that the terms “big sister” or “big brother” means someone that mentors someone who is younger or is just entering an organization. In Phi Sigma Sigma, the definition of the term is the same, just with a different title.

The women of the Theta Upsilon Chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma use the terms “big sapphire” and “little sapphire,” which is our organization’s stone, instead of “big sister” and “little sister.” A big sapphire is a mentor that guides a new sister through the life of being in a sorority and life in general.

The bond between a big and little sapphire pair is unique to the bonds of sisterhood because sapphires are like the Chandler Bing and Joey Tribbiani of every group (from the best television show ever made, “Friends”). They just get each other’s quirks and weirdness like no one else. They are always available for random adventures together and pushing each other to be the best they could be. 

Sapphires are the shoulder to cry on, the hug that is always needed, and a mentor when life sucks. Sapphires will always be there for the initiation into the greatest sorority ever, getting your own little sapphire, your break-ups and make-ups, the gallons of ice cream and movie marathons and a bridesmaid at your wedding.

Whoever said diamonds were a girl’s best friend, obviously never had sapphires.

Redefining Sorority

Submitted by Cassandra Egan on 3/10/2014 7:00:00 PM   

Explosions of glitter, absurd hazing rituals, and paying for friends are some of the very untrue stereotypes of a sorority… Well, except maybe the explosions of glitter. Trust me, glitter never goes away after recruitment.

Besides the excess amounts of glitter and crafting, most people don’t immediately think of philanthropy as a major part of being in a sorority. Most people also don’t think of Phi Sigma Sigma or any sorority as a non-profit organization that helps foster young women into world-changing leaders that continue to promote the timeless values of leadership through service, lifelong learning and inclusiveness.

I volunteered in high school, but never anything that I was truly passionate about like these Phi Sig women were expressing about the Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation during recruitment.

When entering Phi Sigma Sigma as a sophomore, I was told about the many philanthropy events and contributions the Theta Upsilon Chapter makes every year, but I didn’t really understand what “philanthropy” even meant at the time. I was joining a sorority for many different reasons, but their philanthropy involvement was probably at the bottom of my list when choosing a sorority.
Phi Sigma Sigma members Adrianna Navarro and I helping plant orange trees at a local church as a part of the non-profit organization Sowing Seeds for Life along with a ULV professor and the director of the organization.

As a senior in Phi Sigma Sigma, I now understand the passion those young women once explained to me three years ago. One of the first things we learn about Phi Sigma Sigma is the twin ideals of promoting the brotherhood of man and alleviation of the world's pain. Every time we host an event to raise money for the Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation which benefits school and college readiness, volunteer at a local church or school, or even join an alumna’s March of Dimes team, we try to remember our twin ideals and our core values.

We try to remember that the reason behind recruitment and being a part of Phi Sigma Sigma is not the explosions of glitter, but that we are trying to continue Phi Sigma Sigma’s legacy as a philanthropic and social organization that will ignite positive change in the world.