Treat yourself: An open letter to the Class of 2014

I hate how true I know this is.

Meaghan McGoldrick

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To the Class of 2014,

This is it. One month ’till May and, odds are, you’re feeling numb and nauseous. The walls are closing in, all rugs have been pulled out and you’re compulsively spell-checking your resumé (while simultaneously snapchatting, putting off that ten-page paper and planning your next pregame). In six or so weeks you’ll be saying goodbye — to friends, to family, to weeknight whiskey specials — because an Irish Exit isn’t in the cards anymore. Not for four years of college.

You’re scared, (see also: restless, sleep-deprived, and a slave to happy hour), and that’s okay.

Trust your convictions. Go out on a Tuesday even though it’s raining and you know the bar’s full of freshmen. Have one, or ten too many people over (your neighbors won’t hold that title much longer) and stop censoring your rounds of slapcup. Put a ten in the jukebox. Take more selfies. Wear more sweatpants…

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Degrassi – Not to be confused with the show

So I texted my little sister tonight asking her to bake something for me since she’s coming up to New Hampshire with my mom to get lunch with me tomorrow. She literally told me that she only way she would bake me anything was if I wrote another blog post because she finds them entertaining. Well here ya go, kid – this one’s for you. 

I think it’s safe to say that as a sixteen year old, I was my parent’s worst nightmare and for most other tweenagers that’s the case as well. For some reason Grace is the exception to the rule. I think it must be something about the youngest child. It’s like God just wants to give your parents a break because he knows they’ve been to hell and back a few too many times. Honestly, if I were in their shoes and had me as a child, I would run. Fast. God bless their souls. Anyway, Grace is sort of that perfect kid: great grades, awesome athlete, polite, helpful, won’t throw a fit when you ask her to fold the laundry – you get the basic gist. We started calling her Degrassi when my friend Taryn affectionately adorned her with the nick name and it just stuck.

Grace continues to amaze me year after year. She’s gone through a lot more than your average sixteen your old and she’s got a lot to show for it. She demosntrates incredible perseverance and has a drive that makes you question her actual age. Right now she’s focusing on field hockey, a sport I loved but was never near as good as her. She’s on like, 6 different club teams and has more tournaments than I have social events on my calendar. Even though she’s a sophomore she’s starting to look at colleges and thinks she’ll want to play D3 field hockey and major in marine biology.  She recently applied for a grant to research lobsters in our local harbor and her big gift this past Christmas was a microscope. Yeah, not sure how we’re related either. Plot twist: she’s actually really pretty too and doesn’t look like the marine biology, nose-stuck-in-a-book type. The more I write the more I feel like I’m writing a dating profile as opposed to a blog post, sorry Grace! Not that she needs a dating profile, though. I think she’s been on more dates the past year than I ever have in my life. Real, live dates… like Bruins games and dinners and movies. Wondering where all these nice guys were (are) at that time in my life? Hi, still single. 

You wanted a blog post, Grace – so here you go! I am so proud of you; thanks for being my role model despite our six year age difference, love you! Image

A Thousand Thanks (and an editorial note)

I can’t say thank you enough for the overwhelming amount of support we’ve received from a single editorial blog post. When I wrote it, my intention was to set the record straight among my campus about what was going on with our chapter. The purpose was to provide a voice in a situation where our accusers were doing anything to prevent that voice from being heard.

I have never been so humbled in a single day and to everyone who shared and continues to share, you’ll never know how  much this means to my sisters and I. This is no exaggeration when I say I don’t know who 90% of you are and I think that’s what makes the whole thing so incredible. Obviously, this is no isolated issue in the Greek community and unjust rulings happen more frequently than most of us realize.

A word on the negative feedback:

Just as it was my own opinion that entitled me to write this post, you are equally entitled to your own opinion. What is unappreciated is remarks that seem irrelevant and unneccessary in an effort to ridicule my opinion.  But then again, as I can defend my posts, you are able to defend yours – the beauty of freedom of speech.

A general note on the publicity- my generation has pioneered the social media age so yes, I knew exactly what I was doing when I posted this and I am entirely aware that it is available for public view and that nationals could see it. What concerns me is that people who may have  brought this to my attention, would ever think I would expect this to be kept under wraps- to be frank, it is actually quite insulting to my intelligence. Quite the opposite of trying to keep this situation all hush-hush, I think people should know what happened here and be able to recognize that it is wrong. In regard to the photos that were posted from the senior celebration: the photos contain  no alcohol and they were posted after we found out that our memberships were being revoked; so no, we did not get in trouble for drinking in letters and then posting it. If you’re really still up in arms that we drank in letters, here’s a fun fact: it is  not prohibited by Chi Omega nationals to drink in letters if you are of the legal age. To people using that as a defense, I am delighted to inform you that your defense is in fact, invalid.

I also wanted to address a few false allegations in the comment section. There were additional events that occurred which contributed to our national organization’s decision to conduct a membership review; personally, I was in no way involved in these events, nor were my roommates. These events had nothing to do with why we were asked to resign and I resent the fact that people are approaching me via posting on this blog with the notion that I had anything to do with it. I did not mention it because it did not pertain to me personally, nor was it the reason for my blog post. Let me be clear: that is an entirely separate issue that did not occur at my house, which I did not address, and has nothing to do with the reason I have been asked to resign. Any questions? 

Furthermore, I consider myself to be rather sarcastic. In fact, you should stop reading this blog all together should that sarcasm offend you. And yes, I have a flair for the dramatic and since both of these traits are in my personality, this is how I express myself through written word (hint: I think my English teachers referred to this style a satire?) I’m sorry if that is offensive to you but if you refer to some of my later posts, it’s how I write and I’m not about to change it because it doesn’t please everyone.

I’d like to be able to respond to everyone to who comments, both positive and negative, however I unfortunately do not have the time, and for the select few who vehemently oppose my opinion, the patience or appropriate filter. Again, thank you for everyone who has supported this blog post. I had not expected nor intended the outcome of what has occurred since I posted this. Regardless, I stand by everything I originally said and see no reason to apologize for those thoughts, opinions and feelings.

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Only The Good Die Young?

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Well, no one died but it sure feels like we did.

I’m 21 years old and have legally possessed the right to make decisions regarding majority of my life choices since I turned 18. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, I relinquished this right when I accepted my bid to the Mu Alpha chapter of the Chi Omega fraternity at the University of New Hampshire my freshman year at school. From that moment on, I became a Chi Omega before I was Hilary Gaumer and for a while, nothing made me happier. Chi Omega came to me as a saving grace at a time where I felt so desparately lost and alone; I met my best friends, got involved on campus, happily devoted countless hours to community service, and overall grew both personally and professionally.

Over the past six months, however, any positivity brought into my life by this organization was overshadowed by negativity based upon a single social event that took place on my off campus home (in which the only people who pay rent are the tenants who live at this residence- myself and six of my other Chi Omega roommates- and is in no way financially supported, or otherwise, by the Chi Omega fraternity).

It was a sunny Friday afternoon in mid September and the Mu Alpha senior class gathered at our house on 13 Madbury Road (may I please re-iterate that this residence is entirely separate from the Mu Alpha chapter house) to have a few legal drinks among 37 legal seniors and a number of sober executive board members for safe supervision. This was a celebration for the seniors and a way to kick off our senior year. We each look back at this day and remember how much fun had as a class; no one was hurt and zero casualties were suffered. That was until we realized that a fellow member of our beloved Greek community took it upon herself to report this celebration as an “unregistered Chi Omega social event in which alcohol was involved”. It wasn’t until I was asked to resign my membership that I realized nationals justified this violation by claiming that my house, once again paid for by only myself and my other roommates, was a Chi Omega property based on its perception on campus (i.e. because traditionally, Chi Omega sisters live there). I could run through all the gory details here that unfolded in the months that followed but I’ll give you the abbreviated version and leave any opinions to the reader.

After a slew of dramatic events, including being put on probation and then “seriously delinquent” status (Juvie, anyone?), our national representatives decided to conduct a membership review of every single member of the sorority to determine whether or not we were here for the right reasons. They may want to reconsider the name of this exercise and call it what it really is – a 20 minute interrogation of all of the offenses they’re accusing you and your chapter of. Each of these meetings was followed by a 10 minute meeting a day later in which the national reps determine your membership status: you could remain an existing member, be asked to resign, or be asked to accept early alumna status prior to your graduation. Aside from the two bogus claims on the behalf of two younger sisters, not a single person was asked to resign with the exception of myself and 5 of my roommates, as we were hosts to our senior class on the day of the celebration and therefore the root of all evil in Chi Omega. My sixth roommate along with the entire senior class was asked to assume early alumnae status. I would apologize for my actions and words I spat at the national reps when it was time for my meeting, but that would require me to be sorry. The laws that myself, roommates and fellow seniors so heinously violated (Chi O bylaws- in no way illegal under the U.S. Constitution) were, essentially, drinking legally with our friends and “according to younger sisters, intimidating members and therefore preventing the house from moving forward” – it’s truly a dog eat dog world when you allow your seniors to sit on couches at house meetings, isn’t it? Our entire senior class, the current foundation of the Mu Alpha chapter, was scape goated in an effort to combat some much larger problem within our chapter that is apparently the presence of underage drinking, which I was repeatedly asked about in my “membership review”. Apparently, I was unaware that not only am I responsible for my own decisions, but I must also police every underage member and rip alcohol from their hands at any opportunity. FYI – we attend the University of New Hampshire- you may have seen us on the news for parties and riots that have to be broke up by SWAT teams, but sure, I will go around writing alcohol citations to all of my sisters under the legal drinking age because, what else is there to do with my life?

What’s even more confusing however, is the lack of recognition regarding my chapter’s positive attributes. Was no praise warranted when we won chapter of excellence two years ago? Or that we currently hold the highest women’s GPA campus wide? I’m wondering where you pleasant women were when our university was recognizing us for these accomplishments. Not to mention the thousands of dollars that we raise annually for non profits, most sepcifically the Make- A- Wish foundation. It’s only that we hear from you when we are posing a liability to you and a threat to your reputation.

In May, I’ll be graduating with some of the smartest, most compassionate, hard working people that I have ever had the privilege to know not to mention become best friends with. They’ve served as leaders, positive influences and role models, charitable donors and volunteers on behalf of this organization. I wonder if our nationals considered these things  when they asked us to no longer refer to us as sisters and revoke our letters. Thinking back to my original interview, not once was I asked my personal reason for joining Chi O nor if I had contributed anything to the house. Their verdict to attempt to eliminate us from the house came with great anger but also deep disappointment that I have allowed myself to lose sight of my own values, and participate in an organization which demeans, bullies and represses its members as our national representatives have done to us throughout this process. Perhaps it is my fault for failing to realize that I relinquished my independence and overall, the right to live my life by my own perrogative the day that I accepted that bid; and for that I will take full responsibility. However, I want people both within and outside of the Greek community to realize the outright tyranny bestowed on myself and fellow sisters and I beg you to stand up for what you believe in and never accept defeat when you know you are being wrongly accused.

Fortunately for myself, disregarding this surreal disaster, Mu Alpha has given me so much that I am grateful for which can never be taken away from me when you wipe my name from the role book. To my beautiful sisters, I will always be grateful for your friendships and inspirations. You’ve bettered me in more ways than one and for that I am eternally indebted to you.

“The moment you feel you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away”

P.S. – Shout out to the Greek/ Larger UNH community for the overwhelming words of support following the recent events; you rock never change!

More Strange Childhood Happenings That Made My Parents Worry

Maybe you picked up on what a whack job I was as a child from my last post or maybe you’re just slow. Please allow me to elaborate. This is not meant to be said for bragging rights, but  I had an imagination like no other. Up until about second grade, I had one solid friend- shoutout to my BFFL from the start Lucy Noble. We walked around the playground clutching our floral diaries and inviting people to our “club” by asking them to sign them. You think I’m kidding? I’m a hoarder so my diary is definitely buried in the depths of my closet and once I can retrieve it I promise to post evidece. It’s no suprise that until we were separated into different third grade classes, we were pretty much eachother’s only company which was just fine with us. We used to play house on all of our play dates and without fail I was always the older sister; I fondly referred to myself as Siobahn (if you’re unfamiliar, pronounced SHA-von). Mhm.

As if I haven’t embarrassed myself enough already I’ll show you a picture of what I looked like at this age. No, I didn’t have a cute exterior to make up for my unusual personality. Quite the opposite, actually. My mom thought straight across bangs to accompany my bowl cut was cutting edge style and thus I looked as follows:

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I realize this picture is a little dated for the time period I’m referring to but needless to say it captures my bowl cut to a tee. There’s not a family album I flip through where I don’t silently questions my mother’s mental state when she made the decision to depict me as a small English boy. I’m sure there were a few nights my mother lay awake wondering if it was her own doing or if I would really look like this for life.

Pictured on  the left is my sister Katie, slighlty more feminine looking but sporting a masculine edge with her lack of hair. People tell us we were close when we were younger, actually genuinely liked each other. Somewhere around the age of 7 and straight on through til 18, that fondness disappeared. I want to take this time to apologize to all of my friends, family, extended family, neighbors and innocent bystanders who had to interact with the two of us simultaneously during those years. I’d like to think based upon recent events that we’ve moved beyond that unfortunate period. Again, sincere apologies & God bless.

 

“If you take everything I’ve accomplished in my life and condense it down to one day, it looks decent!”- George Costanza

If you know anything about me then you’re probably aware that personal blogs aren’t really my “thing”. However, I recently came to the beautiful realization that after 3.5 years working towards my hospitality management degree, I couldn’t be less interested in actually pursuing a career in the field… oops. So, I’ve identified three things that, now that I’ll soon be forced to make a living on my own (no resentment towards the rents for my lack of a trust fund though), that I actually wouldn’t mind doing as a “job” per se.

1. Traveling

I know most people “love to travel” but hand me a plane ticket and enough cash not to starve (and by not starving I mean eating lavishly at my favorite restuarants) and we’re in business. Which brings me to my next point:

2. Food

I don’t really know how to express to the world my love for food. Like, I’m tearing up thinking about it cause I’m so passionate on the subject. Embarrassing? Maybe, but I wish I was kidding. To my own suprise, I’m actually not 3,000 pounds but that’s only because I learned at a young age that when you max out at five feet and 3/4 an inch then you have to do some sort of physical activity to offset your calorie, sugar, fat, carb-rich diet. The people who say nothing tastes as skinny feels? Yeah, not only are they delusional, but also pure bred psychopaths. Now before I get too nasty, my third hobby is….

3. Writing

I used to write poems growing up.  Now, before you start envisioning an early Emily Dickinson, if I could sum up my poems in one word, it would be e m b a r r a s s i n g. I wrote about the most absurd topics. When I was younger, my parents chopped down a tree in our front yard and at the tender age of 5 I was seriously distraught. I suppose I must have shared a particularly pensive moment under said tree because all I could think to do was write a poem titled “Just a Stump”. I am honest to god giggling thinking about it right now because I was PROUD of this piece as I recited it to my parents who must have had frequent nightmares of me being the kid with no friends and a “kick me” sign taped to the back of my high fashion courdoroy overalls (a staple piece in my wardrobe).  Another shining moment for me was when I was published in third grade in a poetry book. I forgot the name of it, something along the lines of the Anthology of Young Poets. By some grace of God, my poem about Montana was selected. Montana, because my extended family on my Dad’s side lives there and I was enamored with the state. I hope that no human reading this owns a copy of this book, because I would drop dead out of shame. I’m not even sure if I still have a copy but I remember coming across it while I was in highschool and thinking that my biggest wish was that this book was never discovered by anyone that I knew even remotely. FYI that’s still my wish.

SOOO, finally to the point of this post/entire blog. I was successfully able to identify three things I love and hope am able to incorporate these things into a career. I always told my mom that if I could have my dream job it would be to be a food critic, who travels and writes about it. Boom. Unfortunately, dream careers don’t just fall into people’s laps. Unless you’re Beyonce or Leonardo DiCaprio in which case, that’s exactly what happens. I’m using this blog as a portfolio of sorts so that should the opportunity for a journalism position arise, I’ll at least be able to prove my literacy.

Read it if you’re interested, but don’t if you’re not. I promise to make all attempts at being mildly entertaining.