My Sorority Experience!

Me And My Sister Tenanye At Recruitment, 2017

Hey y’all!

It’s August, and the start of the school year is quickly approaching. For a lot of you, it may be your first year in university, which can be super daunting. When I came to UBC, I was coming from out of province; I didn’t know anyone, and had never really been to Vancouver save for when I came to visit UBC for one day while visiting family in Calgary, and a few layovers (fun fact: I actually learned to walk in the Vancouver Airport!).

However, as my time at UBC comes to an end, I can look back with the clarity of hindsight — what were good choices and not so good choices, what I wish I had known, etc. So I figured I’d share a little bit with you guys about one of my best choices, and hopefully inspire you to do the same, or at least step out of your comfort zone and try something new!

Me and My Sisters, Bids Day 2016

When I came to UBC in my first year, it was a pretty tumultuous time — I had no friends in Vancouver, my (at the time) dream major was application only and extremely competitive, and I was trying to juggle a long distance relationship. I had a good time, and met a couple great friends–but I didn’t really branch out at all.

When I came back the following year, I knew I needed a change. I had the safety net of being in residence in first year, and I felt I found a community there. But by second year, I was living in my own on-campus apartment with my two roommates whom I’d met in my residence, while the rest of our friends moved off-campus. My roommates were both pretty busy with their own clubs and activities, and I realized I was kind of on my own without a solid friend group, community, or safety net of any kind. So I decided to make a leap.

Me At Our Philanthropy Event, 2015

I honestly can’t even recall what it was that drew me to sororities, I knew very little about sororities and what they consisted of–but I felt inclined to find out. I figured what’s the harm, right?

So I registered for recruitment a few weeks into school. At UBC in particular, recruitment happens around the third week of the semester. It still consists of a lot of the same elements of American recruitment; we have three rounds, which are Tours, Invitationals, and Preference.

I cannot stress how little I knew about sororities before I signed up. On the first day of recruitment, I went to the NEST and was given a name tag and a group before filing into a gym filled with hundreds of girls. We sat in our groups and chatted for a bit before listening to a bunch of introductory speeches. I don’t really remember what they consisted of, apart from the usual advice — be yourself, keep an open mind, don’t feel pressured to joining where your friends are, etc.

Attending Bids Day After Receiving My Bid, 2015

To follow, we headed off to the Panhellenic Building, which houses chapter rooms for all 8 sororities at UBC, as well as female-only apartments. Even with all the speeches gearing us up, I had no idea what the day would hold. When the door to the first chapter room swung open to two giant rows of identically-clad girls singing out “HIIIIIII” in our faces as loudly as they could I was honestly kind of terrified. I was lead in by one girl and given a seat and water, and so the rotations of conversations began.

This continued for all 8 houses, and to be honest, I’ve never been so exhausted at the end of the day. But despite that, I was excited; I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

Me Attending Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity UBC Formal, 2018

The two following rounds followed similarly in suit: you were to visit up to 5 chapters at Invitationals, and then two chapters at Preference, the final round. You’d think all the craziness would be wrapped up after that, but nope–Bid’s Day (when you receive a Bid to your new chapter) was just as insane in the best way possible. We filed back into the same gym, into our original groups, and stood in a circle while a girl came around and discretely placed a folded paper with our bid in our hands.

Kappa Parent Tea, 2016

Once all the Bids were handed out, we were instructed to open our cards. I opened mine to find the words “KAPPA KAPPA GAMMA” written across the middle in a large font — I was ecstatic. Kappa had been my top choice house from the start.

The rest of the day was a complete whirlwind of meeting sisters, getting t-shirts, introductions and more. And frankly — it didn’t slow down from there. My second year proved to be the busiest, craziest, and best year of my time in university. Every week there was something new — sporting events, philanthropy, parties, meetings, coffee dates, and more. However, the deeper you get into the Greek System, once you’re past all the somewhat hectic and superficial entry period, the more you see it has to offer you.

Kappa Kappa Gamma UBC, 2016

There’s the first level, the new member period. Then there’s the second level — what you find after. Through my sorority, I met my best friend, my big and littles, the fraternity that houses all my guy friends–things that went beyond greek events. They’re people I hang out with on the regular, who make up a large portion of my entire social circle. Over the two years following your first year in a sorority, your understanding and meaning of it grows past weekly meetings and events into something deeper.

However, it wasn’t until my fourth and final year that I came to realize that it went even deeper than that — a third level. As my time at UBC and in Kappa comes to an end, I’ve realized its given me more than friends and a community to rely on — its shaped me as a person.

Me And My Big Farrah At Quarry Rock, 2016

I am an entirely different person than the girl I was four years ago, and I could not be happier with the person I have become. I’ve been through many ups and many, many downs over my four years since I signed up to participate in Formal Recruitment, but they’ve all made me better as a person. My first year at UBC, I was cripplingly shy. I struggled with meeting new people, which filled me with anxiety — different from the profound anxiety I felt about applying to my major and figuring out my career. It really held me back in so many ways; from making friends, to business connections, and even exploring new ideas.

Me And My Friend Christie, 2016

Four years later, I’m not that girl anymore. I have no longer decided to pursue film — the stress it caused me was so crippling that by the time I finally realized it was time for a change I didn’t even enjoy it anymore. Now, as I’m graduating, I’ve set my sights on becoming a wedding planner — and I have a much better set of social skills to help me along the way. The thought of being in unfamiliar situations, or finding myself surrounded with people I don’t know, no longer frightens me. Over the past four years, I was thrown into these situations more times than I can count, but I learned to flourish in them and met many of my best friends through it. There have been other, smaller benefits too — my confidence has grown significantly, I have much better tastes in fashion, I’ve learned how to cope with failure and how to push through it as well. I had no idea when I came to university that this was the person I would turn out to be, but every day I’m grateful it happened.

Me And My Little Elle Attending Formal, 2018

So, that’s more a less my story. I could go deeper into specifics and examples, but I feel I’ve hopefully said enough out there to convince any of you going into first year university, or even at any stage of life, to put yourself out there and try something new. Life is all about decisions, and each one puts us on an entirely new course in life. Who knows where I would have been now if I hadn’t taken that leap? I can only guess it would have lead me down a much less exciting path.

Me And My Little Sarah At Recruitment, 2017

If any of you are thinking of joining a sorority or would like to share your own experiences, message me! I’d love to hear it. If you wanna hear more about my experiences in a sorority, drop a comment and I’ll be sure to share a little more in depth! No matter what, always remember: if you’re completely comfortable where you are, it means you’re not changing and moving forward. A little stress comes with moving forward to your next success.

And that’s all from me for now!

Lots of Love,

Meredith

Me, Attending My Final Formal, 2019

Tuesday Favourites: July 2nd

Fresh Deep Hydration Facial Toner

Happy Tuesday y’all!

Sometime soon I’m going to do a whole post on my full skincare routine, so I’ll keep it brief. I find a lot of toners contain alcohol, which is super drying for your skin. My skin is already incredibly dry as is, so I don’t want to put anything on it that may irritate it more.

Before using this product, I was using the Fresh Rose Floral Toner, which is also a great alcohol free toner for dry skin (and apparently also a setting spray? Which I had no idea about until I searched up the product to add the link but! The more you know!) However, one day went I went to go grab a re-fill, this product caught my eye. The Rose Deep Hydration Facial Toner seemed like the same product, only better, so I did a little research. I was hesitant to change products from something I’ve been using for so long as I was worried that the excess hydration would cause breakouts or oiliness.

The one largest complaint online about this product is the rose petals in the bottle clogging the spout (which have yet to be an issue for me), so I decided to go for it. Now that I have, I would never switch back. Yeah, the rose toner was great and didn’t leave me with feelings of tightness or dryness. But this stuff is EVEN BETTER. It contains hyaluronic acid, which is amazing for hydration, as well as being alcohol free.

I’ve been using this stuff for a month or so now and I’ve already seem changes in the freshness of my skin, the hydration, as well as the appearance that my skin is more even and radiant. Seriously, this stuff is amazing. If this sounds like the product you’ve been looking for, check it out on Sephora here!

That’s all for now, be sure to check back in next Tuesday for more!

Much Love,

Meredith

Tuesday Favourites: June 18th

Stila Glitter and Glow Liquid Eyeshadow

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

As everyone knows, makeup is a huge love of mine. However, you also all know I’m no professional. While I have my day-to-day full face pretty well down, one thing I tend to struggle with for extra-special events is eyeshadow. Especially if I’m going for an extreme look, I’m just no where near as good at it as I am with other aspects of my makeup.

Which brings me to this weeks product: the Stila Glitter and Glow Liquid Eyeshadow! I always had my eye on this stuff, but never actually went out and bought it for myself. Luckily, my aunt got it for my birthday last year! I immediately pulled it out and swatched it and was blown away at how bright and glittery it was. Furthermore, I went to wash my hands later and it didn’t even budge.

Now, I know liquid eyeshadow can be a bit intimidating. The first time I used it I started panicking when it wouldn’t blend. This stuff definitely requires a bit of a different process when you go to apply your eyeshadow. What I typically do now is apply my transition shades, apply this over my whole lid, and then apply the outer corner makeup on top and sometimes use a powder gold shade to help blend. You really can’t blend this stuff much at all, but if you blend on top it looks just as blended as regular eyeshadow would!

What I love about this stuff is the sheer intensity of the colour, as well as the simplicity in applying it. Just swipe it on, its so easy to get it to apply super accurately and smoothly and as soon as it dries it won’t budge. Without fail, every time I use it I get compliments on it and how pigmented it looks.

So, there you go! If you struggle with intense eyeliner looks this is totally the product for you. You can check it out at Sephora here! They literally have almost any colour you could ever want and personally I’m certainly gonna invest in some more soon.

Peace Out!

Meredith

Easy Ways To Be Eco-Friendly!

Pacific Spirit Park, BC

Hey friends!!

So today I figured I’d talk about something near and dear to my heart: little ways to be eco-friendly. There’s so many articles out there that discuss the standard ways to help reduce waste, such as reusable bags and coffee mugs; but as someone who really tries to cut down on their daily waste I figured I’d share some other tips I use that go above and beyond! I really hope I don’t have to explain to y’all why you should care about the environment, but if you really don’t, think of it this way: the less waste you produce, the less often you have to take your trash out! No matter what, it’s a win-win, really.

Step One: Invest in Reusable Bathroom Products
Reusable Makeup Wipes and Cotton Pads

This one is a big one for me, as so many products we use daily in our life are disposable. Yes, it may save you a few minutes of time, but at what cost? These things pile up in our garbage, and produce loads of trash over time. One of my all-time-favourite products to use to avoid this is reusable makeup wipes! These towels are fantastic for a number of reasons. First of all, they remove your makeup with just water — no chemicals required! Just wet the towel, wipe off your makeup, wash the towel quickly after and your set. Another bonus is one of these towels can last for months — which leads to a whole lot of savings in the long run. Another similar product I’ve just recently started to try is reusable cotton pads. I haven’t used them for this purpose yet, but I’m pretty sure you could use these to remove your makeup too. I, however, love them for applying toner and other serums to my face. I go through cotton pads like crazy, so I’ve definitely noticed a drop in the amount of waste I produce since I’ve started using these!

Another one that I love, although not really a bathroom product, is reusable wool dryer balls! These relatively cheap wool balls help replace the need for disposable dryer sheets, which I used to go through like crazy. These things seriously last forever as well; I haven’t had to replace them since I bought them. There’s a little bonus too: you can simply leave them in your dryer and not even have to worry about throwing anything in before you dry your clothes, which makes life a bit simpler.

Something else to consider is compostable bathroom products. Plastics, such as toothbrushes, can make their way into the ocean and environment, and take years to break down (and may not ever completely disappear — as a lot of plastic products just break up into micro plastics). One way I love to reduce my plastic waste is with bamboo toothbrushes! This is by far one of the simplest ways to cut down on plastic, as it has no effect at all on your day-to-day life. Think about how many toothbrushes you go through in a lifetime — and how many you can stop from damaging the environment by choosing a more eco-friendly option.

Step Two: Reusable Kitchen Products
Bee Kind Food Wrap

The next couple of tips I have are for reusable products in the kitchen! I’ll start with one you’ve probably heard of before: metal straws. There’s so many options out there, but the one I chose to link is the one I use. It’s compact and portable, making it easy to carry around with you daily. Not only that, but the package comes with a little cleaning device so you can clean it immediately after use! Many metal straws out there aren’t collapsable, making them a pain to carry around, but this one makes it easy to never use a plastic straw again!

Another great product I’ve come to love recently is reusable produce bags. These mesh bags completely eliminate the need for disposable plastic produce bags. They’re light, making it easy to carry them around when you’re planning to go grocery shopping. Disposable plastic produce bags have always been a huge pet peeve of mine, since you really can’t repurpose them for much else. Ever since I started using these, I’ve cut down so much on plastic waste! They really are so smart to carry around.

One last one I just purchased but haven’t had time to try out yet is Bee Kind Food Wrap! I just came across this in the grocery store and am super excited to try it! Not only is it supposed to be better than plastic wrap for so many reasons other than simply cutting down on plastic waste, but the company was founded by an alumna of my sorority. Currently, you can only buy them in store in British Columbia and Ontario, but they have an online store in case you don’t live in the area and were hoping to try them for yourself!

Step Three: Food and Eating Habits
Chia Seeds

Next up is a couple of tips I have in terms of your eating habits that can help out the environment daily. I’ll start with an easy one: buying non-perishable products in bulk! Not only is this often a much cheaper option, but it can be a waste-free one, too. Anything from pasta, to rice, to quinoa, to seeds, nuts and beans can easily be purchased in bulk at your grocery store! To help eliminate waste entirely, I often use the produce bags I mentioned above when I get the products, and then transfer them into glass jars like the one pictured above when I get home. There’s really no downside here: you get to help eliminate waste and save money while you do it!

Another thing you can try, while it is a lot more challenging, is going vegetarian or vegan. I’ve been a vegetarian since last August, and it’s improved my life in so many ways. There’s countless meal prep options out there to check out, so it honestly has made me eat a lot healthier since I started. On top of that, cutting out meat saves gallons of water and more every day. I’m not really an expert on all this, but I’ve found some info on just how much of an impact it can make here.

Now, I know this can be tricky for a lot of people, both for dietary reasons or just because you love meat. So I have a couple of suggestions if you’re not ready to take the full leap:

  1. Try a flexitarian diet. When I cook for myself, I make 100% vegetarian food and have not purchased or used meat in cooking since last August. However, it can be super hard to cut out entirely and I know personally I’d miss a lot of my favourite foods if I did that. So, what I do is when I eat out, if I want something with meat in it, I’ll get it. Yeah, people kind of tease me about being a “bad” vegetarian, but overall my meat consumption is down probably 95% from where it was last year, which is still better than nothing.
  2. Try being vegetarian just one day a week! It can help you transition into a more heavily plant-based diet, but even cutting out meat products for one day can still have a huge impact on the environment and the meat industry.
  3. If you still want to eat meat every day of the week, try to buy your products locally or from small farms. Huge mass-meat factories are nasty for so many reasons outside of the damage they do to the environment, so you’ll be doing yourself a favour anyways.
Step Four: Repurpose Old Items
David’s Tea Tins and Candle Holder

Okay, one last tip for you guys. Something I love doing is reusing old items and making them new. If I ever get a product in packaging I love, I find a way to make use of it and eliminate the need to purchase a product that would have done the same job! My favourite two examples, pictured above, are my David’s Tea tins and old candles. The tiny golden tins David’s Tea packages individual tea samples in I found to be perfect for containing items such as earrings, necklaces, paper clips and elastics in a tidy and safe way. As for candles, I really love candles and have gone through enough of them in my life to repurpose them for just about anything — here you can see them holding my cotton swabs for when I mess up my makeup, but they also make great makeup brush/product holders, pen holders, containers for cotton balls/pads and more! It’s really up to you how you repurpose old products and make them new. But ultimately it’s a small but great way to help reduce a little waste, save a little money and dare I say have a little fun with decorating!

So, that’s it from me for now! I hope you all can find at least one tip in here to help you cut down on your daily waste, even if just a little bit. Cutting down on waste isn’t easy and is certainly not something you can change entirely overnight, but trying out a few of these hacks will hopefully help change your lifestyle a bit to help save our planet!

Love y’all,

Meredith

How to Survive College: A Guide

Hello lovelies!

As my time at UBC comes to an end and I’m facing the real world, I figured I’d share my tips for surviving college as someone who’s been through it all! I really felt that my time in UBC was the best few years of my life, but it certainly had it’s ups and downs. For any of y’all out there about to start university or on track to graduate, I figured I’d share some of the best tips I’ve learned along the way!

  1. Put yourself out there! SO cliché, but it’s true. University is scary for everyone at first, even for those who look like they’re handling it well. Having friends in university, apart from the obvious social benefits, can really help when you need support in class or in life.
  2. For those of you who are super shy, I was totally in the same boat in when I first started at UBC. My best tip is to swallow your fears for 10 seconds and just say SOMETHING. It’s a lot easier once you’ve gotten the conversation started.
  3. It’s never too late for anything. I joined my sorority in my second year, and didn’t finalize which major I wanted until my fourth. There’s no problem with being a little late to something! Age in university doesn’t really matter. Just go for it.
  4. Try something new. Whether it’s a club or a class, you’ll never know what you’re interested in if you don’t try. I started university dead set on going into film, and finished with a degree in psychology looking to be a wedding planner! I would never have discovered either of those things if I didn’t go out of my comfort zone.
  5. Failing one class, or doing poorly in your first year, isn’t the end of the world. I’ve failed classes in my time in university and I still made it through. So many of my friends who struggled deeply in first year ended up with amazing grades and job prospects. You’ll be okay.
  6. Make your dorm/apartment feel like home! Because at least for right now, it is. You’re more likely to feel comfortable and less homesick if you feel at home where you are.
  7. Meal prep is key. Obviously if you have a cafeteria in first year, this won’t apply to you right off the bat. But it’s nearly impossible to stay in the habit of eating healthy if you’re cooking every meal every day. University is busy–use your time wisely.
  8. Take a break every once in a while! Mental health and reducing stress is just as important to doing well in school as studying is. You’re not going to ruin your life over one night off.
  9. Sleep is just as important to doing well on an exam as studying is. If it’s the night before an exam and you think that pulling an all-nighter will be more beneficial than a good night’s rest — it probably won’t be. You need sleep to stay alert and maintain at your best mental functioning, as well as the fact that we appear to consolidate memories in our sleep — meaning you may not know as much, but at least you’ll remember what you know better.
  10. Stick to a schedule! It’s your first time on your own and it can be so easy to be overwhelmed by all the freedom. However, creating a routine will improve your overall functioning as well as scheduling study time/work outs/cleaning days will help you stay on top of things. That being said — your schedule shouldn’t be too strict that you’ll miss out on what could be a great memory just because you were “supposed” to be doing something else!
  11. Things that seem like the end of the world in the moment likely won’t matter in a day, a few weeks, or by the time you graduate. Hell, you may not even remember whatever it was somewhere down the road. We all mess up sometimes, just remember to keep your chin up and keep yourself accountable. Especially if it has to do with another person’s feelings — being kind is always the most important thing.
  12. If you think you don’t have time for making friends, or that grades are the only thing that matters, just remember: one day you’ll graduate and need to find a job. Connections are key.
  13. That being said, it can be easy to get caught up in socializing and forget what you’re here to do–get a degree. Make sure you have a good work/life balance.
  14. Keeping a clean room helps to keep a clear mind.
  15. Unsure if you want a roommate or not first year? It might seem like a good way to have one guaranteed friend, but let me tell you: that much togetherness puts a lot of strain on anyone, especially in such a novel and turbulent time of your life like first year. My first year roommate and I got along so horribly in first year that I almost switched rooms, but 5 years down the road we’re now friends. If we hadn’t had to share such close quarters we honestly probably would have never had issues with each other. Consider this carefully if you’re considering living with a friend.
  16. Everyone acts like everyone matures instantly when they arrive at college and suddenly drama doesn’t exist anymore. This isn’t true and honestly no matter how old you get probably never will be. Just try your best to stay out of it and focus on being the best version of yourself. It’s always better to take the high road.
  17. And above all, this is your time to figure out who you are. College is a short but definitional period in becoming the person you’re meant to be. It’s so easy to get caught up in what others expect of you, but odds are you won’t be the same person after college as you were when you started. Try to stop focusing on what people want from you and take these years to learn what you want from yourself. And of course, most importantly, have fun!