When wrote my admissions essay for Ohio State, I wrote all about how I wanted to go to a college that I could get involved in. I wanted to find an organization or two to really sink my teeth into. I wanted to get involved to make up for the fact that I didn't in high school. But I will be honest, I never thought I would be in the group I'm in today.
I was always the girl you’d hear saying, “I'd rather hang with the guys – less drama.” I was the girl you'd see hanging out at the neighboring guys suite instead of having girl-talk in my own. The one you'd catch watching football, drinking beer, and swearing at the television. Being in a room full of girls sounded more like torture than fun. Don't get me wrong, I had my girls, but when it came to making new friends in college I steered clear of females for the most part.
But then my sophomore year something changed. No matter how much fun I had hanging with the guys, I needed to branch out and start making more of an effort to connect with women my age. And that's when I met Shannon. Shannon was one of my suite-mates that year, and to be honest I knew I loved her from the moment she called me on my home phone that summer (who does that anymore??) to introduce herself before we got back to school. I had ever met someone my age who was so in-tune with her femininity, so proud of her womanhood. Shannon was my saving grace, and I didn't even realize it.
As the school year got rolling, Shannon dove right into Ohio State. Even as a transfer she did not hesitate taking her new journey and making it worthwhile. One night Shannon found herself listening to a guest speaker, Alexis Jones – founder of I AM THAT GIRL. When she went to hear her speak, I don't think Shannon knew it was going to light a fire in her the way it did. She knew that she had to bring I AM THAT GIRL right here to Ohio State. With the help of a couple girls who felt the same spark, they created a local chapter right here at OSU.
I was hesitant at first, but once I mustered up the courage to attend meetings and get involved. I could not be happier with the way it has changed my life. IATG has helped me realize what womanhood is all about. I have realized that I can still hang with the guys, but I can also embrace being a woman. It made me face the fact that I had been hiding from building relationships with other women, and it needed to stop.
IATG is an amazing organization. It emphasizes the importance of self-love over self-doubt and collaboration over competition. It is a group of women who are passionate about making changes in this world for the benefit of both men and women. It is a community that consistently builds one another up without ever fearing that someone will tear them down for doing so.
Through IATG I have met some of the most inspiring people, had the most thought provoking conversations, and I have become the most confident version of myself that I think I've ever known. I have realized that being friends with more women doesn't have to change me; I can still be the same person I am, but I can love myself even more with the support of all these girls. I don't know where I'd be today without each and every one of them, and I especially don't know where I'd be without Shannon.