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  • UF Chi Omega

Living in a Golden Haze

I’ve been living my life in a golden haze.

A year ago, I graduated from high school. It was summer, I was going to college, and the world had this hazy golden glow that made everything seem brilliant and brand new. My first step in my new world would be my mark on this new land.

I came to UF for Summer B; it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. That golden haze was there every day, dancing around me as I walked to class, shimmering around the dining hall, radiating off the streets in the blazing heat of the Florida summer. Everything was incredible and new, and it proved to me what I knew to be true when I opened my acceptance letter: the University of Florida is my home, and I love it here.

When I came back for the fall, I stumbled. The golden haze was gone, replaced by humidity, frizzy hair, and thousands upon thousands of people. Where summer was quaint and quiet, fall was a mosh pit at a rock concert. I distracted myself where I could, and I gained a shadow. Not gold this time, but more of a solid orange.

I was reassured by this orange shadow that followed me because it reminded me of the reality of school, work, friends, and games, but a large part of me ached for the shimmer of possibilities I had left in the summer.

I chased that golden haze when I returned to UF for the spring. I made a pact with myself to say yes more, to try new things, and put myself out there, which is how I ended up at an interest meeting for Spring Recruitment. And how, from there, I found myself at the Chi Omega house on a random Saturday, meeting the women that would become my sisters.

When I got the call that I was being offered a bid for the 2023 Spring class of Chi Omega, I saw the golden haze I’d been missing for so long. I had never considered myself a sorority girl, but the moment was so pure that the only answer was yes.

Gold glitter has been in my eyes since I got that call, so bright that it’s sometimes blinding. Being a part of this chapter has been such an experience for me for a thousand reasons. For one, I never thought I’d join a sorority. Even more, I never thought I would ADORE it. I’ve met so many incredible women with such a diverse appreciation for life in my time at Chi O, and they’re the people that keep the golden haze around my eyes.

It’s freedom, I’ve realized, that I’ve been searching for this whole time. Looking for the chance to be myself without restraint, to meet the people that take me as I am and ask for nothing else, and to have the experiences I’ve been dreaming about. Chi Omega has been kind to me, and I couldn’t ask for anything better.

To MC '23: I hope you find your golden haze, freedom, and home as I found mine.

All my love,

Hailey Petriccione MC '22

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