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  • Writer's pictureLilly Randolph

The Embodiment of a Symphony Sister

Every week before Eta Delta’s chapter, sisters are given the opportunity to nominate one another for “symphony sister.” This is a tradition where we celebrate an active member of the chapter for being a reflection of one of the lines of our symphony.

For example, Lexie Errigo reminds me of the line “to be discouraged never” because she never lets the obstacles that she faces stop her from doing amazing things in business, work and career development. She is killing it as a director of Cardinal Cabinet.

Katelyn Chau reminds me “to work earnestly” because even though I don’t think I have ever seen that girl rest; she performs so well in everything she is involved in such as Florida Cicerones and the Opus Coffee staff.

Coleman Brown makes me think of “to speak kindly” because she is always reminding me to stay positive and look for the good in people. Coleman pulls the good out of everyone she encounters, and I feel like I am my best self when I am around her.

Lauren Viola is the embodiment of the line “to act sincerely.” She is such an intentional friend who pours out her whole heart into others. Lauren will text me “I miss you” if as little as 24 hours go by without us seeing each other.

Every woman in this chapter embodies our symphony and values so well. Because of this, I could go on and on about the lines that certain people remind me of.

There is one woman, however, that comes to mind every time I sit down to enter my nomination, though she is no longer an active member.

This woman lives “constantly above snobbery of word or deed.” She is “democratic rather than exclusive” and “loyal under any and all circumstances.” She has shown me throughout my life to “place character before appearances” and to “be womanly always.”

This woman is my best friend. She is my inspiration in Chi Omega and in life. This woman is my mom.

My mom, Alice Arnall Randolph, received a bid from the Eta Delta chapter of Chi Omega in 1989 and was a member for all four years of college. During her time in Eta Delta, she was involved in organizing our annual philanthropy event for the Make-A-Wish foundation, Sandblast. She always shows me pictures from when she wore high-waisted khakis to the event. She loved to dress up for fun social themes and tells me stories about how they would stand on the tables and sing songs together at family-style dinners.

My Chi Omega story looks a little bit different. I served as a Pi Chi in last year’s Panhellenic recruitment. I am the External Social Chair, which means I plan events with fraternities, and I look forward to living in the chapter house next year for the sole purposes of pranking my sisters and gossiping with our house mom Gina.

When I was initiated in 2019, my mom was right there by my side. I remember seeing her next to me and being so overwhelmed with joy that all I could do was cry.

After 18 years of hearing her talk about an organization that played such an important role in shaping her into the incredible woman that she is today, I didn’t think I would ever be worthy of sharing the letters “Chi Omega” with her even though I longed to.

My mom is everything good in this world. She works so hard and loves so well. She balances fun and seriousness in her daily life. She checks in on people and reminds them how important they are. She knows when I need a laugh and has even driven over four hours just to give me a hug in Gainesville when she knew I was sad.

I know that the past few months have not been easy for her. Life has brought some really hard moments, and I have a hard time understanding why someone so good has to have those experiences. Regardless, she has shown me in these times what it looks like to approach life with grace and patience. She is the image of strength to me.

My mom never told me to choose Chi Omega because she is all for letting me pick my own path, but when I spoke to the older women who recruited me, specifically Coryell Dreyer and Allie Henderson, I was reminded so much of her. I knew immediately that I had found my home away from home.

Mommy, if you’re reading this, know that I miss you every day that we are apart. Growing up is hard and college is overwhelming. But something about this house and the people in it make everything okay.

I think often about the memories you have shared with me of your time in Chi Omega, and I love that I am getting to make my own to share right back with you. You have told me how the women you met in such a short amount of time were your bridesmaids and are still a call away even when your college years are in the past. I can confidently say that the sweet friends that Chi Omega has given me will be in my wedding too. They are everything we prayed I would have in my friendships.

I know times have changed, and the house might not look the same. We might not do chapter meetings the same way. We don’t have family-style meals, and we definitely do not stand up on the tables and sing. Still, I know that you’d be so proud of what this chapter has become and what we stand for. The women around me constantly push me to be the best version of myself just as your sisters did for you and you have ALWAYS done for me.

I love it here. Chi Omega is everything you always told me it was and more. The 807 cures my homesickness every time I walk through the doors because I am reminded of you in everything I do and everyone I encounter. I even know exactly where your composites are and turn to them when I need to see your smiling face.

I love you so much, Mom, and I will never be able to thank you enough for almost 21 years of showing me what it means to be a “symphony sister.”

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