The scariest part of coming back after withdrawal is finding your place on campus again. As a sophomore, Yukino Nagai ‘18 had to make the difficult decision to temporarily suspend her education. It would be two and a half years before she would return to MIT.
When Nagai returned, it was like starting freshman year all over again, but before she had left Nagai was able to find a place in a sorority: Alpha Chi Omega Sorority (AXO). Not only was AXO supportive of her taking a withdrawal, but AXO also welcomed her back with open arms. Nagai recalls receiving a hand-written card from a member of AXO before she left MIT writing in support of her decision and faith that she would be able to return one day.
“To this day, it is one of my most treasured gifts because it shows the kind of support which one AXO can show one another,” said Nagai.
As difficult as it was to reintegrate into student life and into the MIT community, AXO was always a common thread for Nagai. AXO members consistently invited Nagai to meals and group study sessions; these small gestures had a profound and positive impact on her well-being and happiness. Last semester, Nagai’s roommate even convinced her to participate in the Musical Theater Guild’s production of Into the Woods.
“I couldn’t imagine going through MIT without AXO,” said Nagai.
Not only was AXO a community that Nagai felt a part of, it also taught her the skills she needed to be effective in a role as Vice President of Facility Operations and House Manager.
“As house manager, I’ve gained practical skills that will help me when I own my own 13-bedroom, 26-resident mansion,” she joked.
Being a part of a sorority can be a lot of work, especially during formal recruitment season, but Nagai feels that it has brought herself outside of her comfort-zone. From many of the AXO events, Nagai has learned how to engage in conversations with strangers, which is a skill she has adapted into using during career fairs and networking events.
Nagai knows her friendships through AXO will be lifelong friendships. She has even continued to stay connected with some members of her original pledge class and her “big.”
“Almost every AXO member that I’m close to I wouldn’t have met otherwise because we’re involved in completely different activities.”
AXO has connected Nagai to a diverse group of women and she knows that the atmosphere and values of AXO will always be at the core of her MIT experience.
Additional contributions by Stephanie Tran.