By Jessica Hickam Roffe and Liz Hickam, Pi Epsilon/Roanoke College
Growing up an identical twin you're often asked, "Do you do everything together?" Our immediate answer is always "no," because my twin sister Liz and I were raised to be individuals and feel as though we have very distinct lives from one another. However, when it comes down to it, we have the exact same DNA (yep, we're clones) so we can't help but be drawn to the same interests. At one point we were both living in San Diego, both working in commercial real estate, and both driving Swedish convertibles! In fact, when I left San Diego, Liz took my job. Did I mention we both went to Roanoke College, majored in business administration and joined the same sorority?
But, we promise we don't do everything together.
Since graduating in 2003, Chi Omega has taken on a whole new meaning in our lives. After college, we moved 2,400 miles from home to San Diego. Neither of us had even been to California and we only knew one person in the whole city.
We both started our careers, but struggled making new, quality friends like we had in our college sorority days. At first, we were hesitant to join because we didn't know what the other alumnae would be like and we were reluctant to go to an event at an unfamiliar place where we did not know anyone. Like a lot of Sisters, we were initially worried the women might already have their cliques and not be open to outsiders or new girls. However, we couldn't have been more wrong. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming and the alumnae group offered a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests.
I quickly became active and joined the San Diego Alumnae Chapter Board as Vice President. It was not long before I had convinced Liz to join the Board with me as Treasurer. And now, five years later, Liz serves as President. The main benefit of the alumnae group that we have enjoyed most is the friendships. A large number of the ladies are not just acquaintances we see at Chi O events, but true friends we hang out with on a daily basis.
We love meeting new Chi Omega alumnae because we feel like all of the "hard work" in making new friends is out of the way. These friends have been carefully selected for us. We know right off the bat that these women are kind, lovable, and loyal, and that we share a unique bond. We have even met several women who were close to moving back to their hometowns, only to find a new home in the alumnae group and choose to stay.
In November 2009, I had to leave Liz and all of my Chi Omega friends behind to start a new life in New York City. My "retirement" from Chi Omega leadership did not last long and I soon became Vice President of the NYC Alumnae Chapter. A year later, I was President and Liz and I were representing from coast to coast. While it was fun serving together on the San Diego Board, we continue to help each other and our alumnae groups from across the country by sharing ideas and advice.
We cannot imagine what our lives would be like today if we had left Chi Omega behind us when we graduated. How many friendships we would have missed out on...how many adventures...and how many opportunities! There are over 300,000 Chi Omegas out there in the world and while in college we only had the chance to meet 250 of them. I am so glad that, nearly a decade ago, I took a minute to look up the San Diego Chi Omega Alumnae website, email the chapter, and attend one event. Had I not taken each of those steps, our lives would be a much emptier version of what they are today.
It's funny how confused outside friends get when we introduce them to a Chi Omega and explain that they are a sorority sister, but that we did not go to the same college. I guess for so many others, Greek life ends with graduation. But not for us; we ARE Chi Omegas and it truly is for a lifetime. And, for some, it's even in your DNA!
Jessica Hickam Roffe and Liz Hickam are not only identical twin sisters, but they are also Chi Omega Sisters. Both were initiated into the Pi Epsilon Chapter of Chi Omega in 2000 at Roanoke College in Virginia. This year marks another parallel, as Jessica took on the role of President of the New York City Alumnae Chapter and Liz entered her second year as President of the San Diego Alumnae Chapter. Jessica lives with her husband, Peter, in Manhattan and works as a Space Planner for Victoria's Secret. Liz lives with her fiancé, Greg, in San Diego and works as a Project Coordinator for West Wireless Health. If you are an alumna in the New York City or San Diego area, Jessica and Liz would love to hear from you! Just email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.