My Past Life; a Greek Confession
I have a confession…I’m a sorority girl. Alpha Phi to be precise. I’m not sure why I haven’t talked about it here before but now you know.
How I ended up in a sorority was sort of a fluke. I was from a small town with only four (three girls and one boy) from our class of 152 graduates headed to the only major university in Nebraska. The summer before I headed off to college, I thought I would try to get into a sorority. I didn’t know anyone in a sorority in Lincoln but I just knew that it was a way to get involved on a large campus as well as a great way to make fast friends. And Lincoln had a strong Greek system and hoped there would be someplace I could fit in.
My best friend’s cousin had come back for the summer after his freshman year at UNL and brought his girlfriend Catherine back with him for the weekend. He had met her his freshman year and she happened to be in a sorority there. My BFF’s aunt invited me over to meet her because she knew how important it was for me to know someone before attending Rush. Catherine and I chatted and we instantly connected.
Before I left, Catherine, an Alpha Phi, said she would have her mom, also an Alpha Phi, send a recommendation to Alpha Phi’s UNL chapter for me. A recommendation is basically a letter from an alum giving me a stamp of approval which in turn gave me a slightly better than a snowball’s chance in hell of being remembered past that first night. Being from a small town and not knowing any one at UNL significantly decreased my chances of even being asked back let alone getting into the sorority I wanted. I know this all sounds like every corny 80′s movie you’ve ever seen and parts of it may have been, but I was lucky. I’d met Catherine.
The way Sorority Rush worked at UNL was that all rushees moved in a week and a half prior to classes starting to attend what was called Rush Week. Rush was four nights long. The first night we were at each house for only 30 minutes. The next night it was cut back to 9 houses for a bit longer visit, then the next night 6 with more time, then your final three houses you wanted to visit. After each night you had to turn in a list of the sororities you wanted to go back to the next day and they had to also invite you. It was a like Match Game from Hell. And here is where my luck of meeting Catherine comes in.
There were 18 sororities on campus at that time and on our first night of Rush we had to visit each…and…every…one. The night was a fricking nightmare. It was hot as hell and the air conditioning in each house was laughable. The houses were old and A/C was usually window wall units so any real airflow was felt by the four or five people perched in front of each unit. The rest of us looked like the dude whose face melted when he didn’t look away in Indian Jones and the Lost Ark. You know the scene. We talked to four members from each house and by the end of the night I was starving and had a massive migraine. I may not have even spoken the last couple visits. But by then I couldn’t have cared less.
I visited Alpha Phi somewhere in the middle of that first night and after that, the other houses didn’t sit right with me. It was weird, but after only 30 minutes, I knew Alpha Phi was it. And not just because I “knew” someone in the sea of faces. It was because I felt like I was truly myself when I was there and I was cracking jokes with the girls like we had known each other forever. It was instant chemistry and I couldn’t wait to go back the next day.
Each night, they invited me back and each time I visited, I felt more and more at home. On that final day, after you visit your last three houses, you have to put in order the houses you wanted to be in. I did the big no-no. I went “suicide”. I only put down Alpha Phi. If they didn’t pick me then basically I was screwed. I didn’t put down a 2nd or 3rd choice because I didn’t want to be anywhere else. I know, I know, totally cheesy but it was the only place that I felt each and every person was authentic.
Some of you who know me fairly well (or as well as a person can know someone in cyberspace), know that I don’t play the bullshit game. I actually think God gave me an extra sensitive bullshit meter because after five minutes, I swear I know if I’m getting the real person or an impersonation. I want down-to-earth and authentic people in my life. At Alpha Phi, that’s what I got.
Luckily, they picked me, too (maybe they had a pretty good bullshit meter as well) and I have a lifetime of memories from the great friends I made there. Unfortunately, the girls I went to college with are scattered across the country, even the world, and I don’t see them much anymore. Thankfully, there’s Facebook where I can keep up with everyone.
I’ve been reading a lot about friends going on girlfriend trips lately and it’s something I’ve never done. I wish I had made it a tradition years ago, especially with some of my college friends but now I sort of feel like I’m too far removed.
Life, jobs, kids, never enough time, blah, blah, blah always seem to be my reasons but everyone has those same obstacles. Maybe it’s because I have a couple of close neighbor friends I would love to getaway with but then I would want my college friend Molly to be there and also my high school BFF. That would be a weird mix since they have no connection to each other so I guess I’ve given up on the notion.
If I could do it over again, I would’ve done a better job staying in touch with my Alpha Phi friends and had made it a tradition to get back together as much as we could. For all of you that do have that, hang on tight. From what I’ve been hearing, they’re a very special thing.
From Alpha Phi Nu Chapter’s website, here are some famous Phi’s you may recognize:
Kimberly Williams-Paisley, actress;
Deborah Lippmann, entreprenuer;
Lynn Woolsey, Congresswoman;
Kimberly Kelleher, Publisher of TIME magazine; and
Andrea Wong, CEO of Lifetime Networks
- Do you have an annual girlfriend/guy getaway?
- Were you ever part of the Greek system while in college? Was it a good or bad experience?
- Have you ever been a part of a group, club, organization where you felt “at home” right away?