I’ll start out by saying this: I wanted to go to a small school. Back in the days of high school, when I was a (not so) innocent senior being forced to sludge my way through the perils of college applications, this was one of my only criteria for the place I’d call home for the next four years. It made sense at the time. Growing up I lived in a state that was home to more trees than people by a long shot, and my life had been a pretty sheltered one. Simply put, I was a small town girl who wasn’t quite ready for the feel of the big city, or in this case, a big campus.
After too many hours spent in the guidance counselor’s office, a few admittedly over dramatic wine fueled mental breakdowns, and multiple nights spent waiting until midnight to find out the fate of my acceptance to various schools, I finally settled on a school that was as close as I was going to get to the perfect fit. It had less than 4,000 students, it was far enough from home that my parents would have to hop on a 5 hour plane ride to visit me (sorry mom and dad), and it was in the south, somewhere I could finally get rid of my snowpants and Uggs. I couldn’t have been more excited. Come August, I packed up my monogrammed bags, said a less than heartfelt goodbye to the place that I grew up in, and hopped on a plane to start my new life.
The first Greek event that I attended was a “Go Greek cookout,” a dinner with all four (I told you it was small) Greek organizations in attendance. The second I walked up to the grass and saw everyone who was there, I knew these were the people I belonged with. I made the rounds socializing with different groups and by the end of the night, I had my heart set on one particular house. These girls were smart, friendly, good looking (let’s be honest, we all judge on appearances at least a little bit), and seemed like they were always down to have a good time. I went through the rest of recruitment, and was elated when I got a bid from them. I cherished my new member experience, taking thousands of pictures on bid day and spending hours going over clues my big left for me with other girls in my pledge class.
Once I was fully initiated and began to know my sisters more and more, I started to really feel how small my chapter was. I didn’t dislike it, it was just different from what I had always expected. My pledge class had fourteen girls in it, and my entire chapter was around forty girls, where at most schools, a single house contains upwards of 200 members. That was more than the size of my school’s entire Greek system.
Being in such a small Greek system definitely has its pros and cons. I can name every single girl in my chapter and probably three personal things about them, but it also means that the few girls that make me want to jump out a window are in my life a lot. It does mean that my chapter is closer than one with 250 members, for better or worse. The 40 of us laugh together, cry together, know each others’ secrets, and whether we like it or not, we’re stuck with one another. Like a real, true family. When we sit in a room together I look around and I don’t see a single face that I don’t have a memory with.
In the end, a big school with crazy parties and twenty different houses might tempt me sometimes, but I don’t think that if I could do it all again, that I would choose anything differently. My tiny Greek system will always be the home of my favorite memories, and on the weekends when I need to get away from it, I can always drive an hour north to the giant state university. I’ll always be a small town girl, whether it shows in the town I live in or the chapter that I now call home, and I wouldn’t have it any other way..
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