There I was. Eight years old and already hooked on rom-com’s and dramatic reality shows. Like most little girls, I had a pretty specific idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up. Unlike most girls, I wasn’t dreaming of shining in the spotlight of stardom, living in a big beautiful house as a stay-at-home mom, or standing in front of a colorful classroom of smiling little ones. I was wishing for something fun and fabulous that certainly wasn’t going to be featured on Career Day. I wanted to be a sorority girl.
In fact, from the moment I snuck into my first PG-13 movie (Legally Blonde, obvi) and woke up early to catch reruns of the oh-so-90’s MTV series Sorority Life; that was it. I knew that this was the right career path for me. I was confident that I could somehow earn a salary for wearing sparkly pink outfits and living in a house full of Reese Witherspoon lookalikes.
Of course once I approached the tragedy that is the painfully awkward and primarily flat-chested years of middle school, I started to wise up about my career plans as I came to the realization that sorority houses were not synonymous with legitimate paid work. And although my “truth about Santa Claus” moment caused me to sob harder than I did after I drunkenly received the memo that the Real Housewives of New Jersey is scripted, I held onto my faith in knowing that this dream could still be mine even if it couldn’t be my permanent role in life.
As I entered the gloriously irresponsible trial run of adulthood known as college, I was finally given the chance to pursue my lifelong goal of being the next Elle Woods without the hassles of struggling through law school applications. Since I was not exempt from participating in rush week (which was probably a close second to those applications tbh), I was bombarded with hearing one particular phrase which was uttered on repeat by members of each house.
The “not four years” mantra is literally so overstated and cliché. Obviously I thought it was beyond perfect and accurate when I first pledged, but now that I’m a senior (kill me) and seeing it through the lenses of my tastefully detailed and surprisingly convincing knockoff Chanel’s, I am privy to certain truths. My almost obtained degree in a liberal arts major that offered the most free electives, leads me to establish the scholarly contention that this statement is just way too basic, even for someone who’s more basic than the “Iced Skinny Mocha Double Latte” I religiously pick up from Starbs in preparation for my late entrance to class.
The truth is: my sorority experience really wasn’t just four years. It was so much more than that. It was the very best four years of my life. My years as an active sister were more than I ever dreamed they could be and everything I had always wanted for myself. The sheer amount of genuine happiness that this time has brought me proves that I was completely wrong in my childhood assumption that my dream job was a fallacy.
I was destined to be a sorority woman from the time I was a little girl, and I will always be a sorority woman until the day I die. This dream of mine will live on regardless of what obstacles I may face and despite the judgments I may receive from the “real world”. I will always be this best and most authentic version of myself, even when I’m forced to start settling for practicalities over inherent desires. I will always be a big to my two littles even when life does not allow me to physically be there for them. I will always be a Little to the woman who selflessly took me under her wing and introduced me to her sisterhood. I will always be a pledge sister to the girls who stood by me from the beginning and grew alongside me in forming the most authentic bond of friendship I had ever experienced in my life. I will always be a “younger sister” to the women who extended me a bid and welcomed me into their arms with unconditional love. I will always be a member of my chapter even when I am sobbing through my alumna induction ceremony. And I will one day fulfill my role as future bridesmaid to the sister who had her Pinterest wedding planned since our first semester living together. I will always be gracious, ambitious, and loyal in living out the mission of our founders.
Above all else, I will always keep the promise that I made to myself, to my incredible sisters, and to my outstanding organization. As I stood there in that white dress with my rose in hand next to the sisters I had always longed for, I knew that this was the one dream I could never let slip away. Though nothing terrifies me more than facing the reality I will soon be forced to say goodbye to the sisters who taught be how to love and be loved like I never had before, I take comfort in knowing that I am one of the privileged few who truly got to live out their dream. I have come to the conclusion that sororities—and the women in them– will always be stereotyped and criticized for their decisions. Times will change and people will say what they want about us but I am confident that as long as there are women who are seeking contagious personalities, unparalleled opportunities to turn up like no other, and wholehearted friendships, the dream of sorority will thrive in spite of all the haters. Because it’s not just four years and not just for life, this dream is eternal..
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