My name is Liz, and I’m not a sorority girl. Growing up in Switzerland with two parents who wouldn’t touch greek life with a seven-and-a-half foot pole in their college days, I had very little exposure to these social organizations. I learned about sororities from movies like “Legally Blonde” and “House Bunny”. My general consensus was that all greek life is about is crazy parties that no one remembers and catty social politics. Neither interested me in the slightest and it all looked very petty and self-absorbed from the outside. Not even my cousin, a charismatic leader in the Gamma Phi chapter of Kappa Sigma, could convince me otherwise when he pledged his fraternity and flourished. When I moved to Ohio my senior year and decided to attend High Point University in North Carolina, I not only had no intention of rushing or pledging, I was vehemently opposed to any beta-omicron-alpha-pi-kappa-phi-psi organization. I listen to weird music that no one has heard of and I like philosophy books too much to have time to curl my eyelashes in the morning.
The first day of an honors religion class, I sat in my seat so early that I’m sure I left a sweat imprint on the thing. As the class filed in, a blonde hurricane defied the silent setting of the classroom and began to converse with me immediately. The girl was engaging and sharp as a tack, but never condescending, all in that first encounter. In class, she sat in the front row, challenged the path of discussion at every turn, and had an airy humor about her that left the entire class in tears from laughing. By the end of the week, I wanted to be her best friend.
I met her once in the bakery. She wore stitched letters that read Kappa Delta. “Well, there’s a flaw in everyone,” I thought. As our friendship progressed from an acquaintance status to a near obsession that first semester, I was only more impressed by her compassion and her ability to entrance all those who she encountered. She listened to my music, she had been to Africa to vaccinate children, she never wore makeup. She was nothing like the vapid girls I had seen on the screen. We never discussed the topic of joining a greek organization- she never tried to recruit me actively or “suck up” to me, which I never expected her to do, but may have expected from the typical air-headed sorority girl. My new best friend was anything but typical.
We sat one night before winter break in Whole Foods. It was my birthday and we were eating tofu. A couple nights later marked deadline for rushing. I examined the face of my new best friend. Driven, confident, and wise: her sorority had supported her the way she was. And then it hit me: it was not greek life that was closed minded. It was me. I had been so focused on avoiding joining an organization that would not support me, that would trap me in the artificial, that I had not realized who was the real hypocrite. Stuck in my preconceived notions of what it meant to be a sorority girl, I was blinded by my own prejudices. What did that say about me as a person? If I was so quick to judge greek life, was I any better than those backstabbing blondes in the movies I watched? Furthermore, if a sorority could provide for me what it had for my new role model, what harm could it be to participate in the rush process? And so after deliberation, I decided to dip my toe in and sent in my rush application the day of the deadline
Here’s the irony of it all. My best friend never told me that Kappa Delta was “the best” or “the coolest” or “the brightest”. She showed me through her kindness, not just towards me, but towards those who could and would do nothing for her in return. Exuding confidence from every pore, she embraced and thrived off of what set her apart. And greek life member or not, she included everyone in her circle of friendship. That’s what struck me the most; Even if I had not decided to be a Kappa Delta, I know that our bond would have been just as strong.
The rest is ancient (greek) history: how I met so many other intelligent, confident women at the Kappa Delta house throughout rush, how my best friend finally sat me down on pref night and told me how much she saw a Kappa Delta in me (and how I cried when she told me), how I trampolined with my sisters on Bid Day, and how I nearly passed out when three months later, my best friend revealed herself as my big.
I’ll probably never own a piece of Lilly Pulitzer. I’m broke and pastels are probably best worn on girls with east coast beach houses. Black is still my favorite color. But I’ll wear a Vineyard Vines baseball cap on a sunny day, and I’ll wear my stitched letters with pride because they say to the world “I am a Kappa Delta.” I am always in pursuit of the best and kindest version of myself. I plan to change the world and remain humble in my efforts. And most importantly, my mind has opened up from when I first sat in that religion classroom, sweating through the armpits of my thrift store sweater. They should make a movie about how going greek absolutely changes you for the better. I’d be the first in line to buy a ticket.