Things My Family Doesn’t Get About Greek Life
Joining Greek Life is a unique experience in college, both for you and for your family (if they aren’t familiar with sororities). As fun as it is to be the family’s trailblazer in that sense, there are things that they just cannot understand, and questions you will be asked because that’s what families do.
“What sorority are you in again?”
Prepare to answer this question over and over again. Somehow, every single person in your family has managed to find out you’ve gone Greek, but no one seemed to pass along the name of your fabulous chapter. If you’re at a family gathering, plan on answering this question every ten minutes or so. But, hey, cut them some slack, you’re (literally) the beginning of a legacy.
“Why do you have a $70 charge from Michael’s?”
This question from your angry mother is tougher to answer. Honestly? It’s because you went a little overboard with the crafting after bid day. Whether it’s for your big, your little, your favorite sister, or even for yourself, the amount of hours you spend crafting in your bedroom multiplies tenfold after rush. Unfortunately, so does the sum of money you spend on said crafting supplies. Apologize quickly, and next time, maybe limit yourself to only three shades of glitter.
“What fraternity is your boyfriend in?”
While your grandma means well, this question becomes a bit awkward when you mention that not only is your boyfriend unaffiliated, but he also happens to not exist. This is basically the college equivalent of “When are you having kids?” Your family will assume that Greek life is a one-stop dating shop, with plenty of eligible bachelors dying for an invitation to your formal. If only…
“How intense was the hazing?”
Your 15-year-old cousin will ask you this one as you sit on the couch watching old reruns of Greek. The problem is, when your family’s only sense of Greek Life comes straight out of Hollywood, a lot gets lost in translation. Hazing is nothing like what they see on the screen, and in a lot of places, hazing is non-existent. So no, we are not being left in the middle of nowhere or being forced to drink until we pass out.
“What do you need more dresses for?”
You’ll get asked this as you’re on the phone with your dad the night before Date Dash begging for money. Before rush, the list of reasons you needed nice outfits was pretty short: interviews and the rare date. After rush, the list becomes ridiculously long. You need meeting dresses, Date Dash dresses, semi-formal dresses, brunch dresses, and a new dress for the Beta formal you finally got asked to. Before you know it, dresses will be about a third of your wardrobe, something your father simply cannot understand.
“Why is the barista looking at you like that?”
It’s because you recognized the letters on her necklace and threw the hand signal, and now you two can’t help but share a knowing look as your aunt waits for her coffee. Once you join Greek Life, you start finding sisters everywhere. Your doctor’s secretary, the librarian, the woman in line next to you at Target, they’re all sisters. No one in your family will ever understand the instant connection you can have with a total stranger because you share the same Greek letters.
“Doesn’t all that coffee keep you up at night?”
This one comes again from your mother, whom you are now convinced spends all her time looking at your bank statements. Yes, you’ve spent $30 at Starbucks over the past couple days, but it was necessary! Greek life takes a lot of time, and often that time comes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Whether is be for skit practice, late-night committee meetings, or helping a sister out with her presentation, if you weren’t staying up late already, you will be now. It’s always worth it, but you’re going to need something to keep you up long enough to plan your next formal.
“Why are you up so early?”
This one you’ll get less often, simply because it’s more likely you were up late than up early. However, occasionally there will be events that require you to wake an hour or two before you normally start your day, mostly for rush or philanthropy events. And if you’re going to be up anyway, you might as well text your mom back about the coffee charges. So don’t worry Mom, nothing’s wrong, we’re just trying to figure out what happened to all our philanthropy decorations at six in the morning.
“Have you gotten alcohol poisoning yet?”
Even though your Uncle George was never in Greek life, he manages to have better party stories than you ever will. Of course, he assumes because you’re Greek that you spend all your time drinking at frat houses and waking up on lawns like he did. Partying hard is another Greek stereotype that you’ll find all over the media, but no, you’ve never simultaneously hugged a toilet and a bottle of Svedka. Your liver is in perfectly stable condition, thank you for asking.
“Why are all your Facebook photos of the same five girls?”
Because those five girls are not only your sisters, they’re also your best friends. You’ve seen each other from one side of rush to the other, and now there’s nothing in your life you don’t want to share with them. They’re the reason you wanted to go Greek in the first place: to meet a group of girls you couldn’t live without. And while they’re definitely not your only new friends, they’re the best of the best. So when your dad asks, it’s because it wouldn’t feel right to fill your feed with anybody else.
Miranda is a student at Chapman University and is a member of CA Omicron chapter of Pi Beta Phi.