I tried to keep the nostalgia at bay. But last night it crept up on me while I was browsing Instagram and I saw a post about the college kids heading to campus. More specifically, I saw a post about all of the sorority girls getting ready for recruitment.
Once upon a time, I was in a sorority.
And I loved it.
I know this might surprise some of you, but don't believe everything you see in movies or TV about Greek life. We're not all assholes. Some of us are pretty decent people who just like to have a good time and go to a theme party or two. Why not? It's college.
Ten years ago at this time I was leaving my parents house and heading to college in Lincoln at the University of Nebraska. My number one fear: driving in such a big city. I didn't think I could do it! The intersections were SO BIG. And yielding at a green light? No way. I was a goner.
My parents number one fear: that I was going through sorority recruitment. They weren't afraid of sororities in general, my sister was in one after all. They were afraid that I was trying to join a sorority.
I wasn't my sister. Like my dad put it that day when he moved me into the dorms a week early to go through recruitment, "You sure you want to do this? You're not .... Jade, you know?"
Translation: you're not nice.
I used to be a little more "outspoken," what can I say... Don't worry, I'm Sally Sunshine now that I've grown up. *although I was never once awarded the "Sally Sunshine" award in my sorority which still pisses me off. What the hell.
Ten years ago joining a sorority terrified me, but I knew it had to be done. I had no chance in hell making friends otherwise.
And so I went to that first day of recruitment with a plastered smile on my face and my parents advice ringing in my ears, "just try to play nice..."
Much to my surprise, I met girls that were just like me. They were all over. I didn't have to play anything at all. Who knew?
And so I joined the house that fit me best. A little place located at 1545 S Street (this address is burned into me for some reason) Kappa Alpha Theta. And as I type that I am so tempted to type out a chant right next to it, but I won't.
In fact all of the songs that were embedded into our heads during recruitment have all come creeping back. When you practice something for hours on end, it doesn't just leave you. And my God, I hated those practices. And the songs. If you want me to be honest, I kinda hated recruitment. It meant having to talk to people.
But I love the thought of it now. Memories are funny like that, moments we didn't necessarily enjoy always seem to look a little better when dusted with a bit of nostalgia.
Anyway, before I wrap up this trip down memory lane I want to leave the current Theta Kats with a bit of advice.
(I know they're not reading this, because college kids are way too cool for blogs. Blog reading comes when you have to get a boring job after college.)
A note to the KATS:
If you're a baby Kat, play in the basement. Stay up with your friends until the wee hours of the morning in the 8-man doing absolutely nothing. Those hours of nothing are some of my favorites when I look back.
If you're a big Kat, go to the house sometimes. And not just to steal food. Just go to hang out. Because once you leave it will be creepy if you come back too much.
Get in the weird closet. Literally and metaphorically. Don't take everything so seriously. It's college and you're in a sorority, have some fun with it.
Don't take for granted you're living under the same roof as your best friends. Do you realize how wonderful this is? DO YOU? You don't, and that's what kills me. I certainly didn't. Someday you might lives hundreds of miles from these friends and only see them once a year. And then some of them might start having babies. And then you'll be all alone in Chicago on a Tuesday morning writing a nostalgic post about the good old days at 1545 S street. Hypothetically speaking.
The "older girls" in the house will always be the older girls. Even when you're 28, you will see the girls that were seniors when you were a freshman and they'll forever be a senior to you, and therefore will always be cooler.
Unless they were an asshole. In that case you'll see them and smile politely and even though you've probably both grown up, you'll still think "man, you were such an asshole to me."
That being said, don't be an asshole. Don't be the tattletale. It's not worth it.
Try to go to all the things. (In this case do as I say, not as I did... errp.) Just go to some of the things at least.
And if you're in the Stargazer room, please look for my signature in the closet. I tried my best to leave my mark around the house, even if that just meant new locks on the kitchen door. And sooner or later, I'm going to have my photo on the famous Theta wall right next to Tory Burch and Sheryl Crow.
Enjoy this week. You might have to force yourself at times, but your future-self will thank you for it. Put away the iphones and be present. Be really really present. And enjoy the goofy late night shenanigans, you probably won't have moments like this anywhere else, or with anyone else.
Most importantly, keep your eye on the prize. And the prize is that first going out night after recruitment. Oh man. So many fun times.
And if you see me at the first football game in a few weeks please don't get weirded out if you catch me staring at you with a longing look in my eye. Just embrace it.
We are all friends. And always will be. Theta, you, and me.