You are a college student, and you log onto Facebook. What do you see? Left and right, post after post, you see banners, pictures, Tumblr pages, and the call-to-action for what some would consider the most wonderful time of the school year. Yep ladies and gentlemen, recruitment season has returned. But maybe some of us aren’t so impressed.
You see these girls wearing matching outfits, with Greek letters on their shirts and you wonder why anyone would want to feel branded like that. These girls are facing away from the camera, and looking at each other laughing. They must be sooo funny. Instead of thinking how happy they look, you ask yourself why. Why would anyone want to be a sorority woman? Why would they want to pay for friends?
Trust me, I was that college student on Facebook who thought the same exact thing. Until I did the thing I thought I would never do.
So go ahead, tell me I “paid for my friends” when I joined a sorority. Call me basic, as I drink my grande soy iced latte with my sisters. Call me reckless when you see me out partying with them.
Go on about how my “sisterhood” is just an expensive club that will get me through my undergrad. They are people who I dress up and take pictures with on the weekends—after all, a sorority is just a bunch of pretty girls who get drunk together, right?
Tell me I “paid for my friends” who baked cookies and watched Disney movies instead of going out and meeting guys. Or the ones who did go out together, but made absolutely certain that no one was left behind and 100% safe.
Tell me I “paid for my friends” who are always ready to go out to breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner together. The ones who reminded each other that we never had to be alone unless it is by our choice.
Tell me I “paid for my friends” who were there for breakup number #1, #2, #3, and so on and so forth. The ones who picked up the pieces from the bad guys and bad situations they always saw coming but never rubbed in each other’s faces though they told you so all along.
Tell me I “paid for my friends” that offered one of us their hometown family house to live in when she felt abandoned with nowhere else to stay.
Tell me I “paid for my friends” who were there when someone’s father had an affair.
Tell me I “paid for my friends” who were there when someone’s father or mother died, (or grandfather, grandmother)—and who remember the death anniversary and do everything in their power to make that day a little more bearable.
Tell me I “paid for my friends” who gave nothing but moral support when one of us came out.
Tell me I “paid for my friends” who held each other’s hands through chemo and fighting and beating cancer. The ones who stayed at the hospital overnight, for multiple nights—any and every time.
Tell me I “paid for my friends” who became my role models. The ones who landed their dream jobs straight out of college at Vogue.
Tell me I “paid for my friends” who made sure we never had to go through anything alone, whether that was as a bathroom buddy or a shoulder to cry on through life’s hardest trials and tribulations: the breakups, affairs, cancer and disease, deaths, depressions, and suicides.
Collectively my sorority sisters have experienced the worst things a person could possibly go through. Those people I “paid for” made sure none of us faced those frightful events by ourselves. No matter what I did or did not say to them, it was unspoken that they would be there no matter what. Even the cruelest times didn’t have to be so daunting or lonely.
During college I was fortunate enough to have been in an organization of women whom I am sincerely grateful to call my sisters. Sisters who will last more than four of my college red solo cup years.
These women gave me a reason to feel like the cool girl, something I never thought and still do not believe I will ever be. Admittedly, there was a time when I shied away from these people. I was intimidated by them and I couldn’t help but second-guess if I belonged. Why would they want to be around someone like me?
But they were there for me through all the ups and downs. From day one, they welcomed me with open arms and even when I thought I wanted to let them go, they never did with me. I cannot say there are many people in my life who have fought for me when I was ready to call it quits, burn bridges, and never look back. But these women have given me a place where I can finally fit in, somewhere I can finally belong and fit the mold. These women who were both the Vans with purple hair and the Kate Spades and highlights of this world are my sisters.
They’re crazy, eccentric, diverse, intelligent, and a force to be reckoned with.
These people I “paid for” filled the void I thought I could never get back after I lost my mother. They were there when the most important person in my life was borderline suicidal.
So go ahead, tell me I “paid for my friends” when I joined a sorority. Because you know what? Yeah, I did pay for all of the above. It was worth every penny. Because what I “paid for” weren’t the people who became my soul sisters but the opportunity to find them and call them my own, and no one can put a price to that. These memories, these bonds, these people, this support is priceless.