USAphi

Since coming to Hopkins, I have done a lot of things I would have never expected myself to do. I successfully finished a half-marathon, I (moderately) successfully completed a college-level math course, I started eating naturally green foods, the list goes on and on. Yes there is a lot that’s different about the college junior sitting before you today from the seventeen year old who first stepped foot on campus three years ago.

But the change that probably would have surprised pre-college Tess the most is my decision to go Greek and join Alpha Phi. You see when I was applying to colleges, the thing that I was opposed to the most, even more opposed to than foods grown by Mother Nature, was a university dominated by Greek Life. I had seen the movies and believed the rumors – I knew I was not a sorority girl. I made it a prerequisite that any school I applied to had a low-key or non-existent Greek community. So when I arrived on Homewood as a freshman, I was perfectly content in my decision to lead a Greek-less life.

Icewater - Round One of Rush

Hopkins has Rush in the beginning of spring semester, and so I had some time to mull over decision. Because the further into the semester I got, the more I realized that I had some reconsidering to do. I met girls involved in Greek Life, and realized that these were people I not only wanted to be friends with, but looked up to as well. I started to understand that this was an opportunity to connect with girls who otherwise I would have spent my entire four years at Hopkins not knowing. I wanted to add some diversity to my social life at Hopkins, and Greek Life seemed like just the outlet.

So proud of my painting skills (thanks also to Ruthie and Dana).

I also began to appreciate that in joining the Greek Community at Homewood, I would not be forfeiting my other activities and organizations. Greek Life at Hopkins does not dominate any aspect of one’s social or extra-curricular existence, but rather serves as one of many smaller communities you can chose to become a part of. I am still as involved in my other activities as ever, and have even managed to swing taking on leadership positions within the Alpha Phi chapter as well.

So as you can see, at the end of my freshman fall I made the decision to forgo my previous (mis)conceptions of Greek Life and Rush in the spring. And I have not looked back since. I forged even closer bonds with girls I already knew, and met countless others I didn’t know existed. Through Alpha Phi I have found my JHU bestie and roommate Dana, the light of my life/my little JHU_Ruthie and so many other amazing friends. Alpha Phi has allowed me to grow as a leader as I now serve on the executive board as Vice President of Programming and Education. I have learned out to plan and execute events, raise money and lead meetings. I am now a part of an international organization that helped me to meet friends and connections while I was abroad last summer in London. Alpha Phi has been such an incredible resource and asset to my life, that I still can’t believe I almost missed out on this amazing experience because of my previous biases.

Preference - Round 3 with ma roomie and little.

So perspective students, I encourage you to keep an open-mind about Greek Life at Hopkins, or wherever you end up attending. It might turn out to be for you, or it might not. The important thing is to make an informed decision and not believe everything you hear ahead of time.

Other resources: because I was recently admonished for writing a too “female-centric” blog, I have included a list of links to other Greek blog entries that could potentially appeal to both a male/female audience. Enjoy!

Spring Phi-ver

ΑΦ

When I arrived on campus a year and a half ago, you would have had better luck convincing me to switch my History major to a degree in Biophysics than you would have convincing me to join Greek Life. I was sure I knew what sorority life was like, and I was sure it wasn’t for me. Well a year and a half later, I am (uncharacteristically) admitting that I was wrong. Very very wrong. This is the story of how stubborn JHU_Tess kept an open mind, and became an Alpha Phi sister.

Now a little bit of background on Greek Life at Hopkins before I begin. About 25% of students on campus participate in Greek Life, so it is safe to say that it does not dominate the social scene in the slightest. That was actually a really important factor in my decision to come to Hopkins, because I knew I could never be happy at a school where the social life was so homogenous.

Sororities at Hopkins do not have houses, so where and who I live with will never be dictated by Greek involvement – which I love. Another cool aspect of Hopkins Greek Life is that Rush does not occur until the start of spring semester. This not only allowed me to make a varied and diverse friend group, but afforded me the opportunity to learn more about Greek Life before I decided whether or not it was for me.

Alpha Phi Sophomores!

I think I began reconsidering my stance on sororities mid-fall of my freshman year. I had learned quickly that the negative stereotypes I had seen of sorority girls really did not exist at Hopkins. I learned about the cool community service events they participated in, as well as all the fun social benefits of joining. What really changed my mind was the girls I met, specifically in Alpha Phi.

Going through Rush I realized that Alpha Phis were the girls that reminded me of my friends from home, the girls I wanted to know better, the girls I could see myself being friends with. They were fun and smart, and most of all, they were genuine. I had discovered my home within Homewood.

Since joining last spring I haven’t regretted my decision once. Alpha Phi has given me the chance to meet amazing people who’s paths I would have never crossed had it not been for Alpha Phi.

Moderately obsessed with my big Annie.

I love Alpha Phi’s History and traditions, its amazing national presence as well as its dedication to its philanthropic cause, Heart Health. I love my chapter, Zeta Omicron, and all of my incredible sisters. I love our date parties and mixers, our sisterhood events and my Alpha Phi phamily.

This current semester I am taking on a leadership position within the chapter as Manager of New Member Orientation. I am so excited to get to know our New Member class, and act as a resource for them as they are integrated into the sorority. Together with one of my besties Dana, we will teach our new sisters all about what it means to be an Alpha Phi, and what a special title that is.

I’ve changed a lot since college, and am proud to say that I am a little more open minded than when I first stepped foot on Homewood. I have expanded my food pallet – as of late I now eat yogurt (!!) and oatmeal. Though it has been said I resemble a dying walrus when I run, I am currently training for a half-marathon! And I changed my mind about Greek Life.

Being in Alpha Phi has provided me with outlets for campus involvement, countless memories and amazing friends. My life at Hopkins is filled with laughter, love and support and that is no doubt largely because of Alpha Phi.

Spring has Sprung (almost)

Alpha Phi love!

A strange phenomenon happened to the students of Johns Hopkins this past Thursday and Friday. A sudden shift in temperature brought flocks of us Blue Jays out from the protection of our heated dorms out into the bright Baltimore daylight.

Rather than holed up in the library reading, I found myself out on a sundrenched patio with my friend Zoe, sipping on an iced coffee, perusing our latest American Presidency homework. As I walked to class, I noticed hoards of my fellow classmates invading “the beach” (our grassy field in front of the library), eager to enjoy the first truly beautiful days of the semester. UGG boots were replaced by flip-flops, students sported sunglasses rather than scarves, the campus was suddenly animated with life. Needless to say, this change in climate has gotten me psyched for spring, and all that Hopkins has to offer in these upcoming months.

Now because I am only a freshman, I have yet to experience a “Hopkins Spring,” but my upperclassmen friends have assured me I am in for quite a treat. I have decided to dedicate this blog to the events I am most excited for in the upcoming months.

Me and some of my new ΑΦ sisters!

As you can read all about in my fellow blogger/Alpha Phi sister Marina’s blog, recruitment for Greek Life at Hopkins occurred last week (Hopkins has a Spring Rush as opposed to many other schools who rush in the Fall). Now I came to college determined that I was not a “sorority girl” believing all the stereotypes I had seen in the movies. However, as first semester went on I met lots of upperclassmen who encouraged me to at least go through recruitment so I could make an informed decision whether or not this was something I wanted to be a part of.

Well I went through Rush and can proudly say that I am a new member of the Alpha Phi chapter at JHU! What changed my mind about the whole notion of Greek Life were all the amazing sisters I met at the Alpha Phi events in the past couple weeks. From our upcoming “All You Can Eat Charity Dinner” to our mixers with different Fraternities on campus, I am so excited for all the Alpha Phi events this spring. I am so glad that I decided to keep an open mind about the idea of Greek Life, because I can already tell it was one of the best decisions I have made at Hopkins thus far.

Me and Amanda on Bid Night!

One of many students’ favorite aspects of this semester is the three-day fair Hopkins hosts every April called Spring Fair. This student run event is open to the surrounding community as well as the students, and is one of the largest university fairs in the entire nation! Vendors come from all over to set up booths around the Homewood Campus and many Hopkins organizations use this opportunity to raise money for charities.

Another event upperclassmen always seem to bring up is Homecoming. Because our lacrosse teams are our only Division I teams, Hopkins has Homecoming weekend in the spring rather than the fall like many other universities. Alumni have the opportunity to come back to campus for the weekend to reunite with each other and meet the current Hopkins students. Additionally, the artist Wiz Khalifa will be performing at this year’s Homecoming, which has many students (including myself) extremely psyched.

Between the new beautiful weather and all the exciting events coming up, I know the coming months are sure to bring some amazing memories (and interesting blogs) here at Hopkins!