Alright, ladies and…err…more ladies. This is it. The grand finale to every post I’ve written over my long, lettered four years.
We’re going to talk about Greek life. One. Last. Time.
Here’s the quick and dirty breakdown for those unfamiliar with Hopkins’ unique sorority recruitment process. It’s done in the spring, usually during the first week of classes. There are five Panhellenic sororities on campus, and each generally shares the same recruitment protocol. Freshmen and sophomores who wish to join Greek life (called Potential New Members <3) go through three rounds of recruitment over three days, bopping around from chapter to chapter, meeting sisters and eating yummy snacks. Selection is mutual; both the PNMs and the chapters make choices after each round of recruitment. All of the PNMs get their bids the morning after the final round and are whisked away to celebrate with their new sisters. Delicious food and friendships ensue. And they all live happily ever after.
Compared to other universities, I think us Hopkins chicks have it made. Recruitment is on your mind for a total of four days—we skip right over potential weeks or months of stress. The logistics are ironed out by the chapters, Panhel, and your recruitment leaders; all PNMs have to do is show up. And being a New Member is the most seamless, loving process of all. No pledging period. No hazing. 100% sisterhood and good times, all day, every day.
It’s just as lovely on the other side. For the past two years, I’ve adored coming together with my sisters and preparing to usher in a new class of Alpha Phis. We put in a lot of time and a whole lot of effort, but when our New Members come bursting through the doors on big day, in their gorgeous white dresses, it all becomes so very worth it. There’s nothing like growing your family. And I’m lucky that I’ve gotten to partake in that process every single year.
But I confess, throughout the months leading up to recruitment, I struggled with a phenomenon I believe to be common amongst all college seniors.
I was feeling, dare I say it, a bit…over it.
Without an ounce of negativity, I truly believed that I’d seen all there was to see and done all there was to do when it came to formal recruitment. I knew the drill. And while I was thrilled to carry on the Alpha Phi tradition, my senioritis had me convinced that my influence and contribution didn’t really matter anymore. I’m on my way out. And I was content to let my younger sisters take the torch and run with it.
So up until January, I thought I had a good idea of what my final recruitment experience was going to look like. (Read: Sneaking mini muffins in the corner with my fellow old ladies.)
Instead, I ended up having the most emotional, invested four days of my Hopkins career. Perhaps meeting all sorts of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed underclassmen catapulted me back in time. Their enthusiasm was infectious.
But I think the true reason behind my mushiness was that I was lucky enough to be Alpha Phi’s senior speaker. I’ll go easy on the details in order to preserve the ~magic~, but, to my admittedly limited knowledge, each chapter has a few sisters speak about their srat experiences during the final and most intimate round of recruitment, Preference. This year, it was me.
Writing the speech forced me to think long and hard about how much this social, potentially superfluous organization actually meant to me. How it had pushed and changed me. And what it had given me over the past four years.
I have never felt closer to my sisters than I did delivering that speech. It will go down as one of my most treasured Hopkins memories, and I know I’ll think of it often when I’m out in the real world, far from my fellow Phis.
It’s corny and cliché, but sorority life really has been a defining chapter of my time in college. Before signing off on the srat life for good, I’ll leave you with the last few paragraphs of my speech. They really say it all.
“If you’re looking for a good time, there’s no better place to get it. These are supposed to be some of the best years of our lives, and above all else, Alpha Phi is fun. But Hopkins is not always the easiest place to be. And every single one of my sisters can tell you that when life comes in like a wrecking ball—whether it’s an exam, or a jerk who breaks or heart, or something that truly upends your whole world—this is the army you want behind you. These are the hands you want lifting you up.
They’ve lifted me up more times than I can count. When you take away the parties and the Instagram model shots and even the tote bags, your sisters remain, an incredible group of girls who will dance with you to your highest highs and drop everything to meet you at your lowest lows. I didn’t know it at the time, but that’s exactly what I needed when I sat where you’re sitting today. My squad, my future bridesmaids, my girl’s girls, my sisters. They’re all around you. I found them and so much more in Alpha Phi. I hope you will too.”