Joining any sorority is an extremely overwhelming process. Initially, you go through recruitment, or as I so fondly refer to it, hell week. You spend 7 days sprinting from chapter to chapter, sweating the makeup off that you so meticulously just put on, and experience a rollercoaster of emotions as you triumph from getting invited back to your favorite houses and despair in getting released from the process.
After you are pushed to the breaking point and are considering giving up, FINALLY, you receive a bid card from the chapter that you love. All of a sudden you are no longer a PNM, but have been promoted to the title of “new member.” Now, you stand in the middle of a strange house with 200 girls who are your new “sisters,” even if you have only met around 5 of them in person. There are no more uniform outfits, dancing on stairs, or strangely in sync “byeessss” as you walk out of a multitude of houses. You have found your home.
Standing in front of the Alpha Phi house on bid day, I was an equal combination of excited and anxious. Did the recruitment process actually work? Had I made the right decision? Would I ever actually be able to call this house home?
It seemed strange to think that I could ever walk through those polished front doors and be surrounded by faces that I recognized, let alone be ecstatic to see. However, that slowly became the case. I met my pledge class, made friends, and began to become acquainted with older members through date functions, sisterhood retreats, and meals. Finally I was beginning to find the camaraderie that every older sorority sister gushed about during recruitment.
This short-lived happiness came to a screeching halt as soon as all of the major news stations in the country flashed the headline: FSU Greek Life Indefinitely Suspended. My heart was shattered. I had finally allowed myself to become comfortable with this amazing group of people, and now we were forbidden to meet and being discouraged from wearing letters? I imagined our numbers to drop substantially, people to stop coming around for meals, and for the house to become as desolate as our campus felt without our beloved chapters.
Shockingly, this was not the case. Instead, there was a spirit of resilience in every single member of the chapter. They were determined to ensure that this ban would not destroy the camaraderie that they had worked so hard to build with one another. Sister reached out to sister, and it became blatantly obvious that we weren’t there just for the status, the socials, or the formal events. We, the women of Alpha Phi, genuinely cared for one another, regardless of whether we wore our letters or not.
Watching this unfold before my eyes was very revealing of the character of the people who I got to call my sisters. I fell in love with the chapter that worked tirelessly to fundraise for Dance Marathon and our multiple philanthropy projects, even when we were suspended. I fell in love with the chapter that went out of their way to cheer me on in all of my endeavors, even we were suspended. And I fell in love with the chapter that refused to give up in a time of great controversy, and who have used this to transition into a group of women who place a greater emphasis on scholarship, loyalty, and sisterhood than ever before.
I fell in love with Alpha Phi.