My mother still says, “Oh, Amanda! Out of everybody in our family….I still can’t believe you joined a sorority! Who knew?!”
It really is a rather repeated sentence, though it did lose its frequency once the collective shock of me joining Greek life ran around the family grapevine a couple of times. Though, I can see why my family was a little surprised, as they still hold true to the notion of the societal view of a sorority (Mom pictures “Legally Blonde”).
If you knew me better, you would see why the “House Bunny” stereotype wouldn’t fit my persona. I grew up in Texas, and when I was not struggling to escape the oppressive heat by hiding in my freezer, I was throwing a football and more or less believed shoes to be a great evil. When I moved to Idaho after my freshman year of high school, this tendency to like the outdoors increased exponentially (it’s easier to be outside when you’re not losing half your water weight due to 102 degree heat). Shooting, 4-wheeling, hiking, and fishing enthralled me. Don’t worry. I did participate in more lady-like activities. Like pottery—the medium that allows you to play in the mud, but look sophisticated at the same time.
To make a long story short, all I knew about sororities was what the TV taught me. Therefore, I was not in the slightest bit interested because I felt I wouldn’t fit in.
Then, I went to college. I had a great first year, but felt that I was a little lacking in the social atmosphere. One of my girlfriends in Turner dorm, after hearing about my resolve to expand my social sphere, suggested a sorority. At first I was skeptical, but when she took me to her house and introduced me to a group of girls who were genuinely excited to meet someone new. They were a diverse group of women whose friendliness blew me away. They were accepting and polite, and welcomed me into their home. I knew right away that my previous notions about what sororities were was completely inaccurate. I was sold.
I went through formal recruitment my sophomore year of college. It was a blast—not just because of the food. It was exciting, if not a little mind-boggling, to meet some many people at once. I recall telling people after recruitment that the section of my brain devoted to remembering names had imploded. It was true, too. I couldn’t for the life of me remember anyone’s name in any of my classes for about two weeks after bid day, because I was frantically trying to memorize all of my sister’s names. Aside from that, and the vertigo that clung to me from running from one end of campus to another wearing heels, I quite enjoyed it.
There was a solidifying moment during recruitment week that stood out to me. I was at the Kappa house, and all of the members stood on the staircase and stated what they were. (“I am a dancer,” “I am an artist,” etc.) I heard “potato farmer,” “geologist,” “writer” and so many other things that highlighted the diversity of the house. It was the “potato farmer” that did it for me, if I must be honest. It catered to my own whims. I knew that I had found my house, because despite all my weird tendencies and affinities for things that usually end up with me getting filthy, I knew I would fit in. I knew that there, I wouldn’t be trying to fit into a mold—I’d just be making Kappa more interesting and more diverse.
That’s how I ended up in Kappa! I got a great Big Sister, who rocks my socks off. I say that to her a lot, but as it fits with the aforementioned “anti-shoe” comment, I will repeat myself. The house is amazing—it makes me feel like Scarlett O’Hara at times, with its columns and old woodwork. And, despite being the only person on the University of Montana campus who actually likes the Food Zoo, the food is amazing.
So, while my family still remains dumbfounded at my decision, I would say it’s because they don’t understand Kappa like I do. Kappa is about sisterhood, and loving each other despite faults. I’m so glad that I decided to join, because being there has changed my college life and given me a group of women that I will have a bond with forever.