Spoiler alert: I’m in a sorority! You, dear reader, are definitely not shocked, seeing as I’ve been writing about good ol’ Alpha Phi at least once a semester since my freshman spring. Before sitting down to write this post, I took a walk down digital memory lane, sampling all of my past Greek life blogs as I went. I’ve been over the basics: reasons to go through recruitment in the first place, philanthropy, phamily, juggling sorority involvement along with everything else. If you have any questions about the wonder that is Secret Week, you have come to the right place.
But after happily saying goodbye (read: good riddance) to my roughest semester at Hopkins thus far, I find my past evaluations of Greek life, and Alpha Phi specifically, kind of lackluster. Like I had somehow missed the point of it all. This idea of not really “getting it” crystalized for me while we were preparing for this year’s formal recruitment. During this time, we’re often asked to think about our own unique experiences with Alpha Phi: why we decided to go through recruitment, how we’ve grown as people by getting to know such dynamic women. I listened as my sisters gushed—sometimes teary-eyed—about how Alpha Phi was the first thing about Hopkins that felt like home. It was here that they found their place on campus, their phamily, their people.
Believe me when I say there are few things more awesome than supporting your friends as they ~speak their truths~, or whatever it is the kids are saying these days. But I also felt kind of crappy about myself. Because that totally wasn’t my truth.
I joined a sorority for fun. That was really, truly the extent of it. I was excited to meet new people, dress up for wacky mixers, and fall in love with an amazing big (done, done, and done), but I wasn’t on the lookout for any kind of fulfillment, emotional or otherwise. There just wasn’t a void to fill. I already had a group of incredible friends and was hyper-involved in other organizations. Joining Alpha Phi was just the cherry on top of what was shaping up to be a near-perfect first year.
As is the case with all things, I got out of Alpha Phi what I put in. Since it was “what I did for fun,” it automatically became my lowest priority, forever taking the backburner when it came to my schoolwork and Barnstormers commitments. I have yet to see a semester where I haven’t missed a date party, mixer, and/or philanthropic event because of rehearsal. And this isn’t a bad thing! One of the best things about sorority life at Hopkins is that it can be whatever you want it to be. For my first two years, I wanted it to be the fun, social thing I did on weekends, and that’s exactly what it was.
And then junior fall hit, and the many unstable pieces of my life finally began to spiral out of control. For the first time, I felt deeply unhappy and out-of-place at Hopkins, and there were moments when I very much wasn’t sure how I was going to get to Christmas.
My best friends pulled me through, as did my family, and there aren’t enough mushy-gushy words in the dictionary to express how grateful I am to them for scooping my sorry butt off of the floor. And I did a show off-campus filled with wonderful people who reminded me that there’s a big, beautiful world right outside of the Hopkins bubble.
But, in so many lovely, unexpected ways, it was Alpha Phi that pulled me through. When I needed support, distraction, food, and fun, my sisters were there. I threw myself into as many events as possible, setting a personal record for how many mixers I attended in a single semester. No one judged me when I showed up to Red Dress Brunch looking a little rough-around-the-edges. I was given ten thousand hugs when I broke down during a recruitment workshop. And I’ve never felt closer to my fellow Phis than when I had the opportunity to express my gratitude to them, face-to-face.
Tl:dr I wouldn’t be the happier, healthier person I am today without these girls. Freshman JHU_Allison saw something in sorority life, but I never expected it to become such a lifeline, lifeboat, and lifesaver. And I figured it was high time to give this incredible organization the blog-worship is so dearly deserves. So thank you, Alpha Phi, for giving me all of the things I never knew I needed and never knew how to ask for. I finally get it.