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Last year, I wrote a blog about my experience during Spring Recruitment. It dealt with the nitty-gritty logistical questions of rush, since that was all I knew about the process and, really, about sorority life in general.

our totes doe

our totes doe

But with a year of sisterhood under my belt, I’m much more well versed in what Greek Life is like, beyond the surface of Lilly Pulitzer prints and parties with ridiculous rhymed themes. With rush approaching, it’s hard for me not to launch into crazy, psycho OH MY GOD, YOU HAVE TO RUSH. IT’S THE BEST. mode. It’s really easy to just get swept up in the positive experiences that I’ve had in Alpha Phi without actually parsing out the why.

Alpha Phi, definitely, has been the best decisions I’ve made during my time at Hopkins. It’s broadened my social horizons, given me a sense of belonging, and allowed me to assume leadership roles. Alpha Phi has breathed a lot of purpose and meaning into my college experience. It’s not just some social club that you join to get a nice tote bag (though, seriously, it’d be worth it just for that); Alpha Phi has helped me to carve out my little space in the Hopkins community.

I know it sounds really hokey, and seriously, I’m the last person to write some Total Sorority Move-esque article like Fifty Reasons Why Greek Life is the BEST THING EVER!!!!! But while I will never write an article like that, I will relate to it, laughing at myself the entire time. As I said in my blog from last year, I thought I was the futhest thing from a sorority girl. Flash forward a year, though, and I realize I’m totally comfortable with that label.

image5 (2)So, here’s the I Thought Greek Life Was Stupid/I Still Kind of Laugh at It But Actually Love It list of reasons why Alpha Phi was an awesome life decision.

image1 (5)Sense of Belonging With about a third of students going Greek, it’s certainly a popular choice. I don’t personally think that Greek Life dominates or determines the average student’s social life, but it has helped me to find my niche within the social scene. Hopkins isn’t a huge university, but any student can sometimes feel lost in the fray of the 5,000 undergrads. Alpha Phi has given me a community, a home. It’s not the only group that makes me feel like I belong to the Hopkins sphere of student life, but it is always there. It’s a place for me to rely on whenever I feel a little isolated. Alpha Phi has given me an awesome network of girls who never make me feel alone; whether it’s a funny post in our chapter’s Facebook group, or a sister saying hey in the library, Alpha Phi’s always there for me.

Expanding my Network Joining a sorority means that not only are you introduced to 150-some girls, you’re also introduced to the whole sorority’s network. I’ve met amazing friends in other Greek organizations through other sisters or Greek-oriented events.I’ve found that Greek Life is always allowing me to branch out and meet new people. I never feel socially stuck because Alpha Phi is always leading me to new people and places. There are so many girls in Alpha Phi who I don’t think that I would have met otherwise, and I can’t imagine my Hopkins experience without some of those friendships. And similarly, there’s a whole other class of friends who I don’t think I would’ve met if it weren’t for that Greek Life degree of separation. Alpha Phi has given me the opportunity to explore so many new friendships.

just one of the graphics I've made this semester

just one of the graphics I’ve made this semester

Career Experience Crazy, I know, but being in a sorority doesn’t always mean just making clever Alpha Phi puns and going to weekly meetings. This past semester, I became the Director of Public Relations, which means that I get a lot of hands-on experience on the marketing side of Alpha Phi. I create graphics, produce content for our social media pages, design apparel, and work with other awesome sisters to create marketing strategies. The committee that I work with is essentially responsible for the brand that Alpha Phi broadcasts. Considering that I hope to go into the advertising/marketing world, this experience has been invaluable. I’ve learned so much already about how to create beautiful branded materials. Hello, resume fodder!

Lifelong Friendships I vomited a little bit when I wrote that. Is that not something straight out of a humorless Hallmark card? I’m embarrassed. But, as ashamed as I may be about my cheesy word choice, it’s absolutely true. I like to think that the cosmos would have forced JHU_Ruthie and JHU_Tess into a close bond with me, but Alpha Phi gave that little boost necessary to ensure me trapping them into a vortex of friendship.

meow

meow

Seriously, I’m so lucky to have them as my pham (what did I say about puns?). Though the three of us were splayed across three continents this past semester, email chains, group chats, and snail mail kept us in touch. From me complaining about my most recent concussion (let’s go #4!), to us wishing each other happy holidays, to them sharing weird pictures of cats, our conversations keep me entertained, yet grounded. They will be the first ones to bring me back to Earth when I’m misbehaving, and the first ones to celebrate me when I’ve achieved something. Our relationship isn’t contrived because of the Big-Little structure; it’s enhanced. I don’t know where I would be without their constant jokes, guidance, and love.

Fun and Stuff Sorry, but what’s the point of joining a group of any kind if it doesn’t make you happy? Alpha Phi has given me endless laughter and entertainment. Our date parties and formals are the highlights of my semester, and hilarious posts in our Facebook group keep me going through the day. From sorority-wide beach trips to trick or treating at sister’s apartments to goofing off during meeting, Alpha Phi has added many tallies to my college Fun column.

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For New Year’s Eve, Megan, my Alpha Phi sister and fellow Baltimorean came over. It was one of the best New Year’s I’ve ever had, and I probably would never have met her if it weren’t from Alpha Phi—despite the fact that she lives down the road from me. We spent the evening obsessing over t-shirt designs and decorations for rush and other silly sorority stuff. We laughed at ourselves the whole time, but totally secretly loved it, too.

That’s what my experience in Alpha Phi has been. Sometimes I feel ridiculous for how much I enjoy it, but there’s no crime in loving something. Alpha Phi has added so much—friends, fun, purpose, opportunity, laughter—to my college experience. So I’ll just keep making bad puns and obsessing over which dress I’ll wear to the next formal, how’s thAt sΦund? (I hate myself for that.)