Lumina

10 Crazy (And Important) Things You Can Only Learn From Living In A Sorority House

To my darling sorority sisters (or those who are Greek-curious),

As orientations begins for the onslaught on September’s freshmen, I can’t help but get a little nostalgic thinking about what’s in store for them. Talking to my college friend’s younger sister, who also has plans to attend U of M in the fall, made me realize how much of who I am I owe to college.

She excitedly rattled off all her expectations for the next four years, borrowed from the stories she overheard from previous alumni. Enrolling in Intro to Psych with the notoriously easy professor, buying a beer helmet for football tailgates, roadtripping to neighboring schools. I nodded, mentally checking off each one of them. Someone had prepared her well.

“And I’m most excited to live in the sorority house,” she said with the genuine enthusiasm of a small child who doesn’t realize she’s about to have her bottle taken away.

“Uh, really? Because that was hands down my least favorite part about college. Like, even after walking to class in minus 20 degree weather,” I deadpanned. I take it all back. Whoever this girl spoke to clearly forgot to mention that sorority homes are basically glorified Halfway Houses.

You’ve got a full year on lockdown sans men in your own bed (emphasis on your own, personal bed -- don’t get the wrong idea, you’ll make it to others), without alcohol and drugs (well, at least out in the open) and without personal space.

Although this sounds oddly like a particularly horrifying episode of “Orange Is the New Black” (and in some ways they are both very similar), there’s no denying that this experience really teaches you a lot about women, living with other women and, surprisingly, yourself.

“That bad? Then maybe I won’t join one...” her voice trailed as she contemplated the depths of the social suicide that is not joining Greek life.

And then it dawned on me. Though I was a sorority-girl-dropout, I must admit I truly learned a lot from my time spent dwelling in the house. And while sorority-living is not for everyone, I didn’t want to preemptively close this door for her.

“When you get to school you’ll figure it all out for yourself.”

Now, isn’t that the truth?

Here are the 10 things you learn from living in a sorority house.

1. No matter how little there is in the kitchen, what gross leftovers are in the fridge or whose snacks you’re dying to raid but can’t, if you are wasted and lonely on a Saturday night back from the bar, you WILL find something to eat.

I must give us sorority ladies snaps, for I have seen girls who, although they can barely stand up and say their name, make decadent three-course meals out of an English muffin, butter, cheese and -- if the pantry’s REALLY stocked -- a graham cracker.

Seriously, we’ve all been there: you called Pizza House for the late night special, but can’t hold out until delivery arrives, so you stumble into the kitchenette, sample some cereal, leave the milk out, attempt to make popcorn (but obviously burn it because the microwave has been suspiciously ghetto since the time you tried heating your face mask), only to find yourself sitting at the table with something that resembles a peanut-butter and jelly grilled cheese….?

Regardless, you’re drunk, and this appetizer will suffice until the REAL meal arrives. And maybe if you’re lucky you’ll get to break into the chef’s kitchen… and steal restaurant-sized ketchup and smoked salmon…

2.If you want something done, you probably shouldn’t rely on the house mom

Let’s play a game: Would you rather your house mom take care of the Internet that never seems to be working or just do it yourself? Be careful. If you do it yourself, you probably won’t get done until next semester, but it WILL eventually get done.

If you ask your house mom, I can guarantee you it will not get done, but you will have the satisfaction of using this handicap against her. Hmm, tough call.

3. Nobody is on your side; every (wo)man is out for herself

Now I know this one sounds a little harsh, but there is evidence to support this claim.

The most apparent and probably most frustrating example of "every woman for herself" is when you come back late at night from the library, or the bar, or even the next day, looking for your food only to find it half-eaten, picked over, massacred and virtually inedible.

Exhibit A: Your “sisters” aren’t looking out for you, they’re looking out for your food.

4. It was awkward doing the walk of shame in the dorms; it’s even more awkward when you have to face the people you know.

...Which is why we all need to stop f*cking each other’s (ex-)boyfriends. Joking.

But, seriously, it’s bad enough having strangers give you funny looks on the street Friday morning while you run as fast as you can to your friend’s car waiting out front… it’s even WORSE when you come back to the sorority house and have to avoid whoever saw you run inside before you.

Even WORSE is having to endure the interrogations over runny-eggs-and-no-salad-bar-brunch five minutes later. It’s a little ironic, no?

You would think since we’re all (mostly) friends, we’d respect each other’s privacy -- especially about where we slept last night; yet, in reality, we think this gives us MORE right to ask questions.

Trust me, I’m guilty of it too, if only for the fact that I didn’t get ass and wanted to live vicariously through those who did. I guess on the bright side though, there’s nothing like the feeling of 50 girls cheering you on to hook up with him again…

5. If you’re wearing either a crop top, tight bandeau skirt or simply someone else’s shirt, you’re probably in a sorority

Do I even need to explain this one?

6. If you aren’t wearing shoes, you should probably put some on.

This one’s a no-brainer. There are cockroaches on the staircases, overflowing un-flushed toilets in the bathroom, the entire contents of the kitchenette on the floor, stains of all varieties on the couches in the TV room, quinoa bits/tomato sauced/salad vinaigrette all over the chairs and most likely broken glass and, ahem, stains drying out some place.

Like we’ve said since first semester: This is not a sorority house, it’s a female-populated animal house. Would you walk around the frat house barefoot? Would you even walk to the frat house period? No, that’s right... you would drive.

7. It takes a certified chef to prepare a decent meal for the entire house.

But really, the homemade salad dressings should be made into a smoothie and sold at Jamba Juice. I sucked that shizz down like water.

8. From January to March, if you plan on working out, get a gym membership.

Even for those of us who don’t regularly work out, we all experienced at least a brief stint in the sorority “gym,” fighting desperately for just 30 minutes to burn off the ass we’ve been growing since discovering the deadly combo of cereal, or s’mores or whatever your weapon of choice (see #1).

This was ESPECIALLY a problem when, in the dead of winter, no one wants to go out for a run, so the line increases exponentially.

Personal anecdote alert: I knew working out wasn’t in the Lord’s plan for me when I once woke up at 8:00 am only to find out that not one, but THREE other people were waiting in line for a 1980s stationary bike… and as the day went on, the line only increased.

In the face of such a horrendous event, some of us got really pissed. Some of us, however, realized our place in life didn’t include sweating and instead walked back upstairs for that second bowl…

9. You CAN order movies in the TV room. You CAN beat the system!

For those of you who haven’t discovered this yet... RUN. Run like there’s hot, free cheesy bread or a slew of free burnout t-shirts waiting for you and ORDER EVERY MOVIE YOU CAN! Take advantage, it's on Nationals!

And if you really have the time, I suggest (from personal experience) taking the day off and festering on the couch doing nothing but eating, spending National’s $$ and watching good movies. Just remember to shower afterwards…

10. Despite all the bitching and moaning and complaints, living in a house with 50 other girls really isn’t so bad.

Warning: Here’s where I get sappy. I would venture to say I was one of the most vocal people against living in the house and continually poked fun at how miserable it was.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the rules suck, BUT you do find ways around them. And even though the regulations are frustrating, I have to admit they are worth tolerating if it means living with all of your friends.

I’m sure you will come to see that one of the best parts about living-in is getting the chance to become closer with 50 girls REALLY well and being able to go out with people other than your usual, immediate group of friends. There’s a sense of unity and respect you all have for one another that grew because you all lived together.

Although we get on each other’s nerves sometimes (which is natural), I can honestly say I could count on each person in my sorority house to cheer me up when I was having a bad day or even just strike up a conversation with if I was eating alone in the dining room.

It’s comforting to know that although you won’t all be living together again in another year, there will always be someone to wave to in the Diag or speak to at the college bar when you feel like you’re standing awkwardly by yourself…

Photo Courtesy: Tumblr