Op-Ed: Built outside these walls

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Rush Week 2014 started with freshman me wanting to go out with some weird 21-year old the night before Greek Day. I told my roommate this, and she responded with something like, “Oh my God, Alexis, are you already trying to get blacklisted?”

In hindsight, two years later, I guess I am glad Rush kept me from going to the Levee with some overly creepy boy, but also in hindsight, I think that my roommate’s question should have come as an omen. I mean, I had only decided to rush two months before, I was missing recommendations for, like, half the sorority houses, and I still could not stop pronouncing Phi Mu as “Phi Moo.”

Somehow I made it. I opened my bid card and screamed and cried and ran halfway (until I ran out of breath, obviously) to my new home. I thought of all the boys, all the glitter, all the rumored queso on Tuesdays, and all of the pretty girl friends that were going to fall into my lap. Mainly, I thought of all the new Instagram followers – I mean, philanthropy opportunities – I was going to receive.

After all of the awkward preteen years, the braces, the not really being popular in high school, I was here: an Ole Miss Sorority Girl. Hell yeah, honey, finally.

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It’s two years later, and today, I awkwardly sat on a stoop next to North Dormitory Row waiting on the OUT Bus in 85-degree weather. It is incredible the ways God chooses to keep us humble and kind, honestly. I looked around at the continued Day After the Day After Bid Day celebrations or, really, just a lot of girls sporting their new tank tops and boys in navy blue blazers hanging out of the tailgates of big trucks, sometimes making weird eye contact with me, the sweaty girl on the stoop.

I don’t know why – maybe because I am not Greek anymore – but I was really bothered by all of it, so I texted a friend, “Were we this effing annoying when we first joined our Greek organizations or…?”

“You weren’t excited to be in an Ole Miss sorority?” the friend replied, not giving into my cynical bitchiness, as everyone should choose to do.

And I remembered the “Hell yeah, honey, finally.” Running down the hill, and trying to meet so many new friends, and the first time I learned all the secret chapter songs, and being relieved when we didn’t actually have to drink anyone’s blood during initiation.

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Dropping actually turned out to be a really great decision for me, no matter how many times I had to hear former-sisters tell me they were sorry or that they missed me or that they hoped I wasn’t missing out.

Honestly, I giggled a lot last week when I saw all of the girls, a lot like me two years ago, gathering in the Grove to see if they got their top house back or not. I didn’t giggle so much at the girls, themselves, but rather the fact that they were wearing t-shirts with a Gandhi quote on the back. I guess that is really the only point I’m trying to make –

It was easy to laugh at, but this idea that the best way to find yourself is to join a Greek organization is, if I can be honest, bull.

I loved my Greek organization, so, so much. I can’t stress that enough. It gave me so many sore feet from dancing, a lot of my closest friends, and some damn good fried ravioli, but if I had the opportunity to tell myself one thing on that October Bid Day, it would have been something along the lines of this:

“Cool, you get to do a secret handshake to enter chapter room every Monday night, but so do, like, 5,000 other girls on this campus. I’m happy for you, girl. So, so happy that you get to be a part of this. But if you are looking to find yourself, it’s not going to be – and should never be – in the isolated walls of this sorority house where everyone looks and thinks a lot like you. Take the glitter for what it is, sell all of the tickets you can, like the funny GIFs in the GroupMe, but please, make sure the world you are most proud of is built outside of these walls.”

Actually, that is exactly what I would have said. Really, I would tattoo it on me if I could.

So, to all the girls who can’t stop thumbing their bid cards and all of the dudes who are already cleaning kitchens, do good with it. Let it change your life if you want. Let it be everything you weren’t looking for if that is what it needs to be. Be president if you want and brave enough to sign the resignation papers if you can’t imagine spending another second in Chapter. You’ll always be you, truly and wholly, either way.

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Alexis Smith
Alexis Smith

Writer

Alexis Smith is a junior International Studies major from Picayune, Mississippi. She’s a big fan of Jimmy Fallon, gender theory, and Hungarian sheepdogs.