Thursday, October 20, 2011

College, round 2

There is something strange about coming back to my alma mater and working in the program I went through myself. I've thought a lot about what I would have done differently, but here's the thing, I don't want to undo my college experience. I just think I would do it again, differently, without erasing what I already did.

In this make-believe scenario of repeating college, I would take a few different classes and would change up the order of some of them. I would choose different editors, enter copy editing sooner, etc.

But one of the things I've wondered about is whether I would still choose to be in a sorority. I see a lot of students that aren't Greek and have more permanent friendships with fellow j-schoolers that has me wondering if I missed out on something. But anyway, at the parade this weekend, a friend talked about what we would have missed out on by not being Greek. And I knew I would have missed out on a lot. Homecoming wouldn't mean anything to me if I hadn't been in a sorority, and though there was a lot of work involved, I had a lot of fun being involved in all of it.

But that alone doesn't explain why I made that choice. On Monday night, I got to go to dinner at my old sorority house. There were so many things I had forgotten about that reminded me why I loved living in that house for four semesters.

Monday night is formal dinner, which means dressing up, but it also means being served dinner family style, rather than the buffet style. I forgot about the house boys that help serve, and it reminded me of the house boys we all had crushes on. I forgot that you sit at dinner until you are dismissed by the house mom. If you have to leave early, you have to ask to be excused. I sat at the house mom's table, and I got a kick out of watching the interaction as girls showed up late or needed to leave early.

I forgot about having dessert every night, which explains why my face is so chubby in the composite photos in the house. I forgot about having a house mom that really took care of all of us. There was a real adult around that provided some stability.

The house mom is the same woman that was there when I moved in. In fact her first year was my first year living in the house. She was talking about how needy my class and the class above me was during that first year. She said she always had people knocking on her door upset about something. But she said that doesn't happen very often anymore. I wanted to tell those girls they are missing out by not seeking her advice and relying on her. I don't think I ever brought any drama to her, but I know that once she wouldn't let me go to church because everything was icy. It was one of those moments when I knew my mom would have done the exact same thing.

So this week at dinner, I realized that it wasn't the pomping and parties and parades that made the sorority so important. It was the way it became my family when I was so far from home. There was plenty of drama in that house — that's what happens when 80 girls live under one roof — but I'm not sure I would have survived the stress of journalism school without that safe place to go home to. So it is definitely something I would repeat if given the chance.

I also realize why the transition to being on my own was so hard. I was really spoiled living in that house!

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