It’s time to talk college. If you don’t remember where we left off in Pt. 2, you might want to give it a quick skim to refresh yourself. Let’s get down to it.
I was fortunate enough to spend my college years in the almost-too-cute-to-be-real town of Holland, Michigan. It is very Dutch, very pretty, and very religious. Growing up on a lake in between corn and bean fields not far from Flint, the transition to West Michigan threw me off a bit. Remember in my last post I mentioned that I was in a super happy place at the end of high school? Oh, and that change freaks me out? Well, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to leave the house I’d grown up in without anyone I knew.
Thankfully, I was assigned some pretty cool roommates. I shared my first dorm room with two other girls who have become staples in my life. They, along with another who lived a few rooms down– they’re life friends. I’m so grateful to have them.
Despite my luck with room assignments, I was dead set on finding a group that matched the bond I found with my high school dance team. This triggered my interest in Greek Life. The sorority I chose was absolutely right for me. It offered everything that I was looking for and I could see that it had given so much to many women before me.
Unfortunately for the timing of this whole venture, I was still dating my high school boyfriend. He was at a different school, and dealing with that distance/still learning how to be in a relationship was tough for us. I went on spring break with him and his family which kept me from a week of pretty critical bonding time with my new home team. Whats more, Boyfriend was not exactly thrilled with my joining a sorority as it brought a lot of partying opportunities my way. Yes– even a tiny Christian college with a dry campus has parties. So, I didn’t go to many (I’m not a fan of conflict; so, avoiding it by pleasing others is a habit of mine). Keep in mind that I already had great friends from my dorm who I didn’t want to stop spending time with, and when I had a free weekend, I was either at Boyfriend’s school or he was at mine.
I am aware of the fact that my choices are what kept me from finding the bond with my sorority that I was convinced I needed. It killed me to watch the closeness everyone else found with each other while I couldn’t figure out what my role with them was. This pattern continued throughout the following year as Boyfriend had transferred to my school, and I was diagnosed with depression. The summer that followed Sophomore year was a hard one. In the same week, my boyfriend and I broke up, and a beautiful member of my sorority passed away. The best thing that could have happened for my college experience began after that. I moved into our sorority’s house with nine other women.
Not only was it healing to be surrounded by others grieving the same life, but it threw me into an emersion experience with this group that I so wanted to feel included in. I was free to make decisions for myself, and Greek Life was finally at the forefront of my social obligations. That was a great year, and I deeply regret that only a quarter of my college experience was spent under those circumstances.
The following year, I moved into a house with two other women from my sorority. It started out as lovely as the previous year. This was the first summer of my life that wasn’t spent at my parent’s house. I had a great time. This is also when I went to Liverpool for a month. You guys, this was such a happy time in my life– I was crushing it.
Everything changed SO abruptly in December of that year. That would be because of this. When I met that guy, literally every other person or priority I had was eclipsed. I stopped spending time with my sorority. I never hung out with the girls I lived with, and everyone began resenting me. I absolutely do not blame or harbor negativity for the animosity that came my way– much like my high school friends, my sorority saw that I wasn’t myself, my choices were messed up, and they didn’t know how to help me. Out of the hundred-plus sisters I had in that organization, I only remained friends with one of them. Literally, one. Like the rest of my life friends, Natasha hunkered down to watch my life crumble, and reminded me that I was loved along the way. She was honest with me about my misguided choices, but she didn’t chastise me for them. She’s always one of the first people to read these posts and let’s me know if I might have shared too much. The girl has my back.
Despite the perpetual disappointment I feel about how I handled my relationship with my sorority, I am enormously grateful that the experience brought Natasha to me. Tash, Shannon, Amanda, Jennie, Lindsey, and Ali– this series is a letter of love to you all. Thank you for seeing and hearing me. Thank you for your patience, your understanding, your love, and your enthusiasm for my passions.
And that concludes my thoughts on friends. Thanks for reading!