What is a sorority?
What is a sorority?
If it’s really anything at all,
A sorority is not entirely a flower, national conventions, monogrammed rings, worn-out songs, bylaws, membership standards, or a golden pen.
And it is not entirely an institution, a creed, a legacy, an obligation, or a way of life.
If you’re going to insist that it is something,
A sorority is only
Moving in for the first time and slowly learning that all beautiful people have fat legs and use mouthwash and wear last year’s coats,
Sitting next to an alum you don’t particularly like and being nice because maybe it all means something to her,
Long, tired eternities of black coffee and exam snacks when you can’t remember the Renaissance architects or the stages of photosynthesis or respiration,
Sitting on the back steps and listening with all your helplessness because she’s lost and she’s lonely and it seems the whole world just fell into ugly pieces.
And it’s coming in very late one night and closing the door to tell someone who’s seen you through the hardest years of your life that you’re happy now, and you’re getting married.
And a sorority is, I suppose, a kind of evaluation.
You grow up inside these elegant halls
And perhaps you do learn more about this grizzly, ungrateful circus we call life than if you had lived it somewhere else.
You learn that a football player is sometimes just shoulder pads and that skinny arms sometimes hide a great man.
You learn that some lecture halls are just watery echos and that there are silent rooms for deeper rivers.
You learn that no matter where you come from or who took you there, you’ve still got to find that one small acre that belongs to you, by yourself.
You learn to wait, because chance is slow and change isn’t always right.
You learn that there’s still a lot left to believe in and a whole lot more to hope for.
You learn that love has never been easy, and it’s a long time coming.
And if you’re very smart, or very lucky, you learn that no matter how big or how messy the world becomes, what is precious and what is permanent is always the same.
And in the very end
A sorority can only be a better way to stumble down the back steps and out the front door.