(Correction: my mother may be reading this, so I’d better mention the college course or two she took when she was in her mid-forties; an effort worthy of mentioning.)
Listening to my mom talk about her childhood and subsequent entry into adult life is why I know that she considered college a form of the Promised Land; unachievable by her during the approximate age of eighteen, but not for her children. Throughout my youth and until the day I received my degree, she kept my eyes on the prize by telling me how hard it is to make a “decent salary” without “a good education,” something she knew all too well. It was also important to be smart.
The plan went awry with my brother after his one year of college; however, his path was that of a loyal government employee and a successful landowner/landlord. He’ll be retiring soon.I fulfilled the trailblazer role, graduating from a historically black college (abbreviated HBCUs) which trained me well to become a computer programmer analyst.
More training I got while there was due to my first real exposure to sororities, fraternities, and social clubs. I stared at the pledging pledgees, neatly dressed, walking across campus, and listened as my freshman friends vowed their allegiance to become one of them.“Are you pledging, Anita?” they’d ask. “Which one!”
With no family legacy to form and mold my course and guide my thinking, I had to jump in on my own; after all it was the college thing to do – right?Welllll… it didn’t quite work out. My independent spirit and somewhat rebellious nature reared its ugly head during my interview, in addition to my lack of exhibiting admiration to upper class sorority girls as they paraded around campus in their Greek lettered attire in the specified colors of the group. It didn’t take long to know that I didn’t fit; yet, I still wanted to want to fit for a couple weeks as I watched the new pledgees on line. Never could conjure up that feeling, though.
During the remainder of my college years, there were a few times I’d have to say, “No, I didn’t pledge,” to the curious who tried to guess my sorority or social club based on my personality, looks, clothes, and friends… I guess... What else could it have been?But, that’s my story. So many others, obviously, fit well in this world of camaraderie. While each group appeared to be cliquish; i.e. the smart girls, the attractive girls, the misfits, and others, there was a certain appeal about them. They wore the confidence of belonging and of claiming their territory. They had “sorors” who committed to helping when transportation or a place to crash was needed. They were cool, which meant they had first dibs on the cool fraternity guys. They were having the full college experience.
I suppose they did other things, too; things beyond what I could see, like having meetings to decide upon philanthropic activities and then carrying out these plans. Presumably, they also “looked out for each other” when job opportunities arose; the seasoned career “Greeks” giving a hand up to the ones starting out. This is what I would hear.
To this day, I still don’t know the ins and outs of sorority life. Some of my friends and acquaintances rarely mention their past involvement, while others still express pride and stay “active.” And to them I say, why not? …if it remains fulfilling.
Did I miss out? Nope.How about you? What has been your experience with sororities, fraternities, and social clubs?