How I Found My Home in an Academic Fraternity

In my junior year of college, I did something I thought I’d never do: I participated in sorority recruitment.

Kitty Geoghan, Managing Editor; The Reporter

My decision to rush was driven by a number of factors, but most of all, I was looking for a family, and I believed that joining a sorority was my ticket to finding that.

Unfortunately, the stars weren’t in my favor: I was dropped from recruitment. It was a difficult time, and I spent a long time wondering what had gone wrong. I met with sisters, I had good conversations, I shared my values, I found myself agreeing with nearly every message the houses threw at me. – but somehow, even with all the social progress I’d made in college, I still wasn’t worthy to join their sisterhood. I felt like I was a kid again, that weird, moppy-headed girl in hand-me-down clothes who didn’t understand basic social skills and would never be one of the “cool kids.”

For a long time, I was bitter. I read articles (and wrote some blurbs of my own) about how grossly exclusive sororities were, about how they rejected anything that was different and enforced restrictive social norms, about how classist it was to demand girls pay hundreds of dollars a semester to have rules about what color shoes they were allowed to wear. And at that point, I realized that maybe the reason I didn’t get in was because sororities weren’t meant for me.

For me, social Greek life (particularly Panhellenic) is an organization where girls pay a ton of money to have friends for the sake of having friends.

Sure, Greek orgs do plenty of valuable work in their philanthropies, and I’m certainly not trying to minimize that. And with so many girls in one group, you’re bound to find others with similar interests and form a group that you’re close with. But really, aside from those close groups, what do you have in common with your sisters other than your letters? Wouldn’t it make more sense to meet people through other groups based on a shared interest?

Sorority girls may be satisfied with the community that comes with having a common organization and philanthropy, and that’s great – for them. But it isn’t for me.

Later the same year, after my failed recruitment, a small group of students brought back the Stetson chapter of Kappa Pi, a national honor fraternity for art. As a lifelong lover of art in all forms, I was excited. I submitted an application and was soon invited to join Kappa Pi.

Kappa Pi had everything I was looking for in a sorority. I have a Big (our Editor in Chief Kait, with whom I’ve worked extensively as we’ve put together Hatter Network, and who bought me Nutella and pretzels at initiation – can you say best big ever?) and a family tree. I have a jersey and a bunch of cute little stickers with my letters on them. I have a group of friends within my organization, all of whom are working with me towards a common goal. Although all of us come from different walks of life, every single member has something in common: our love for art.

The truth is, I’m not a sorority girl. I’m not preppy. I don’t wear makeup every day and the day I threw out my last pair of pumps was one of the best days of my life.

I don’t make friends easily, I hate small talk, and I don’t have the energy to maintain superficial friendships. I’ve gotten better at hiding it, but the truth is, I am and will always be a weird kid. I will never be able to fit into the mold of a sorority girl. But that’s okay. Through Kappa Pi, I’ve managed to find a family of artists that support and accept me, just like I wanted from a sisterhood. I have a network of people with similar interests who I know I can count on for help, whether with my art or with anything college life may throw at me. I found everything I wanted out of social Greek life and more. I found my home, and even though it wasn’t with a traditional sisterhood, I wouldn’t change anything about it.