I Got A Little After I Graduated College


My heart pounded as I knocked on the door.

“This is it.” I told myself, clenching the lavaliere in my hand. I tried to steady my breathing as I heard someone race to open the door. I glanced at one of my closest sisters and she nodded back at me in encouragement. As the door slammed open and I heard a scream, I knew that it had all lead up to this. Despite the fact that I lived thousands of miles away, that I was an actual adult, and that I had graduated a year ago, I knew I was doing the right thing.

I knew I wanted this girl to be my little.

So how? How is it that a few days ago you would have found me in my sorority sister’s apartment, a little drunk and very nervous, asking her to be my little? Here I am, a 23-and-a-half-year-old college graduate who moved across the country for a job over eight months ago? Someone who no longer attends chapter. Someone who doesn’t know a single new member. Someone who feels sort of weird about wearing her letters on a grocery run because she’s no longer active?

The reason? Because being in a sorority really is about sincere friendships. And this girl? She was something special.

I met her during recruitment my senior year. I knew that I wanted her to be my little since our first conversation. We talked about the music we liked, the books we read, and the tattoos we had. She showed me the small Harry Potter tattoo on her ankle, and I immediately flipped my head upside down to show her the matching one behind my ear.

That’s right. We had fucking matching tattoos.

When she left that day, I knew I wanted her to be my sister. So come preference night, I preffed the shit out of her. I spoke of our sisterhood, of our shared interests, and of all thing things I loved about my chapter. I thought I would have to try to win her over with my hushed voice and awkward jokes, but it was effortless. We cried and hugged and as I saw her to the door, I hoped more than anything she’d be back. And on Bid Day, when I held her name on a makeshift sign (which I broke immediately), I never felt happier to be Greek.

And then, life fucking happened.

I was a senior, and the other girl she wanted as her big was a sophomore. Anyone would have made the choice she did. But when that list was posted, and I immediately got texts from my family and sisters saying how sorry they were, my heart sank. I knew: I wasn’t going to have a little.

And I was crushed. Sure, I technically had a little sister, but she had dropped our sorority a few months before. And even though we remained incredibly close, I couldn’t help but wish I had a Greek little sister. I hated that our family line was dead. I hated that I wasn’t going to have any grand-littles. I hated that I didn’t get to call this amazing girl who I brought into this chapter, “mine.”

So time passed. She got a different big. Our chapter had COB. I got a new little. We got along decently for a few months. She dropped at the end of the semester. So here I was. A senior with a semester left, with two littles who had dropped, and accepting of the fact that our family branch died with me.

And because I’m not a complete weirdo, I moved on. I finished my senior year and got ready for the future. I spent less time caring about my sorority and more time applying for careers, as most college graduates do. I got a job. I moved away. I stopped wearing my letters every time I left the house and I hung up fewer makeshift crafts from my undergrad years. I lost contact with friendships that couldn’t survive the distance and I strengthen the ones that flourished. And despite the distance, the lifestyle shifts, and the time, she and I remained close.

And then, her big dropped. Her and her littles were family-less. At first, I didn’t think much of it. “It happens.” I told myself, as I texted her to make sure she was okay. It wasn’t until months later when I had the idea. After talking to one of her friends, I was told just how much she wished I had been her big (hello, inflated ego). It was a crazy, dumb, “this is too late and sort of awkward why are you doing this” idea, but I was going to do it.

I was going to lavaliere her. I was going to adopt her. And after all of this time, I was going to make her my little.

Not because I had “little fever” and not because I wanted my line to continue. Not because it would change our friendship and not because the exec board could literally do nothing about it (LOL sorry). But because I had thought of her as my little sister since the day I met her, and it was time we made it official.

So I bought a lavaliere. I bought a plane ticket. I texted her littles and our friends and bought some time. And then I arrived at her door, finally ready to make things right.

And two years after being crushed that she wasn’t my little, I presented her with our sorority’s letters and asked her to be in my family. That’s when it finally occurred to me. Greek life isn’t about the socials. It isn’t about the tiers or the boys (okay, maybe just a little). It’s about the sincere friendships you make. The ride or dies. The girls who will be there for you, no matter how much time has passed or how much shit has gone down.

So when you walk across that stage, it doesn’t mean you hang up your letters. You can chose to let them still be a part of you. And you can decide what that means. If it means donating $35 to the alumni organization for a copy of headquarter’s magazine then do it. If it means Snapchatting your twin every time you go pee at your professional career, then carry on. But if it means going back, making your own rules, and creating the family you were meant to have, then go for it.

Because when they say it isn’t four years, it’s for life, they mean it. And this time, there wasn’t a new member educator to tell me that she didn’t get to be my little. We both made the decision, and it was the smartest choice I ever made in Greek life. So with little season quickly approaching, know that the list they post isn’t everything. You can still be close with someone who isn’t your little. And if all else fails, just hope that her big drops and then adopt her once you’ve graduated. Besides, if exec doesn’t like it, what are they going to do? Send you to standards? JK. Sort of.

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Rachel Varina

(yeahokaywhat) Aspiring to be the next Tina Fey, Rachel spends her free time doing nothing to reach that goal. While judging people based on how they use "they're" vs. "there" on social media, she likes eating buffalo chicken dip, watching other people's Netflix, and wearing sweatpants way more than is socially acceptable.

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