Four Years vs. Forever

by KJ McNamara

It took me a really long time to figure out what people meant when they said that sorority was forever. I remember sitting in workshops and meetings in college listening to old ladies tell me it was “forever  and whispering to myself, “Do you expect me to have the sticker on my car forever? That’s weird.

I was not the girl who got excited about joining a sorority for “bridesmaids”. To me, bridesmaids were just non-brides in fluffy pastel outfits, so that line never worked.

I have always been career motivated, so people telling me that “Greeks hire Greeks” did not get me excited either, because there was never a doubt in my mind that I was going to get hired. I did not like the idea of the “Greek mafia”, or only being hired because I was Greek.

That said, here is what I have learned about what it means to be forever versus four years.

No one on this planet gets me. And when I say no one gets me, I mean no one understands why I would go to bed at 2:00 a.m. to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to catch a flight to get to rural Kentucky for work. No one understands why I would travel on over 250 flights in one year. No one understands that I work on the weekends, only to go home on week days to talk about – you guessed it – work.

No one on this planet besides my mom, dad, sister, and a handful of other people “get me”. All of those people happen to be sorority women and fraternity men.

Being in a fraternity or sorority is forever for this reason alone. There is something inside of you that wants more. More in the world, more in yourself, and more in the people around you. I was talking to my dad last night on the phone and he said to me, “You have always had high expectations of everything in your life, you have never settled. I am proud of you for that, you were born that way.”

That is us as fraternity men and sorority women. We have always been a little different, a little exceptional, a little meticulous, a little bit more driven… welcome to being Greek. I guess when you grow up, you need to know you will continue to stand out, and you will continue to be a little different.

You did not join fraternity or sorority because it was something to do. You joined because when you read (or stalked) our websites, you saw words and promises of excellence, passion, drive, deeply caring about one another and supporting one another, and becoming the best version of yourself, . I am confident when I say this because you are reading a blog about being Greek for fun right now.

You wanted more, and you saw that we could provide more, and that is why you joined us. In it you had high moments, like that time you organized an amazing experience for your members. You had low moments, like the time you felt alone and betrayed by your own chapter members.

When you graduate, you might not stay close with every one of your friends from college. Yes, you will go to a few weddings where your entire pledge class is invited, and it will be a blast! But, that will eventually end. Then you will be left with 5 or 6 people you stayed close to. And those people will become your friends with the most inside jokes, and the ones you call when you need a happy hour after a stressful day. Then they become something much, much more…

They become the people you call when you fall apart. When your mom has a heart attack, or when your baby is sick, or when your partner leaves, or when you get the scary diagnosis for yourself.

What I have learned is that because we are so high achieving, we are also the best at looking perfect. We are the best at looking fine. We have perfected the art of crying inside and smiling outside. You know who you are. You can already feel it when you have a member come to you with a crisis when you just got your heart broken, and you go and fix the crisis and not your heart.

You are strong, you are capable… that is why you are in a fraternity or a sorority. That is why you are leading fraternity and sorority. But my dear friend… who is going to take care of you? No only now, but forever? Let me answer that question for you: we will. That is what we were built for. We were built to love you when you do not believe you are worthy of love. We are here to celebrate you in the sun and whisper love into your ear in the dark.

We are not forever because of jobs, football games, alumni weekends and weddings. We are forever because of the darker stuff. Because we get you, we see you, we are you, and we know your pain… we have felt it too.

So when you struggle in life because you are the person everyone looks to when they need a problem solver, we are always an ear shot away to help you solve your problems too… even if you don’t think you deserve it. Perfectionists rarely believe they deserve love. But I know you are so deserving of love.

We are forever, because we are true beautiful friendship. Nothing else actually matters.

** Thank you to my dear friends for inspiring this blog. You mean the world to me. I thank God for Kappa Delta, because it brought me to you.