Hello fab people, and welcome to the beginning of Thanksgiving Week! I’m SO excited to get off and travel, but not without a bit of fun before I head off to the City of Angels. Will I cry at the first sight of the Hollywood sign? Will I stuff myself with cheesecake and imagine I’m in 90210? All of these things are highly probable, but now what’s a definite is that I am a sorority girl. This girl here passed her national test (with 97% yaaaaaas) and is now going to become an official member of Omega Phi Alpha.
The whole day of passing my National Test was wonderful, as I got to celebrate Thanksgiving early with some of my fellow sorority girls. I LOVE spending time in their company, and I already don’t want to spend just a year with them. True life-long friends! I went over to the apartment and we had cute food, cute chats and just even more bonding. One of the main differences between British and American uni houses is the amount of animals. Many of my pals over here have dogs/cats/fish, you name it, there’s probably someone in Flagstaff with one. The apartment that I went to has a super cute cat called Waldo. Normally, I’m not a cat lady, but this cat makes me channel my inner cat lover that I didn’t realise I had.
The food at Friendsgiving was DELICIOUS. Thanksgiving food is synonymous to Christmas food in the UK, but on an EVEN bigger scale. I was truly astounded by how much food there was to have. Fried chicken, mash, stuffing, potato gratin (it has a proper American name but I don’t know what it is) and even more desert options! I finally got to have my slice of pumpkin pie and I didn’t think it was possible, but I’m now even more of a basic bitch than I thought I could be. Achieving the dreams in America.
I think it’s fair to say that without the sorority, I’d be a totally different person out here. MAJORLY thankful to the gals out here. Love you crazy amounts.
Okay, now for the official sorority stuff. So, my sorority isn’t Panhellenic (aka the types that you see in the movies). Yes, we are a part of Greek life, but I pledged to be part of a National Service sorority. We have to complete certain requirements throughout each semester as well as take quizzes during our pledge semester. It’s not that stressful, but you really have to be precise. Here’s some questions though that I’ve been asked, and I’ll try to answer them as best as possible based on my experiences so far.
What is Omega Phi Alpha? What is its purpose?
Omega Phi Alpha (OphiA for short) is a national service sorority with hundreds of collegiate members who actively serve their communities. Through the various chapters at 30 universities across the United States, OPA sisters strive to further the sorority’s principles of friendship, leadership and service. As we’ve been quizzed on the purpose alllll the time:
‘the purpose and goals of this sorority shall be to assemble its members in the fellowship of Omega Phi Alpha, to develop friendship, leadership and co-operation by promoting service to the university community, to the community at large, to the members of the sorority and to the nations of the world’.
What is it like to pledge? Is there hazing?
I have LOVED this PNM semester. OphiA has a strict no ‘hazing’ policy (hazing is when potential new members are subject to humiliating tasks). It’s beginning to be erased from Greek life across the US, yet it will never truly go. Yes, there have been deaths across the US as a direct consequence of alcohol and hazing, however OphiA is a dry sorority. Pledging is learning about the sorority, its values, meeting everyone, getting your BIG etc… it’s been so great and I am so excited for activation.
What’s a ‘big’?
Okay, so a big is just like a role model with the sorority. It’s kept secret for weeks and weeks which is so tough cause you want to find out straight away. But, big/little reveal was one of my favourite evenings of the US and possibly of 2016. I was SO excited to see Olivia as my big. You’re then in a family; Lyn is my g-big, Amy is my gg-big and the family gets massive. Someone up in the family tree took on 6 LITTLES! CRAZY.
How will Greek life affect a student’s grades?
You have to have a certain GPA in order to be accepted into Greek Life for a start. In fact, statistics show that people in Greek life are more likely to have higher GPA’s than those who do not. I mean, I’m constantly surrounded by clever, talented women who I’m in awe of.
How much time will a student have to put into a Greek chapter?
It’s what you make of it. So, my chapter has to have at least 20 hours of service to be an active, but you can OBVIOUSLY put in more if you want to. It’s highly encouraged to do this in order to be the best member you can be. With 60% turnout needed for an event to be official, it pays off to go to as much as possible.
How expensive is it to join a Greek chapter?
The classic question. So, I consider the sorority I’ve pledged for to be extremely reasonable. At just under $250 for the year, it’s grand. In comparison to the NPC’s that pay $1000’s per year, it’s remarkably cheap. I would pay around $250 in equivalent for my societies during the year. It’s a small price to pay for such a major reward and the lifelong memories and friends that I’ll make out of it.
Greek life is honestly so much fun and my room is very quickly becoming a sorority-filled, poster adorned mecca. It’s so cute! I even have an Elle Woods inspired poster, perfect sorority lass. (Love you Olivia).
So as you can see, sorority life is wonderful. I’m so excited to put on my pretty dress for activation on December 3rd and be an official, proper member of Omega Phi Alpha. As this song suggests, I really am so much better than before.