On Friends and Sisters

We look like exactly the kind of girls I'd like to be friends with
When I was about 13, I read a in-depth article about sororities. It was pretty appalling. The excessive drinking, exorbitant dues and early morning cat-fights seemed like some of the lesser evils while most of the initiatory activities were indistinguishable from torture. I really didn't get it. Why would anyone choose--let alone pay--to be put through varied forms of base humiliation by a bunch of nasty girls? At the time, there seemed to be easier ways to make friends.

Fast-forward 6 years and I may have changed my mind a little. I'm not planning to join a sorority, but I understand why a girl would.

This fall I'm transferring to a new school and, to be completely honest, the prospect scares the heebie jeebies out of me! I'm really excited, but it's going to be a big transition. Now, more than ever, I understand why someone would want to have the built-in support system provided by a sorority.

I like people and--for the most part--people like me too. But I'm bad at making the effort to make friends--at trying to be friends with people. I suppose I expect others to do the initial work--to befriend me--and that's a terrible habit. A habit which I'm sure is born of having four really wonderful sisters.

My sisters are the best friends I could ever ask for. Having them is like being part of the coolest sorority. Ever. But their friendship is a double edged sword. It has spoiled me. I don't feel a real need to branch out because I know I'll always have four really awesome friends. Unlike most sororities, being friends with FIVE is cheap (at least for me)! No monetary incentives are required and, though they may participate in a bit of hazing here and there, it's all pretty tame. Plus, no matter how moody, uncommunicative, or lazy I am--I know they'll still love me.

As I embark on this new adventure, I kind of wish I could take my sorority along. But, for some inexplicable reason, One, Two and Three are completely unwilling to abandon their babies, spouses and jobs to be my travelling support group. And maybe that's a good thing. Five and I will be transferring together--and there will be a huge temptation to spend all of our time together. It's just easier to spend time with people who already understand what you've been through. But usually the easiest things aren't the most enriching. 

So I'm going to try to expand my circle. I mean really try to make good friends and really try to be a better friend.

When I started college, I did it with the understanding that I would transfer. Because of that, I didn't integrate fully into campus life. I was in a few clubs and I made few good friends, but I was really focused on my academics. I wasn't as open as I wish I would have been, and I think my experience would have been different and better if I had been more outgoing. Now I have the opportunity to do things a little differently, to be warmer, and to take advantage of all of the interesting people who I'll be around.

I'm curious, if you had the opportunity to go back to college, what would you do differently? What did you do well?