A first year questions connections with her new sisters
Why the hell haven’t I been hazed already? Call me an ignorant first year, but this sorority is so much more chill than I expected. I have to spend less time than expected with these ladies, and that surprises me. Don’t get me wrong; they have been nothing but welcoming. I have been showered with gifts. That being said, I’m skeptical about whether I’ll genuinely connect with my pledge class or the group’s current sisters before I have to pay my dues. I’m not excited about that idea — I’m not even sure if Greek life is for me. Let me explain with a story.
I have attended the same summer camp since age 11, when I expected a Hogwarts letter but instead got sent into the woods of North Carolina to frolic in its streams and valleys. During my fifth summer, I returned to take leadership classes as a junior counselor.
One day, the 10 of us junior counselors were blindfolded and told to sit in silence on a camp van. We were driven to a cold North Carolina stream out in the wilderness and divided in half: One half was filled in on what the day’s activities would be, and the other was left to wait silently in the camp van.
I was in the group that had no idea what was going on. We were anxious about being blindfolded and feeling out of control, but we also felt excited and were buzzing with energy: We knew we were safe so we didn’t mind feeling out of control.
That feeling changed as we were led out of the van one by one down to the creek. We were told to take off our shoes and in seconds were being led blindfolded over a series of stones in the water. The entire time my heart pounded mercilessly and I both laughed and shook as we crossed those rocks.
It sounds weird, but it was a fun sort of terrified. I remember my incredible relief when I finally got to take off my blindfold and see I was being quietly guided to safety by one of my closest friends.
Right now I have friends fumbling every which way in the dark — I wonder if they’re enjoying their blindfolded experience as they go Greek at Kenyon. I have close pals who have to call their older “sisters” or “brothers” royal nicknames, and others who lose over four hours a week doing secret activities specifically associated with “pledging.” That doesn’t include the number of hours of sleep they might be missing due to the anxiety that comes from being led around blindfolded.
I don’t envy them for the amount of time this all seems to take. I feel busy enough, but that being said, I envy them for the sort of bond they’re going to share after surviving all this with their pledge class at their side.
I’m not saying I condone hazing, though I’ll admit I expected it — perhaps not in the big-university way in which girls have to sit on a washing machine while their sisters circle their fat in Sharpie, and certainly not in the way that leads to alcohol poisoning or strange “accidental” deaths — but at the same time, I feel disappointed in the group I have joined, because I haven’t really had any sort of bonding experiences with them yet. Maybe it’s too early to tell, but I feel cheated.
Jess Kusher ’19 is a biology and film major from Spartanburg, S.C. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.