Dear Hannah Lee,
My friends and I went through Rush together, and in the end, some of us accepted bids from different sororities, and others decided that Greek life wasn’t for them. While I’m excited that some of us are now members of the sororities we wanted to join, I’m worried that we all won’t be as close anymore, especially when some of them joined the same organizations. How can I make sure we all still stay close while balancing new friends, too?
Making New Friends and Keeping the Old?
Dear New and Old Friend,
Congratulations on your new sister/siblinghood. And props to you for being mindful of how your decision may impact your social circle. Let me begin by saying that of course you can join a new group of friends without losing your preexisting pals. There’s no limit on how many friends you’re allowed to have. I’m a senior with a friend group that formed during our firstyear and I still seek out new friendships.
An awesome aspect of Greek life is that it introduces you to a circle of new friends. However, as the majority of Kenyon students have no Greek affiliation, what rule says that your new organization can be your only circle? After all, this isn’t high school in the 1980s — we’re well past John Hughes’ brat pack social cliques.
The members of my sorority involve themselves in numerous on-campus organizations, like the soccer team, the Beer and Sex Advisors and Head Start volunteering. You determine your number of friendships on this campus. It’s not like there’s a massive roadblock between different teams, clubs and organizations. Kenyon College is too small to function like that.
That said, you’re probably right to suspect that some aspects of your friendships may change. So what? Change isn’t bad. Time passes and people grow and evolve, and as a result friendships evolve and grow from that. Think about your high school friends. Are you all the same people now that you were during high school? Chances are, probably not, yet your friendship survived. Why shouldn’t that happen again?
You and your college friends may find yourselves busier now that you’ve joined social organizations. The time you used to spend with friends will soon include meetings, events and additional new friends to get to know. This may mean fewer late-night recaps of Old K escapades and missing some shared Peirce meals. When you text them to order pizza with you at 11 p.m., they may already be eating some with new friends, and vice versa. You could let moments like these bum you out, but what good does that do you?
Let me assure you, you and your friendships will survive. Being in college (and just being a person in general) is a juggling act. You must juggle your courses, your extracurricular activities, your chores (that laundry won’t do itself) and yes, your friendships.
It’s on you and your friends to carve out some quality time for each other. Make a standing Wiggin date for each week. Agree on a common time for a meal. Do you and your friend both have a chunk of time between your 8:10 and 11:10? Plan on a regular study session. Make whatever commitments seems doable for you all and honor them. You allocate the appropriate amount of time to your classes and organizations’ events, so make sure you and your friends show each other the same degree of commitment.
What are your burning questions? Don’t know what to do about your hookup’s return from a semester abroad? Trying to rein in reactions to out-of-control email threads? Submit anonymously on tinyurl.com/kenyonqs or ask Hannah Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org and she can offer the written equivalent of a hug.