“I love my sisters. I love my sisters. I love my sisters.”
This was the mantra I repeated over and over again as I cleaned up puke, unclogged the sink and quieted 2 a.m. screaming during my term as sorority house manager last year. It worked—most of the time.
As a liaison between the university and the sorority, it was my job to oversee all things concerning the house and the sisters living in it. The experience tested my limits and tolerance for the sisterhood, but I somehow survived and emerged still basking in the glow of sisterly love.
For any collegiette considering a year in the estrogen-overloaded sorority house, I share a few stories of how I survived near death by sisterhood.
The 13th House Girl
Even though there were only 12 of us in the house, there were a couple of stragglers who unofficially lived there, most infamously, the one we called “The 13th House Girl.” The 13th House Girl, let it be known, was male. Specifically, he was a good friend of one of the sisters living there, but he’d also had a brief romantic fling with another.
Sound like a recipe for disaster? You bet it was.
He was at the house almost every day, doing homework, having dinner or hanging out, treating the place like it was his home—and based on the smell of any guy’s dorm room, you can imagine what that meant for me as house manager. Worst of all, he frequented the upstairs portion of the house, much to the chagrin of the occasional sister walking out of the bathroom in a towel.
No matter how many hints we dropped, he never took the bait and realized how annoyed we all were with his presence. Even calling him The 13th House Girl to his face wasn’t enough to make him leave. In fact, we think he might have actually liked it.
My Sisters’ Keeper
From the mystery meat in the dining hall to the first-time chefs attempting microwave masterpieces, collegiate cuisine is never boring, that’s for sure. But regular 2 a.m. fire alarms from burnt microwave popcorn can get old fast.
Nothing smells worse than old food caught in burners, stuck to oven racks or clinging to microwave turntables. And almost nothing makes more smoke.
Older residence halls and apartment buildings tend to have years of gunk built up from sloppy cooks. So when you move in, give your burners and oven a good scrubbing. If you’ve got an oven full of gunk, remove the racks and wipe them down with a damp paper towel. Then use soapy water or an oven cleaner like this one to wipe down the walls of the oven. If the burners on your stove are removable coils, take those apart, too, and let them sit in soapy water before scrubbing them down. Make an oven or microwave window sparkle with a mixture of vinegar and water. Remember to do all your cleaning when appliances are cool!
Michelle Edgar has always known she wanted to contribute to philanthropic music organizations, but if you’d asked her in college, she never would have thought she’d start her own charity.
The Northwestern University graduate has been involved with the arts since childhood, training in classical piano since age five and graduating from the Manhattan School of Music. But when she looked for an organization worth her support, her search came up short.
“None were true to what I stood for,” said Edgar. What she does stand for is bringing people together to support underserved communities through all genres of music – be it classical, rock or hip hop – and that’s exactly what Music Unites does.
Edgar said the big idea came to her in 2008 after a special benefit concert for the Rainforest Foundation, a philanthropic organization started by rock phenomenon Sting and his wife Trudy. The show featured well-known artists like James Taylor and Billy Joel, but had classical artists and the artists’ children programmed into it as well.
“It was a totally different way to experience classical music,” said Edgar. “It changed the way I listened to everything.”
From there, the light bulb was lit, and she organized a group that promotes emerging artists while bringing together people from all walks of life. In April 2009, New York City-based Music Unites was born. “People asked me, ‘Why now, in a recession?’” said Edgar. “But you just have to listen to yourself. I’m a firm believer in pursuing your dreams.”
Even after graduating, most college students spend years before they know what they’ll be doing the rest of their lives, but U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Leela J. Gray knew her path by the time she was a sophomore at Elon University in 1986. Currently assigned to the Multinational Corps Iraq in Baghdad since July 2009, Gray shares how she went from an ROTC cadet to Lieutenant Colonel – and did it all while maintaining a social life and having a family.Q: What was your time in college like?
A: Paying for college on my own meant working two jobs at times and taking student loans and the Pell grant every semester. During my sophomore year, I was fortunate enough to be offered a 2-year ROTC scholarship because of my grades and potential. Juggling a 15-18 hour per semester school load, part-time jobs, ROTC and then having the privilege and opportunity to start an Alpha Omicron Pi chapter kept me very busy and laid the groundwork for my organizational skills I use today.Q: How have you been able to use what you learned as a Mass Communications major in your military career?
A: I loved Mass Communications and think the courses gave me a wonderful baseline of knowledge from which to operate. My favorites were anything dealing with video. Of course technologies and techniques have dramatically leapt forward, but many of the communication principles remain constant.
Lifetime’s “Army Wives” might be a little melodramatic (not to mention filled with bad acting), but the show’s emotion-filled episodes aren’t always far off base.
Her Campus talked with two experienced military girlfriends to find out what it’s like to have a camo-clad boyfriend.Meagan’s story
For University of Maryland sophomore Meagan Keller, long-term separations and deployment decisions are a daily reality.
“It definitely has its ups and downs, but I know he’s eventually going to come home,” Keller said of Eric Goldenthal, her boyfriend of 11 months.
Goldenthal, a U.S. Army combat engineer, has been stationed in Heidelberg, Germany since July 2009, and Keller’s still waiting for the day he gets orders to a war zone.
“We haven’t gotten to deployment yet, but he could possibly see combat,” she said. “I don’t like having to worry if he’s coming home.”
The typical college girl might pine for her man while they’re separated for winter break, but Keller has endured six long months without so much as a hug from her boyfriend, a feat even veteran long-distance couples would admire.
So how has she done it?
In the beginning, “rough” wouldn’t come close to describing the effect on their relationship.
“We were feeling the stretch,” she said. “We wouldn’t talk every day because it was expensive and there was such a time difference. I didn’t see anything of him for months, just the pictures his friends posted, and that wasn’t even very often. We had to make the decision to take the extra effort and talk every day or it wouldn’t work.” Then they discovered the joys of modern technology. If you ask Keller, she wouldn’t say she hasn’t “seen” her boyfriend in six months because she sees his face on a daily basis – on her computer screen.
When it comes to fraternity boyfriends, you don’t just date the guy; you date the entire fraternity.
Her Campus took a look into the experiences of fraternity girlfriends to dish out the struggles and successes of dating a guy who’s gone Greek.Pro: Guy-friends galore
Elon University senior Katie Hatcher learned early on that being a fraternity girlfriend meant more than dealing with her beau’s penchant for bowties. She met her former boyfriend of two-and-a-half years during freshman orientation, and when he accepted a bid from a fraternity the next fall, Hatcher quickly realized her boyfriend’s brotherhood would become hers as well.
As her boyfriend earned his letters, embraced traditions and introduced Hatcher to the fraternity social scene, the relationships he developed paralleled on her end, leaving her with a slew of male friends.
“One brother said to me, ‘[The fraternity] protects its own, and you’re one of our own,’” Hatcher says.
Elon junior Cece Fitzgerald says her year-long relationship with her boyfriend extended her friendships with his brothers. Many of her sorority sisters are their mutual friends, completing her Greek-esque social circle.
“[Hanging out with them] is something I’d be doing regardless,” Fitzgerald says. “It just makes it easier that I’m dating him.”
Feeling down? Put down the Ben & Jerry’s. According to college students, one of the best ways to make yourself feel better is to log onto the Internet and read a few posts on FMyLife.com, TextsFromLastNight.com, PostSecret.com or MyLifeIsAverage.com
With millions of visitors each day, these blogs allow any user to share his or her thoughts with the masses in the form of a few lines of text, or, in the case of PostSecret, a single post card.
Hood College junior Rachel Morgan is just one of the many who turn to anonymous microblogging sites like these when they need a quick pick-me-up.
“When I have bad days, those stories make me feel better because they’re so much more ridiculous [than my own],” Morgan says.
It started with PostSecret.com in 2005, a community art project and blog that allows people to anonymously mail postcards with their secrets written on them. Some are sad and serious, but others are silly and lighthearted, evoking a mix of emotions some students say is just right.
To date, PostSecret.com logs more than 200 million visits, and a 2008 Youth Trends report called the site the tenth most popular among female students. But its popularity seems to have been replaced by more recent, less meaningful (though possibly more entertaining) projects.
In 2008, Web entrepreneurs Maxime Valette, Guillaume Passaglia and Didier Guedj launched the English version of one of the most popular French Web sites to hit cyberspace. Viedemerde.fr, which translates to “life of sh--,” spawned its English language equivalent FMyLife.com, a blog that serves as a “recollection of everyday anecdotes likely to happen to anyone,” according to its Web site.
It’s 8 p.m. and already pitch-black when you get back from the library on a Sunday night. You flip on the lights in your room and reach for the cord to lower your window blinds. THUNK. Either you tugged the stubborn thing a little too hard or, more likely, the college maintenance staff hasn’t replaced the blinds since 1970. Whatever the case, the blinds are laying at your feet, and the screws that held them in place are rolling across the floor.
In times like these, calling your boyfriend makes you look helpless, whining to Dad will only reinforce his belief that you can’t survive on your own, and waiting around for maintenance to arrive three days later is just not an option. So what do you do? Fix it yourself! Here are ten reasons why a toolkit is as much a girl’s best friend as her jewelry box:1. IT’S AN INSTANT FIX
Rather than having every passerby stare into your first-floor dorm room, just have a screwdriver on hand. They come in several varieties, the two most common being flathead and Philip’s head. Instead of waiting for maintenance crews to make it to your dorm sometime in the next 72 hours, just match the appropriate screwdriver to the screws that fell out, align the holes in the bracket to the holes in your window frame and turn the screw to right to put the blinds back in. Just remember: “Righty tighty, lefty loosey.”2. IT’S A MAN MAGNET
Try as you might to lure them with flirting and sexy outfits, guys tend to respond best to the unusual. When you volunteer the missing tools to help build his next beer pong table, you can bet he’ll take notice. And that guy friend who is always making fun of your inability to unscrew the cap to your soda? He’ll be floored when you tighten the loose door handle he’s been ignoring for months.