GDI/Geed/Greek? Get Over It

“What’s a ‘geed’?”


Rewind to a few months back, and you’d find me asking this same question, with my eyebrows knit together, and a perplexed, unsettled expression probably on my face. The statement I had overheard that had led me to asking this question is cringeworthy for me to write, even now.


“So, that party last night was fine and all, but to be honest, there were just too many geeds there…”


Needless to say, the speaker of this statement is in a sorority on campus. Now, in the derogatory manner that she had referred to “geeds”, it seemed that her thoughts on them were, er, less than enthused. After a quick translation from another friend, I learned that “geed” is derived from the term GDI (God damn independent), and is a derogatory way to refer to those not in Greek life.  (Whether I was completely out of the loop or downright misinformed, this was an uncertainty that Urban Dictionary could clarify in no time).


I think it’s crystal clear by now that I, in fact, am a geed. GDI. Whatever you want to call it (It’s difficult to even write that, as it sounds so silly in a sentence...).  I was definitely offended when I had heard this coming from a friend of mine. Call me sensitive, but I took her comment as assuming that individuals not in Greek life are all loserish, appalling, ridiculous or unworthy of being around,.


Where did this state of mind originate? Why in the world would someone think a party was subpar simply because of the presence of non sorority/fraternity members? When did this make someone more worthy or less worthy than others? It seems extremely, frighteningly small-minded of anyone to assume that individuals outside of their organization is of less importance and worth than they are. I was disturbed enough by the thought of my friend attaining this state of mind, let alone potentially thousands of other people in that community (although, I’m very aware that this is not a representation of everyone in Greek life). College is a time to expand your horizons, meet new people and learn about different cultures, places and people, not a time to limit yourself by blocking off interactions with anyone outside your inner-circle. Outcasting others because they’re not in your affiliated organization is a classic example of this shortsighted ignorance.


Misunderstandings start when we stifle communication between each other. Often, I feel as if there is an unspoken barrier between myself and Greek life members when conversating. It's like we’re almost speaking different languages sometimes, and I kind of end up feeling like a younger grandma, young but still not hip enough. Usually, I end up getting annoyed and block out key phrases such as “socials”, “two-on-two”, “date party”, “my big”, etc., because I feel that I have nothing relevant to add to that conversation. This often leads to a standstill as there is an awkward, uncomfortable vibe in the air. So, I have a proposal. This proposal is for everyone, those in these organizations or those like myself.


Let’s start a new conversation.


Let’s become a part of each other’s worlds instead of letting the very organizations that are supposed to unite students, divide us. Let’s be more open-minded, and try to consider how we are portraying ourselves and how we view others. Let’s babble less and listen more. It’s great to talk about the organizations and clubs that you love being a part of, but it is so important not to alienate others just because they choose to associate with organizations different from yours. Let’s expand our circles, instead of driving a wedge in between our peers.


Let's ask more, listen more, isolate less.


I remember after a long, painfully, painfully long Monday, I had gotten out of my last class around 8 p.m. I was waiting for the bus, basking in the future promise of passing out in my bed. A friend of a friend’s approached us, and he soon asked for my name. A quick, pauseless counter-question required absolutely no thought from him.


“So what house are you in?”


After I replied that I wasn’t in a sorority, he stared at me wide eyed, with his mouth slightly open, seemingly unsure of how to even continue the conversation after I had given him the jaw-dropping news that I was, in fact, not “in a house”. This had become all too familiar, others just making assumptions, only interested if I had sparkly, fun things to say about what sorority I am in. Had I not been so wiped after a grueling Monday, there would have been multiple things I would have thought to say to Jeff (let’s call him Jeff).


There are so many other interesting things about me, Jeff, besides my status as a ‘geed’ or non-geed. Ask me about what my childhood obsession was. Ask about what my least favorite song is. Ask if I agree that a tomato is a fruit. I have an intimate relationship with Taco Bell, Jeff, ask me about that, and there’s bound to be fruitful discussion. I don’t care, just expand your limited range of questions and topics to more inclusive, ranging topics instead of asking strictly about your personal associations.


I am sharing this short conversation because it seemed to symbolize the inability some have to conversate with others that aren’t a member of their community. I am sharing this because I know that there are others, not just myself, who have felt alienated from their friends and peers in these communities, simply because they have chosen not to be a part of them. I am sharing this because I believe there shouldn’t be this unspoken, invisible divide between those in Greek life, and those who are not.


It’s an excellent thing to be a part of organizations during your college experience. In fact, it’s more than highly recommended. However, It’s even more impactful and purposeful not to limit yourself to the people in those organizations, and to communicate comfortably and normally with others. In other words: let’s all not babble too much about our own shit and get sucked up into our own worlds.


Let’s start a new conversation.