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Original photo by Erin Coughenour
Life

Finding Sisterhood

My dad’s fondest university memories are the ones he shared with his fraternity brothers. As a member of Phi Kappa Sigma at Washington and Jefferson College, he had the opportunity to meet a great group of young men that he spent his days laughing and learning with. Unfortunately, due to the passage of time (and the fact that my dad isn’t very tech-savvy), he lost touch with his fraternity brothers for most of his adult life. Until one day last year, he got an email from one of his brothers about a reunion party! So, he and my mom took the trip out to Pittsburgh and went to see his brothers.

When he came back, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy for something that didn’t involve myself or my brother. My parents gave up a lot of their own personal lives when they had kids, and as (somewhat of) an adult now, it’s been amazing for me to see them start to develop their own personal lives and friends again. My dad told me so many stories about his brothers and how even though years had passed, it was like nothing had even changed. Everyone says “Greek life isn’t just four years, but your whole life,” and yet it’s a whole different ball game to truly see the lifelong bond that Greek life creates. I was already debating joining a sorority, but that was the moment when I decided to go all in and take a leap of faith.

[bf_image id="f7h8m76bzfk2ncrkw6c98mc"] As I ran home to my sisters of Kappa Kappa Gamma on Bid Day last September, it felt like all of the stars had aligned and I was finally where I was meant to be. I immediately understood the lifelong connection everyone was always talking about. I had never met so many girls who liked the same things I did, from movies to stand up comedians to music and more. Even though I was still a little intimidated, every single woman treated me with respect and kindness right off the bat. As we laughed and got to know each other better, I knew I had made the right decision when I chose to go through recruitment. 

Big Little dates were a whirlwind of lunches, dinners, and lots of coffee. One of the best moments of my first year as a Kappa was Big Little reveal. We were all handed puzzle pieces crafted by our bigs that were the clue to figuring out who they were when we walked into the room. I knew who mine was as soon as I looked at the Captain Marvel themed piece. When I saw her standing with my family line and she gave me a gigantic hug, I was filled with so much happiness. I spent that whole night eating McDonald’s and getting to know my big, grandbig (aka her big), and my great grandbig (aka my gbig’s big) better. I’ve never had an older sibling or sisters, but being with them, I truly feel like I have three big sisters to help me through life. 

[bf_image id="v9t7p8xq496rv7gmmt9ftksg"] The sisterhood I’ve experienced as a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma is invaluable. A stereotype we sadly hear all the time is that we pay for our friends, which is blatantly untrue. We pay for our experiences and events, but the sisterhood we have is so genuine. Of course, you aren’t going to be best friends with everybody, but the unconditional care for each other that sisters have will always be there. No matter what, we have each others’ backs. Growing up, I never had big groups of girlfriends so being surrounded by so many strong women has truly improved my life. These women are my sisters and my best friends, and I am so grateful for each and every one of them.

Erin Coughenour

Waterloo '22

I am a third year GBDA student. I enjoy reading, watching movies & TV, and listening to music. I am a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. I try my best to be the Leslie Knope of whatever I do.
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