This past weekend I journeyed back to my alma mater to help my sorority with their fall recruitment. It’s been 20(ish) years since my college/sorority days, and while I was excited to be back on campus and soaking up the youthful energy, I was also reminded of just how far I’ve come in the interim.
Translation: I do not have the energy I once did.
When you are in the age range of 18-21 you tend to want to be as independent as possible, and that’s all well and good, but as you get older you learn that there are people out there who are willing to help you. And you figure out that when people help you it doesn’t diminish your independence unless you let it. And when you have passed a certain benchmark in the “getting older” part of your life (say, past the age of 40), you are more than happy to help people who are half your age.
It’s too bad that when you’re in that 18-21 age range you don’t really understand any of that.
When I arrived on campus on Saturday, I found the sorority girls in a full-blown panic over things that should not have been panicked over. That is to say, if they had their ducks in a row ahead of time the panic wouldn’t have taken place at all. The alums that came to help the girls with rush (me included) were pretty much groping around in the dark for answers, and very much wanting to take some of the pressure off the girls with all the little party details, so that they could focus their energies on the recruitment part of the thing. But no, these girls were trying to do it all themselves, and they were starting to lose their shit.
Rush is a pretty stressful time for everybody involved. Party planning, decorations, refreshments, skits, lines to learn, figuring out what to wear… it’s a lot to keep all those balls in the air. When you’re an 18-21 year old woman (girl?), all that stuff can take on a level of importance akin to national security and you tend to get a wee bit peevish and a lot of times there are tears. When someone else comes along and offers to help, you should happily take that help, yes?
You would think.
To be fair, when you’re under a lot of pressure it’s not always easy to see an outstretched hand coming to your aid. When we finally were able to wrest some of the little detail stuff from them, the stress level went down a bit and they were able to get in there and do that recruitment thing that they had been training for all summer. And once the last party attendee was out the door, the girls were so very thankful for our help.
The fly in the ointment here is that there were representatives from the national headquarters of our sorority “helping” with all of this. Things would have gone so much more smoothly if they had involved us alums from the get-go, but they didn’t even seem to want to acknowledge us. It really put a lot of the alums into a snit.
And here is where I tend to differ from the rest of the women in the room. While I want this fall recruitment to go well and our sorority to maintain a strong presence on campus, I am not heavily invested in how they treat those of us who are old enough to be their mamas. I mean, yes, I was a bit put out about the lack of communication — mainly because I am not a big fan of flying by the seat of my pants — but I didn’t necessarily take it personally.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I much prefer the company of men.