It’s Nicole — It’s Nicole — It’s Nicole that makes the world go ’round —
Those are the words I hope to hear this Friday when my sorority goes to Mory’s for a toasting session. Since I don’t play a sport, can’t hold a note, and am politically clueless, I would never get to experience the time-honored, cup-finishing ritual, if not for Kappa Kappa Gamma.
I’m sure some of you are surprised at the mention of sororities at Yale. Yes, they do exist, although the whole Greek system, in general, is quite dubious. Sororities at Yale are more like social clubs than the institutions you may have seen in Legally Blonde or Animal House. Our sorority doesn’t even have a house, much less raucous, drunken Late Nights — though we do have a lovely apartment. We also don’t technically drink together. Once the alcohol is broken out, we are “officially” not sisters.
To the great disappointment of many of the male species, we don’t haze or have drunken naked orgies during initiation. (That Kappa chapter, which was photographed publicly stripping en masse, was definitely violating some rules.) Instead, we give gifts and cards to the new members.
I’m totally not the stereotypical sorority chick. I certainly don’t have big blonde hair or hail from the South. Furthermore, I don’t own any Prada or Gucci accessories and have never dated the captain of any football team.
When I told my friends at home that I had joined a sorority, they stared at me incredulously, waiting for me to justify myself. Then they busted into their impressions of sorority sisters on Saturday Night Live: “This is Kappa Kappa Gamma, may I help you, help you, help you?” And they kept referring to my sorority as “Visa Visa Mastercard.”
They probably speculated that my foray into Greek life was a reconnaissance mission to expose the inanity of sororities. In high school, I was the one who had joined cheerleading for a season out of self-mockery. I was the only junior on the JV team cheering for the prepubescent freshman and sophomore boys’ basketball team. I vaguely knew about five of the eight cheers and never jumped or kicked due to a backache that coincidentally didn’t get better until after the season. It actually was fun though and I enjoyed amusing my friends.
Perhaps, I joined because the Greek system is in my blood. My dad was a hardcore frat boy in Pi Mu Epsilon, a Mathematics fraternity. I’m sure they played rowdy drinking games like Buzz!, except with integrals and derivatives.
Or maybe I was employing the Texas sorority strategy, which I learned from my friend Lauren, a bona fide Texan. To be a Kappa, some fanatic girls go to Texas Tech, where it’s easier to join, before transferring to the University of Texas, which has a more exclusive chapter.
Okay, I admit it — I came to Yale just to get into Kappa and will be transferring to UT shortly.
It really was a leap of faith when I joined in my first semester. As a disoriented and homesick freshman, I followed my cool residential counselor’s encouragement to join her sorority. For 30 “instant friends, just add water,” all I had to do was commit to paying hefty dues for the next four years. Compared to trade deficits and Yale tuition, the dues seemed a reasonable amount for my emotional sanity.
I got lucky with my risky move, because in the past two years, I have bonded with the unique women of Kappa. With sisters, I hit up Alchemy on Thursday nights, study for exams, and share secrets during revealing games of “Never have I –” During Mory’s sessions, philanthropy projects, formals, and Krush parties, we have enjoyed each others’ company, accomplishments, and single guy friends.
The Kappa Krush party, in particular, allows sisters to collaborate and spread their wealth. At a classy, semi-formal cocktail party, we get to schmooze with the eligible bachelors, pre-screened and pre-approved by our sisters. It’s like Toad’s, without the sketchy townies, the guys with girlfriends (or boyfriends), and beer in quasi-clean plastic cups. Good times for all — and you gotta love the numbers.
We are a very diverse group. Representing so many ethnicities and cultures, our sorority could have been back-ups in Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” video. Walking blue books, we major in every group, from Classics to African-American Studies to psychology to biology. Our sorority could run the freshman bazaar: we sing, play instruments, dance, paint, write, act, debate, volunteer, tutor, counsel, fight, head political groups, cheerlead, and play intramurals.
We have other talents and qualities less bazaar-worthy too. Some of us have inventive tattoos and interesting piercings (wouldn’t you like to know where). We win wet T-shirt contests, arm-wrestle, compete in Tang, and fog up the booty cam at Toad’s.
I honestly wouldn’t have had the chance to know all these intelligent and talented women if not for Kappa.
We’re always looking for more great women to join Kappa and have informal rush each semester. Don’t be intimidated by the collective list of activities, because let me assure you, all the sisters are down-to-earth and genuinely supportive — whether it be studying for classes, complaining about boys, or splitting a pitcher!
Nicole Lim is a sophomore in Berkeley College. Her columns appear on alternate Fridays.