April 29, 2015

Collegiate Perspective: There’s No Place Like Home

Often times living in a sorority house is portrayed as this somewhat dreamlike experience set aside from reality. The house is some sort of magical place where friends are all hanging out in a beautiful living room, huge groups are crammed over their textbooks in the dining room and people are helping each other curl their hair for functions in a perfumed bathroom. If I've learned anything from living in our sorority house for the past three years, it’s that this is absolutely true.

When it comes to college living, I’m beginning to realize I have been spoiled rotten. Living in a Greek house is an experience limited to few and the fact that I have gotten to do so for three years has been an absolute blessing. Living in a chapter house is a beautiful delay from the real world. Yes, there are still several responsibilities, it’s not like you aren't paying rent or don’t have to do chores or respect the space of others, but when it comes to a couple of key things, living in gives you a little reprieve from some of the lesser desirable aspects of adulthood.

I’m the type of person who will plan their vacation around the food. We all know these types of people. Eating is an important part of my day. It is so nice to sit down to a dinner of delicious chicken Parmesan with grilled veggies after a long day of class; the best part being, I didn't have to make it. I have been absolutely pampered in having a fabulous chef who knows my likes and dislikes and keeps a fully stocked fridge, which I did not have to grocery shop for. Because let’s be honest, who actually likes to grocery shop? Unless it’s at Costco… free samples.

The joys of living in are not strictly limited to sustenance. When something goes wrong in our house, we have our house director, or “house mom,” to help us out. Our House Corporation Board oversees all the changes and renovations made to the house, and every year I get to come back to some new surprise beautifying the home. Bathroom remodeling, new carpet, new dining room furniture, fresh paint and new patio sets. Everything is consistently maintained and pristine. The plush vacuumed carpet, the furniture that wasn't found on the side of the road and spacious bathrooms with nice smelling soaps. Living with these amenities as a poor college student, makes you feel like you’re living in the Waldorf Astoria.

This next perk has perhaps been the nicest aspect of living in that I have come to find. Your sorority house is not just a house; it’s a home. Moving away and immersing yourself into the world of college is overwhelming to say the least. Having a consistent place to return to has been an absolute blessing in these crazy four years. With all the changes I've undergone, I have been able to count on the fact I can walk through the same threshold and into the same living room and call it my home. I can comfortably run through the halls or sit on our porch in the sun. This concept has provided an immense amount of comfort and Alpha Phi will always be my first home away from home.

And the best part about living in a Greek house? The company. I live in a house with 30 of my best friends. Any time you need some words of wisdom, help finding the perfect shoes for a date, someone to braid your hair or someone to run to the grocery store with for a late night study snack, you just have to walk down the hall. How many other times in your life can you say you have that opportunity?

The best nights I have had in the sorority have been when people all congregate to someone’s room and there are people on the beds, chairs and sitting on the ground and talking about everything and nothing. I have loved sitting in the living room thinking about taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon only to be picked up by a group of sisters on their way to a movie. I won’t ever forget walking by our living room to see everyone crammed in their sleeping bags for an impromptu sleepover. You've got an automatic party for every award show, sporting event, political debate and reality show you could imagine. I've learned you don’t mess with Bachelor nights; the basement TV claim is irrefutable.

I have found so much joy in the simple ease associated with the friendships formed from living in a Greek house. Understanding that if you want to go to bed at ten, you have to start preparing at eight, because you’ll end up chatting in the bathroom while brushing your teeth for an hour then get stopped for another hour on the way back to your room is something I've come to love. Being able to have so many people close to share your accomplishments and delight in theirs has been a more extraordinary gift than I could have ever foreseen.

So come next month when I graduate and have to leave the comfort of my little slice of heaven, it will be a tearful departure. The walls of a sorority house know a lot of laughs and a lot of tears. They hold in them more stories and beautiful memories than one can fully comprehend. The walls are strong, and they need to be; they have to hold a lot of love.

Taylor Skansi is a collegiate member at Montana (Chi). Learn more about Taylor by clicking here.

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