My sister, like me, has something of a desire for peace and space, as well as a vague desire to sell everything off and be a nomad. She’s far more likely to actually do it than I am, however.
As college students tend to do, she has accumulated a lot of stuff over the last four years, especially from her sorority. Her room is awash with purple and white, framed art, painted paddles, toy panthers, and skunks. As well as the “love and violets” that accompany each sisterly article in her space.
I asked her to write a post for Born Again Minimalist about “sorority stuff,” and here it is! (Side note: She graduates in May. BUT SHE’S ONLY TWO YEARS OLD IN MY BRAIN. I’m so old).
My sister has been on me for a while to write a guest entry about the glories (and all the stuff) of Greek life. I haven’t gotten around to it for a while but it seems like this is a good time for me to finally sit down and write it.
As I enter my final bout of New Member Education (pledging, to those in the know) as an active member of the Euglossian society at Heidelberg University, I am struck with the need to organize all of the Eug stuff I have accumulated over the years into piles (okay, okay, boxes) that I will be giving away in three weeks. Since becoming active in February of 2011, I have amassed approximately 13 paddles, 20 door decorations, 5 stuffed animals, 16 T-shirts, and boxes of random “tchotch.” It is a rite of passage in Greek life- you get as much stuff as possible to show your pride in your group.
On the surface, this may seem to go against a minimalist lifestyle; but when you look deeper, almost everything Greeks have is passed down. It’s basically recycled. Only three or four of my paddles have been made since I became active. Maybe five T-shirts are new. And I’m only going to keep one paddle (it’s rainbow, glittery, and it glows in the dark) and maybe a skunk stuffed animal (it’s our mascot!). Everything else is going to go to my littles, my baby, and the rest of the new girls that will be active in just a few short weeks. I may have had a surplus of stuff while I climbed the ranks in the hall, but before I graduate I will have passed almost all of it down; thus starting the cycle of the new girls getting a bunch of stuff and passing it down to next year’s new class.
Along the same lines, when you’re in college you go to anything that gives you a free T-shirt. You win prizes for filling out surveys or going to campus events. You get pennants and blankets with your school’s colors or symbols on them. But when you graduate, you get rid of most of that stuff. You take your shirts to Goodwill or you sell them online. You may keep a thing or two from undergrad but you’re definitely not going to have a closet full of spirit-wear anymore. College, especially Greek life in college, allows you to have a buffer zone for surplus stuff. You have a dorm room (usually; I now live off campus) in which you only have a portion of your actual belongings so you have the space to keep all of your college stuff. When I lived on campus, half of my wardrobe and things stayed at my mom’s house, and my sorority stuff and college t-shirts stayed at school and never really graced my mom’s presence (which I’m sure she’s grateful for).
College is a place where you don’t have to worry about your 50 T-shirts and 20 paddles. You don’t have to feel guilty about all of the tchotch with letters on it or all of the recruitment (rush) shirts and hoodies and crafts that you accumulate in your dorm room; you’re going to give it all away eventually! So even though sometimes I cringe at the boxes of stuff I have in my attic on top of all of the stuff I have on shelves and my walls, I find solace in the fact that upon graduation someone else is going to have all of that stuff and I will shed my comfortable chrysalis of sorority paraphernalia and emerge with nothing more from college than a degree (and maybe a couple T-shirts for nostalgia’s sake).