When Vandy Girls are lining up in alphabetical order, baking caramel pie, and singing songs by candle light.
I have to admit that I chose Vanderbilt at least in part because the college seemed to promote a good academic and social balance. I also wanted to have the option of joining a sorority. Coming from "up North," sororities and fraternities had a negative reputation, but at a school like Vandy, it was different. Most kids took academics seriously and on a campus where more than half of students participated in a Greek organization, people who wouldn't have "Gone Greek," did at Vanderbilt. Houses were more diverse. The girls weren't all blonde chicks with daddy's credit card. If they were, they were also the high school Valedictorian and spent their summers volunteering in third world countries. There were date parties and mixers, but there was philanthropy and athletics and educational outreach too, all accompanied with matching self-promoting t-shirts.
When rush season arrived, I thought I knew where I belonged. Lucky for me, my newest bestest friend wanted to be one too. When Sarah didn't get the call that she didn't match, she knew she was headed for AOPi. It was my first choice too. So, when I went and opened my bid card, she stood with me. I opened the envelope and we both jumped up and down screaming. We were those girls. It was the most emotion I had seen from her in the four months I had known her. I guess she liked me, she really really liked me! We were corralled in a room where fifty-some girls donned matching shirts and learned our new songs. Then when it was time, we participated in a decades long Vanderbilt tradition, the Running of the Pigs. Degrading? Perhaps. But running to our house with my future friends, is one of those memories I will never forget. It was cloudy and cold. Shaggy was emanating from speakers. The newly-made frat boys were watching the festivities on their front porches.
I chose right. My new-found home introduced me to some of the most amazing women I have ever known. They are smart, kind, generous and funny. They stood by my side on my wedding day. We have cried together, laughed togher, danced together, and grown up together. And now we have another reason to love the panda.