Monday, March 3, 2014

Being a Phi Mu and Celebrating NPC Badge Day

Most people who know me, or have known me for awhile, know that I was Greek in college.

I'm a Phi Mu, and today is the National Panhellenic Conference Badge Day - all the sororities (and, like Phi Mu, fraternities for women - I'll explain) wear their badges as a sign of friendship, loyalty, and sisterhood.

Because, in my experience, being in a sorority is just like having a ton of sisters.

And being part of the NPC, especially on Badge Day, is like being part of a huge family of strong, smart, fun women.

A lot of people don't feel this way about Greek life. And I'll be the first to admit that not everyone gets the same experience out of it. But my time as an undergraduate in Phi Mu, and my time as a Phi Mu alumna have been, overall, great. 

First, a little about Phi Mu. 


Phi Mu Fraternity was founded in Macon, Georgia on March 4th, 1852, making us the second-oldest female fraternal organization in the United States. The term sorority was coined later, but we're still technically a fraternal organization (not that it matters so much in conversation, but, the more you know!). 

Our motto, "Les Soeurs Fideles," means The Faithful Sisters, and our mascot is the Lion, sometimes called Sir Fidel. Pink carnations are our flowers, and the quatrefoil is our symbol - plus, luckily for me, it's an early European symbol so I get two things I love in one!

1. I have a quatrefoil tattoo. 2. It's hard to take a pic of the back of your own neck. 

Our colors are rose and white, so there's a lot of pink involved: 

*My senior year - miss you ladies!
**Also it took me AWHILE to find myself. So young. 

*My big, Allyn, grandbig Brooke, and I. Also, we are all children in this picture, ladies. 

The love of pink is also referenced in a movie about a famous Phi Mu, Susan Harling, who the play "Steel Magnolias" was based on:

There's also a Phi Mu composite in the background of one scene.

We even have a Lilly Pulitzer print!

*via pinterest. There's Sir Fidel, our motto, pink carnation, our letters, and quatrefoils!

*Me with my Phi Mu Lilly Scarf

But the most important thing I can tell a person about Phi Mu is our creed:

To lend to those less fortunate a helping hand.
To think of God as a protector and guide of us all.
To keep forever sacred the memory of those we have loved and lost.
To be to others what we would they would be to us.
To keep our lives gentle, merciful and just,
Thus being true to the womanhood of love.
To walk in the way of honor, guarding the purity of our thoughts and deeds.
Being steadfast in every duty small or large.
Believing that our given word is binding.
Striving to esteem the inner man above culture, wealth or pedigree.
Being honorable, courteous, tender,
Thus being true to the womanhood of honor.
To serve in the light of truth avoiding egotism, narrowness and scorn.
To give freely of our sympathies.
To reverence God as our Maker, striving to serve Him in all things.
To minister to the needy and unfortunate.
To practice day by day love, honor, truth.
Thus keeping true to the meaning, spirit and reality of Phi Mu.

That's some pretty heavy stuff, right? 

But, in all honesty, all of that is more important than any of the cute stuff, or the Lilly prints, or the socials or fun. 

Because that's what makes us sisters. 

I came into Phi Mu in an interesting and roundabout way. I didn't go through recruitment until my junior year, and my undergrad only had two sororities, so ours was much smaller than most kind of stereotypical ones. I had a rough time my first two years of undergrad, with breakups and money problems and just generally being unhappy. I had made some great friends, but at the beginning of my junior year I was kind of in a bad place, with some friends who were pretty awful (although most of them were great!). So I moved out of my apartment, took some time, and then decided I wanted to be a part of something like a sorority - and I wanted a national sorority, so it could really be a lifetime thing, with a large network of women. 

Long story short, Phi Mu was my top choice from the beginning, and I was so happy when I joined. 

But then a weird thing happened. 

You always here "being in my sorority was amazing!" and "those girls are still my best friends!" and "I was so happy!" and all of that is true. There wasn't any dark side to sororities at my school - no hazing (and Phi Mu has a very strong anti-hazing policy overall), and everyone basically got along and did well in school (we had to at a private, really hard school). 

But there were not-great times. 

We fought. 

We got mad at each other. 

We hurt each other's feelings. 

We didn't give as much as we took from our sisters sometimes. 

Today, none of my sorority sisters are my "best friends." 

We talk. 

We see each other every once in awhile. 

In some cases, we haven't talked in 7 years. 

And some of us won't ever talk again. 


Isn't that kind of like real sisters? 

My real sister and I get along, and we love each other, and we like being around each other even when we don't get to see each other. But we definitely fought, and have differences, and find fault with each other, and don't talk every day. 

Isn't being someone's sister about taking the really good happy fun recruitment skit singing Phi Mu girl time with the randomly seeing each other in Target after 6 years time? 

*And it's even easier to know each other with the plethora of shirts we all have!

I think being someone's sister, both as a Phi Mu and a part of the larger NPC family, means a lot more than the fun times we all had in college.

Or even than seeing everyone everyday.

I moved away from a lot of my sisters, and many of them I haven't seen in years, but here are some things I know for a fact:

When we do see each other, we talk like no time has passed

If I needed a place to stay in any city one of them lives in, I've got it (and vice versa)

If I need advice or help, I could call someone

If I see a Phi Mu somewhere, we always stop and talk

I'll always have a group of women in any major city in this country through alumnae connections

We'll never stop caring about each other, even if it's passive or not even thought of

And that, I think, is what badge day, and the NPC, and the whole concept of sororities, is all about. 

So I hope to see a lot of ladies wearing badges, whether you're a Phi Mu or not, so I can see and feel the love of my extended family!

My badge (which I'll definitely be wearing for Founder's Day on March 4th as well!). 

A way fancy badge. WANT.

Happy Badge Day to all my NPC sisters!

LIOB to my Phi Mu ladies!

1 comment:

  1. Great post! This is why joining a sorority is so great... it makes you part of something amazing! :)

    ❅ AJ