Note: The following is a work of satire. The author of this piece is a proud Theta sister.
Riley Pepperton is the girl who has it all — looks, brains, talent and a five-star Uber rating from her many trips to East Cleveland. Rumors were that Riley could write up RAs for noise. In other words, she ruled the world.
“I mean, they make noise too,” Riley says as she shrugs. “I don’t see why we’re the ones who always have to be quiet.”
Riley, having recently mastered the art of composing marble sculptures and using a nail gun for the more ‘extreme’ sorority crafts, knew that it was time for the biggest challenge of all.
It was time to return to Winterfell (aka Clayton Hall) once again in preparation for another round of recruitment with her sisters.
“Our training regimen is pretty normal,” Riley says. “We have to learn to jump, smile and summon the same spirit on command.”
Other than spirit summoning, which is the final task that these girls learn, Riley knew that this was going to be a piece of reduced-fat cake. She had gone to a class — even though it was on Course Capture. She was ready for this.
As she jumped and smiled in perfect sync with 60 other sisters, and the other girls began filing in for the Summoning (aka Open House Round), her upperclassmen heart began to familiarize itself with the optimism of freshman year.
Riley was assigned to talk to a Potential New Member (PNM) named Christina, who asked her six times if she copied her name down correctly.
“Everyone expects that it begins with a ‘C’, but it doesn’t,” she says. “It’s a K. Did you copy that down correctly?”
Riley was instructed to lasso Christina the moment the doors opened, and the other sisters began to find their new mates as well. Riley tugged Christina to a particularly spacious corner of the room, where they only had to dodge four stacks of glitter. One girl, unfortunately, had already swallowed too much and had to leave.
In this mating call between a sister and a PNM, it is customarily the sister who speaks first. Christina waited patiently for Riley to begin, already formulating her fun fact about alphabetical errors in her head.
But Riley did not speak. Instead, she stared at Christina with the same deadness as when her sister Marcy told her they were mixing with the special-interest stamp-collecting fraternity again.
Riley hit pause on the would-be conversation and went into the next room, tearing through her Longchamp bag that she swore no one else had, as four other girls with the same one walked by.
“I can’t believe it,” she says frantically. “I forgot how to have a conversation. Is it one person goes, then you go? Or do we speak at the same time?”
Riley’s contoured face begins to show serious emotion now. All this time she thought that conversations just meant that she got to talk about herself. But now, in the fluorescent light of Siberia (aka Clayton), she realized that might not be true.
“I hear all these conversations around me, where people are talking about common goals and feelings and dreams,” Riley says. “And I know that now is not the time to talk about the hilarious story when my RA let me turn the Redding bathroom into an ice skating rink.”
After giving herself two-and-a-half pep talks in the mirror, Riley knew that it was time to face her fears. She marched (actually pranced, sorority girls are forbidden to march) back into the room where Christina had cornered the Recruitment Director to discuss why her name tag was spelled incorrectly.
“I find it sad that society has been conditioned to learn one way to spell my name,” she says sadly. “But just to make sure — you did spell it with a ‘K’, right?”
Riley immediately approached her and asked her what her major is. Christina responded proudly that she just declared English, and somewhere in the room a girl with a respectable major collapsed in shame.
After Christina walked away, Riley knew that it wasn’t a match made in heaven. But she surprised herself. Now she could proudly go over to her sisters and chit-chat about her without a shred of guilt.
“Today’s conversation might not have been a winner,” Riley says. “But I’ve been reminded of something more important. Being in this sorority made me keep persevering. Those pep talks that I gave myself wouldn’t have been nearly as convincing if I hadn’t been in this chapter from the start.”
As she walked away, her sister Brandi (with an i) strolled by.
“No one has the heart to tell her that she has to do it again in three minutes,” she says with dismay.
At least Riley still has her five-star rating with Uber.