"Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated."
I agree wholeheartedly with Mark Twain, who said that first. Many years ago, as an undergraduate student, I was officially certified as dead, but I am really quite alive, thank you!
Sorority life nearly killed me, at least on paper! A national Greek fraternity signed my death notice.
Yes, it’s true.
As a college freshman, I enthusiastically participated in the sorority rush. My friends and I enjoyed being courted by all the right Greek houses. We were duly impressed by the tales of philanthropic programs, charitable donations, and volunteer efforts. Mostly, we probably hoped we might gain advantageous social connections by linking up with the right people.
Finally, on Pledge Night, we hovered in our dorm rooms and waited for the candlelight processionals to arrive.
One by one, each sorority came calling, announcing the names of the girls they would invite to join. When my favorite group called my name, I could hardly stand it. I was so excited! I flew into a sea of happy hugs.
Moments later, blindfolded and bound by the wrists to 20 other naïve freshmen, I was led through a muddy field to an unknown location. The hazing had begun.
The wake-up call came all too soon.
Caught up in tradition, our entire pledge class banded together and endured humiliating rituals, beer showers, raw egg shampoos, and worse.
Finally, our initiation day arrived. Veiled in secrecy, we promised lifelong loyalty to the sisterhood.
The following weekend, I strolled into my boyfriend’s fraternity house and found one of my sorority sisters trying to seduce him.
So much for sisterhood!
Then my sorority sisters killed me. So they say.
Final exams came and went, and summer arrived. Reaching my home, along with my sanity, I decided to resign from the sorority. That fall, as soon as the term began, I typed a letter to the chapter president.
My resignation was accepted, on the condition that I pay the fall membership dues. I refused to do this, of course.
A few months later, when I arrived home for the winter break, an official-looking letter awaited me on the desk in my room. Stamped as registered mail, it bore familiar Greek lettering over the return address. The letter was from the national office of the sorority.
Puzzled, I sliced the envelope open with one finger. What was inside? It was a death notice with my own name embossed on it!
Was this a threat, or simply wishful thinking?
Many years have passed since then, and I am very much alive. And I have never doubted my decision to withdraw from the supposedly select sisterhood that falsely declared me dead.
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