Big and Little. Sister-Mother and Sister-Daughter. Talls and Smalls.
Whatever you call them, familial relationships within sororities are precious. Especially if you are a member of a large chapter, this niche of people become an integral part of your experience. As Greek life has come into the national spotlight for quite a few negative reasons, one huge positive aspect of sorority/fraternity life lies in the mentoring programs. Whether you have a little and want a better relationship, are thinking about getting a little, or wonder what this weird Greek thing is all about, this post is for you!
These relationships are all about mentoring and support systems. Sadly, many people choose to forge this bond in alcohol because they don’t know healthy way to connect, but that is NOT what this experience is all about. I want to be clear that these relationships are very different at campuses across the country, but here are some ways to get the most out of this from any perspective.
If you are a big,
CONGRATULATIONS! Your chapter has entrusted you with a new member who will be the future of your chapter, an incredible honor.
- This is the big one! At the end of the day, underage drinking is illegal. It is not okay to solely use alcohol to bond with your little. Plenty of bigs are completely absent until the weekend when the parties roll around. DON’T be that girl. I’m not a prude, alcohol happens in college, but do not use it as a way to buy your little’s love.
- Only buy presents
- At first, gifts are exciting! After that, you should be focused on promoting your little’s interests and getting to know her heart.
- DO NOT speak negatively of other people to your little. She needs to be able to make her own decisions about people. Your goal is to help her and swaying her feelings about others is not a way to do that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “but I’m protecting her from [insert name here]”. There is a difference between warning her about a shady guy and bad-mouthing a girl for whom you don’t particularly care.
If you’re thinking about becoming a big,
I think becoming a mentor changes who you are just as much as it impacts your mentee. The things you learn as a big transfer to your ‘big girl life’ in incredible ways. [insert ‘how sororities change affect your life’ post link]. It cannot be taken lightly. Here are some things to consider:
- Are you going to be a senior?
- Seniors tend to check out. A strong case of senioritis hits right after recruitment and suddenly your little gets lost in the shuffle of your transition to alumna status.
- Are you in a good place personally?
- Littles aren’t like puppies that you get to make your life better. They are human beings that need you help. You can’t help other if you can’t help yourself. Low grades? Alcohol issues? Family stressors? Make yourself your first priority, then think about a little next year.
- Have some savings?
- Taking a little can be expensive. Depending on how your chapter structures gift giving, you could go broke very quickly. While money isn’t everything, your little has a right to have the same experience as others in her new member class. If you cannot afford her, don’t sign up.
Ultimately, this relationship is a gift that you will value for years to come. Do it right!!
Questions? Suggestions? Comment or email anytime!