This week is Big/Little Week for my dear sorority, Gamma Phi Beta. It's been a special week for the girls, especially all the new members and the second years; the new members had a full week of surprises in store for them and the second years got the chance to be a gift giving fairy! The excitement is almost too much to handle!
Even though the house itself is a special place for a selected group of women, it can be overwhelming for a new member. There are so many names, rituals, events, and traditions that it can be very hard to to keep up with. Plus, in a house of 80 or more girls, you can still feel lost. That is why we have the Big/Little system.
There is a family system within the organization and it revolves around the theory of having Big and Little Sisters within the sisterhood. A first year member is given a "Big," or a big sister, which done through a special matching process. When the Bigs find out who their Littles are, or Little Sisters, there is a week of festivities that take place.
It's a big surprise for the Littles! Bigs will leave certain gifts with hints and clues for the Littles each night. The Little's spend every day of the week guessing, racking their brains trying to figure out who their Big is. It's so much fun! Bigs will have other people leave gifts, everyone in the house will work around campus teasing Littles by saying, "I know who your Big is!" It drives 'em nuts!
By Saturday, there will be a big reveal, matching sweatshirts given out, and many picture taking moments. What's so neat is that all these Littles will be inducted into their family and forever share the bond of all the girls in the line. I've had the pleasure of watching a couple more lines be added on to our family the last two years and it's really neat to personal know a history of 9 years worth of girls inducted into our house.
Hearing some of the freshman dancers gabbing about Big/Little Week this week, I thought back to when I was a Little. Well, I still am--just thinking about my experience. First of all, I love my Big and I was lucky to be a part of her family. Those ladies are fabulous and I truly love them all--they've been incredible friends for me and a great support system while I was learning the ropes at OCU (and that's the point of having a family within the Soroity).
I read into every clue my Big left me, including where products were made. I'll be the first to admit, I got a little carried away in the guessing game. One morning I walked out of my apartment, onto my balcony only to discover my Big had drawn me this:
One evening after a long rehearsal, I heard a knock on the bathroom door while I was showering. I was told by a voice through the door that in no uncertain terms I had to stay in the bathroom because my Big was leaving me a little present! When it was finally safe, I walked out only to find a find a fish bowl with a beautiful blue and purple fish happily swimming around.
I closed the door, then opened it again and the dang fish was still there! I'm not much a fan of fish, but I took care of little Indie (Indigo, Indie for short). Beta fish are pretty traditional gifts during Big/Little week. Get it? He's a beta fish and we're the Gamma Phi BETAS! Bahaha...ha. Well, I thought it was funny.
Finally, after a week of guessing games and teasers, we had our last day of fun. We find out who our Bigs are by doing this crazy scavenger-hunt, basically a wild goose chase. And yes, my Big thought it would super cute to give us these "precious" headbands to wear.
I didn't care though--I was so happy! I find out that same day that I had a twin!
We're "wombies" if only in sisterhood! There we are in our precious jackets that our Big got us. These jackets are actually how we find out who our Big is. It's a race to find out who your family is!
Go ahead, laugh it up--I'm a dainty runner. Wombs spotted her though! There she is, our Big!
Yup, Dori does love us like a good Big should!
Smothering us with her unconditional love! I miss her terribly. And we met our whole Family that same day!
The next year, roles were switched and I became a Big to my sweet, Little One!
Our little family! My senior year I became a Grand Big to the sweetest girls I know!
We actually adopted a couple more girls, too! Even though I'm an alum now, I went last year to Big/Little Day for the fun of it all and met my precious GREAT Grand Littles. I recieved word last Sunday night who my Great Great Grand Littles are! My goodness, I'm getting old fast!
I had a lot of fun being in Gamma Phi. There are so many great women in that house and I absolutely love what the sorority stands for (Sorry, I can't share our sisterhood secrets, but this will help you learn a bit more!). I can't say enough how positive my experience was. I was VERY lucky. My best friends and I all ended up in the same house. Look how young that first year!
How incredibly lucky to spend three years with your best friends growing and sharing so much in the same house. I believe we grew up quite a bit in that time.
I still keep up with my Big (who's getting married next year!), I got really close with my Great Grand Big over the years, and my twin is still here--we'll graduate together this December.