GDI stands for “Goddamn Independent.” It refers to someone who is not involved in Greek life. It’s not used much at schools like BC, where Greek life isn’t part of the equation. However, it’s part of the vernacular at schools where Greek life dominates social life. And much to my surprise, it’s how I could be identified these days.
I was raised as a sorority girl in training. I toured the Pi Beta Phi house at my mom’s alma mater at the ripe age of eight. Growing up, my father regaled me with tales of beach parties and lifelong friendships. Everyone in my immediate family is a member of a fraternity or a sorority. Countless other relatives are, too.
A lot of people grow up with an anti-Greek mindset. Truthfully, my upbringing was just the opposite. Greek life sounded amazing to me. All I had to do was wear a Lilly Pulitzer dress and make small talk about my high school résumé and I would get 90 new sisters? Um, sign me up!
My parents always had a sense that I’d have plenty of options for college. My mother would look through her alum magazine and show me all the places I could go and join Pi Beta Phi. As I toured schools, she eased off the pressure to pledge Pi Phi specifically. She’d look at lists of the schools’ sororities, identifying friends that could write me a recommendation for each one during rush.
And my parents were just as supportive when my sister joined Kappa Kappa Gamma at her school. My sister gave sororities a modern context for me. She familiarized me with terms like “Big/Little” and offered perspective on the ups and downs of it all.
Obviously BC doesn’t have Greek life (I’m not really going to address the underground fraternity here due to lack of information). It was the one downside for me, the lone con next alongside my lengthy column of pros. But my confidence deteriorated enough during high school that I was almost able to forget about how much I loved BC when I toured. After all, I figured, Villanova was the next best thing. The business school there was nearly as impressive, and the collegiate Gothic-style campus was nearly as charming. And the promise of joining a sorority after all could not be discounted.
Flash forward to today. I don’t go to Villanova, my dream school, after all. I’m not in a sorority, and my parents and I have come to terms with that fact. I know it would have been expected if it was an option, and I’m okay with that, because it was what I wanted for so long. It’s tempting to join in with the other BC students who love to mock the sorority squat and Total Frat Move, but I’ve realized I’m not really in a place to do so, because I would’ve gladly partaken in that culture given the chance. And with our legendary mod parties and somewhat homogenous student body, I don’t fully believe BC’s in a place to throw stones.
My mother’s told me I could technically be initiated as an alumni to a sorority, but I’m content with my GDI status these days, so I don’t think I’ll be taking her up on that offer. For a while I truly resented my friends from high school being able to “buy” friends as I was struggling, but truthfully, them being thrown into a group of 100-something girls isn’t all that different then me getting placed on Gonzaga 2. Some girls I clicked with, others I’ve barely spoken to.
If anything, I think not going Greek has enabled me to be a better version of myself. The philanthropy Greek organizations do is wonderful, and I have the utmost respect for that. But, I really value that Boston College instead enables it’s students to immerse themselves in service where you truly get to interact with people and maybe get outside of your comfort zone. And as much as I loved the idea of getting a group of friends within the first week of college, I think part of me values my friendships more because I fought to make them. Okay, “fought” sounds a little aggressive, but then, so were my friendship-making tactics.
I don’t crave Greek life the way I used to. But I don’t believe in ridiculing the culture my family loves. The truth is I’ve gotten over my sorority girl dreams, and that’s because I’ve fallen too much in love with my life without Greek life to imagine anything different.