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Two Blue Vests: Reflecting on Greek Life as a Returner Gamma Chi

With Gamma Chis recently selected and training underway, Talley Davidson, a Junior Alpha Gamma Delta, reflects on her time wearing the blue vest.

Gamma Chi’s are the punching bags of recruitment… and I’m forever thankful for that. When I arrived on UGA’s campus as a clueless, awkward PNM in 2016, I had no clue where Greek life would take me. I didn’t care about being in a sorority, I had never heard of the sorority I’m in now and I was doubtful I’d fit in to Greek life. Yet, one thing I knew for sure way back in 2016 during that blazing hot week of recruitment was that I loved my Gamma Chi.

I wanted to be like her someday. She was friendly, relatable, encouraging and a genuine listener. When I said I wasn’t really into the Greek life scene, she nodded and reassured me. When I wanted to drop out altogether, she pulled me away from my fears and said to just wait and see. When I made it all the way to bid day, and later into the semester, she still said hi to me on campus, making me feel known beyond my letters.

If it weren’t for her, my college experience would be totally different. I wouldn’t be a bridesmaid for my sorority sister’s wedding in October. I wouldn’t have gone skiing for my 2019 spring break with another sister, and now my best friend. I wouldn’t have met my big, who inspired me to be an exec member for my sorority and an intern for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. I wouldn't have met my current roommate/ sorority sister who hosted me at her house in Texas over winter break. And best of all, I wouldn’t have been accepted to be a Gamma Chi not once, but twice for recruitment 2018 and 2019.

Getting to those points wasn’t easy. There were several interviews, tears from 40 PNMs, going off the grid for weeks, not celebrating two summer birthdays with my friends during disaffiliation, sweating (a lot), sprinting down Milledge from Zeta to Kappa, witnessing rejection, explaining rejection, encouraging the discouraged, tearing down fear and making four gut-wrenching phone calls in the dead of night.

But I grew. I made so many friends from different walks of life. I danced and I sang on a stage in front of thousands of PNMs. I mentored first-year gamma chi’s and taught them that being selfless can be difficult, yet the most rewarding thing. I learned that God is right: laying down your life for a friend is the call we all should answer. I learned that Greek life isn’t about paying for friends--it’s about gaining access to opportunities to connect with others, having the best nights of your life, being a leader, learning from the older and wiser and ultimately realizing that no one knows how to do college right away, especially amidst 38,000 other students.

So now, 3.5 years later, I know it’s not about having two blue vests in my closet with ridiculous memes on the back.

It’s about having 40 cherished PNM’s numbers in my phone, tons of hotel belly-laughs, new pals all down Milledge, a wedding cake house I proudly call home and an experience I gratefully call mine. Joining Greek life and being a gamma chi have been my favorite moments of college. So yes, you’ll be a punching bag: the tears, the drama, the excitement and exhaustion will hit you. But to see all I’ve gained and all I’ve given makes every second, every knock (iykyk) and every bead of sweat worth it, so so worth it.

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