It’s been a few too many days, it’s not even October anymore, blah blah blah I know I know! But like I said, despite any amount of excuses I could come up with, I’M DETERMINED TO FINISH THIS LIFE-CHANGING CHALLENGE! It’s been admittedly hard to get back to it, but I’m at my best writing place, drinking the biggest holiday beverage I could get with my free reward (caramel brûlée frapp to be exact), and listening to my 300 song strong Spotify Christmas playlist. If that isn’t the best mise en place for writing then I don’t know what is (and yes I know mise en place is a French cooking term, but if there is anywhere it can be used for writing too it’s on a food-ish blog right?). Okay so on to day 22.
You know I went to MC, met my two best friends (Micki and Molly) there, that the amazing Friendgroup full of more best friends was formed there, then I worked there and had the best job ever with the best people ever getting to love on more of the best people ever, and now get to feed and love on more great people mostly from there. I’ve talked about MC a lot, and I do love it and am a PROUD alumni and continue to wear blue and gold at every opportunity, but all of the seasons of life where I made the most connections and developed the most as a leader happened at MC and therefore I have a lot to say about it!
A little more about MC in case you didn’t go there so you can understand the group I’m talking about today. MC is the largest private university in the state! It has a social system similar to the Greek sorority/fraternity system, but governed by it’s on rules and people vs the greek panhellenic council. For lack of a better word, KT (and the other girl groups CT, NT, ST, and LT) is a sorority. MC, home Choctaws, calls them tribes (hence the T of the KT, CT, etc) for girls and clubs for guys. It’s not a sorority, but it’s sorority-like. There’s rush, follies, pledging, squeal day (greek pledge day), rush parties (we call them coke parties, as in Coca Cola), crush parties, grab-a-dates, sisterhoods, swaps, formals, informals, pins, colors, mascots, letters, etc. The main difference from sororities is that there is no bidding. You get to pick the tribe you want to be in. On pref day (I think it’s called bid day in greek world) you get a card and you write your prefs, 1st – 5th. Most girls get their 1st, especially this past year since they’ve raised the cap. But once one fills up they go down the line of prefs to place people. It’s a pretty fair process for something that has the potential to seem unfair. The girls are Kissimee (mine), Chenoa, Swannanoa, Nenamoosha, and Laguna. The guys are Shawreth, Civitan, Rotaract, Kokoa, and Circle K.
As a college transfer to MC, rushing wasn’t on my priority list. I was a little weird in college to say the least. I wore skirts over jeans, had a different color hair every other week, wore wristbands as bracelets, and was REALLY into indie music. The whole Friendgroup was rushing, but I didn’t feel pressured to do so and was completely content with being an “independent” as they call it. A great equally as quirky friend I met encouraged me to pray about it and not just make a decision based on thinking the tribe scene wasn’t for me. I decided to actually do that, and the more I prayed, the more I genuinely felt God leading me to rush. And not just to rush, but to pref a different tribe than all my friends, one that barely had 12 members while the others had 100+. Every other pledge class that year had around 40-50 girls. We had 5 and only 2 of those (myself included) spoke English fluently. We won 3rd place in follies (skits that each pledge class perform during Homecoming) that year out of 7 other groups!
During my 3 years in KT I held at least 7 offices. I was follies rep for our pledge class, spirit chair, chaplain, socials and swaps chair, formal and informal chair, vice president, and president. If you’re at least as good at math as I am (which is not good at all), yes, that means I held multiple offices at once! Most of us did. I don’t think they even let you do that anymore, but we had to! My KT sisters and I were active in what I like to call the rebuilding years (plus many years before and after us). When I was a VP, we went before the intertribal council to ask for 2 things. 1. Permission to go before the other tribes and ask their members to help save Kissimee the same way Kissimee once helped save the other tribes. This was VERY humbling and difficult to do as you could imagine! (Part of the known history of the social tribes is that in the beginning, 50+ years ago, there was just 1 girls social club. They decided to make 4. That first year KT got most of the girls. KT asked their girls to disperse themselves among the other tribes to help them all grow.) 2. We asked intertribal to lower the cap number. We knew this meant we’d get a lot of 3rd and 4th pref girls (squeal days squeals weren’t always happy squeals for many of those rebuilding years), but we also knew many of them (not all, but many) would realize they loved KT and stay! People are attracted to numbers, and we needed those numbers to grow. The girls after us continued the HARD work of helping KT grow. Somewhere along the way a saying was established that rings perfectly true, “You don’t choose Kissimee, Kissimee chooses you.” KT chose me and a whole bunch of other amazing girls that I got to serve and lead and lead with and it kept choosing amazing girls for years and years after us and it’s still choosing people today (AND THEY ARE THRIVING, well beyond any size we could have ever imagined in my day!).
I’m thankful for KT for SO many reasons. I learned so much about being a leader and leadership because of my time as an officer. I learned so much about being organized, about confidence while speaking to a crowd, about communication, about healthy confrontation and conflict, about managing/supervising people, and about loving people well! I slowly felt my heart being tugged towards women’s ministry for the first time because of my time in KT! I LOVED those girls so much. I still love them and adore meeting the new girls. I love the history, I love the memories, I love the traditions, I love all the beautiful cheesiness of sisterhood. It’s just a beautiful world! And I love seeing KT girls (and guys) new and old out and about, but there are 2 friends who’ve continued to stick with me pretty regularly over the years!
Jess! We were the 2 English speakers in our pledge class. Obviously we bonded quickly, but our friendship has been going strong since! We’ve been roommates three times – a semester in college, for the 6 months between graduating college and going to seminary, and her parents super graciously let me come live with them and her when I was displaced after leaving seminary. She visits me at least once or twice a year and it’s always fun. Last year we went to Harry Potter world together, which obviously you know I loved! Her family always welcomes me with open arms and treats me like one of their own. Jess and I can yell at each other and it’s totally normal. We’ve both been there for each other through some of our toughest times. She’s sarcastic, hilarious, real, and without a doubt I know she’ll always be my friend no matter how long we go between talking. And she’s coming to visit this month!
And my big sis Laura! There were several years where we didn’t do the best job at keeping in touch (probably my fault), but for the last 2 years we’ve reconnected and I’ve loved it! We live in the same place again, currently work at the same college (but in different offices), get to chat on office instant messager almost everyday, and semi-regularly eat lunch together (slacking lately, need to find more gluten free friendly lunching options for her that I actually like eating, oops). She is and has always been so bubbly and fun and was the best big sis a girl could ask for! She has a heart for orphans and the nations, loves elephants and golden retrievers more than anyone I know, and never gives up no matter what life throws at her.
I’m thankful for these people and so many more, the memories, the experiences, the leaderships skills gained, the sisterhood, the pink, the elephants, and that Kissimee chose me.
This is part of my 31 People(s) I Love series. I’ll be writing about 31 people/peoples that I adore! Click here if you would like a list of all the posts in this series.