Being a big is a big responsibility! You are a mentor to a younger sister (even if she might be actually older than you), which means that it’s your responsibility to make sure that she’s smothered in love! This is always a bit hard when you don’t know who she is yet, but it’s definitely manageable.
The first step of being a great big starts at the beginning of the pledge class’s journey. Get involved with her pledge class, meet as many of the new MITs as you can. Go on girl dates, to service projects, and to unity events. Make connections, but even more importantly, make friends. Collect your penguin points, and generally be an involved sister.
But there’s more than just being a committed and involved sister to be a great big. When you decide to take a little, make sure to fill out your likes & dislikes completely! It can be hard, I know, but it’s always easier for your little to know your favorite color or your favorite candy, or know if you’re allergic to nuts (I always seem to forget to put down that little detail…).
When you get the exciting call (or pizza delivery) that you have a little, that’s the moment it becomes real & official. Make sure to thank her for any surprises that come your way, and make sure to keep a sense of humor. With my first little, Alisa, I was studying in bed not expecting a notification for another couple hours. But to my surprise, all of a sudden, there was a loud knock on my door, so forceful that the door flung open to show a masked man with a coffee delivery. Trust me when I say that I was terrified beyond belief, but it’s honestly one of the silliest things that could have ever happened.
Everyone’s different, but make sure that your little knows you cannot wait another second to meet her! If she makes a fake Facebook account or email account, be sure to message her back! She might have questions for you, and I’m sure you remember how stressful it was as a little, wanting to impress your big!
The first day of big/little week my freshman year, I went into my big, Zaynah’s, room to find a plate of homemade brownies and a note waiting for me! I thought that was the absolute sweetest thing, and if I wasn’t already so sure that she was absolutely perfect, I knew it then. It was so nice just knowing how excited she was to be my big, and that’s something that I hoped I could do when I became a big myself. With each of my littles since, I’ve always done my best to make sure they know how excited I am to have them spoil me, but I know it can be incredibly difficult, because big/little week almost always seems to fall during the craziest week of the semester. But it doesn’t take long to make your little feel special! After you make your bed each day, jot her a quick note! Every night when you come home, take pictures and brag about how great she is on social media.
I think the easiest time to be a great big is when you first get to give her a hug as her big. You can essentially smother her in love, and the excitement of big/little week is incredibly motivating. But once the excitement of the new relationship dies down, don’t forget about the little things. Meet up as often as you can. Don’t forget the big events coming up in her life. Make sure that she knows that no matter how far apart you may be, you’ll always be her biggest cheerleader. I learned how to be a great big by having a great big. Even a few years after she graduated, my big Zaynah still makes time for me in her almost-adult life. After having the craziest fall we’ve ever had & not being able to see each other for months, she still took the time to make me the absolute sweetest Christmas present, and she’s always excited about any major accomplishments in my life. I hope that I can be as great of a big as she has been to me, and I know that the biggest part of her being the greatest is that she was always there.
Don’t be afraid to be there for your little. Be excited for her, be supportive of her, and just be there to love her. If you simply are there for your little, you’ll be the best big she could ask for.