Even if you don't know much about Greek Life, "pledge classes" are notorious. Now commonly referred to as a "new member class", this is a group of people working towards full membership of the sorority or fraternity. New member classes are encouraged to do everything with each other while they bond over the shared difficulty of balancing the time commitment, classes, and other life responsibilities. I finished pledging by the spring semester of my freshman year, however I find myself repeating the experience in many ways at the Flatiron School. Instead of a pledge class of college girls, I'm working with a cohort of men and women in all walks of life. We all are working towards the common goal of graduation from the program as well as jobs in software development. During this experience, we all have to balance the intense workload as well as commutes and real world responsibilities. In many ways, my cohort is my pledge class.
One of the most exciting parts of pledging is getting a big. This generally happens around halfway through the pledging process. A big is expected to be a mentor to their little and support them through pledging and beyond. At the Flatiron School, we call this "mentorship". In week 6, which is halfway through the bootcamp, we receive our mentors. We can then contact our mentor via email and ask them questions about their experiences. If they are local and available, we have the option of meeting with them in person as well. While this mentor is not as much of a physical presence as a big, their role is the same. They share their experiences as someone that has previously experienced the long journey of becoming a developer and can be there to support their mentee through their journey.
Getting Your Letters
As a pledge class, we looked forward to the day that we would become full members and finally be able to wear letters. It was a common part of conversation, as we would plan out what letters we would get and what fabric we would use to make them. At the Flatiron School, my cohort is excited for the day we get our own Flatiron School hoodies (especially when the air conditioning is a tad too cold). As a pledge, seeing the sisters wearing their letters was seen as something to work towards. As a budding developer, seeing the TAs, faculty, and alumni wearing Flatiron gear is a push to keep working hard and a reminder that graduation isn't all that far off.
As a new member, crossover is the ritual of rituals, the night that everyone has been waiting for, yet came as a surprise. When I was pledging, the date of crossover was kept a secret, so while we looked forward to it, we never knew quite when it would be. However, when it came it was extremely exciting. We were finally being accepted as full members of the organization that we had grown to adore. At the Flatiron School, graduation holds a similar excitement. While we know when we will be graduating, we can't help but get excited for crossing over from a Flatiron student to a Flatiron alumna.
Sorority life and bootcamp life aren't all that different. Both involve a community of people looking out for each other. Both have new members that go through a journey towards a common goal. Both encourage their members to be their best version of themselves. Personally, I think that's pretty neat.