By Mackenzie Rossero, For The Miami Student
Leah and Olive had matching socks.
Fuzzy, purple, owl-shaped slippers - a testament to the fierce love Chi Omegas have for their winged mascot. They each wore a single sock - Leah had the right and Olive the left.
These matching socks only further confirmed what Olive and Leah had already known - they were twins.
As the 72 new "littles" filed into the Chi Omega suite in MacCracken Hall and found a snaking wall of white sheets around the perimeter, each held up by their new "bigs." They couldn't see anyone's faces - just their socks - and the pledges raced around to find the pair that matched their own.
It was Big/Little Reveal. Leah and Olive had already experienced four days of gifts, both knew who they wanted their "big" to be and were pretty sure she was waiting for them behind one of the white sheets.
"I was pretty sure who my 'big' was because of the way she worded things [in her text messages]. When I asked if I was a twin, she said 'You're the only apple of my eye' and the way she talked really reminded me of someone," said Leah.
The "bigs" communicated with their "littles" throughout the week using a texting app that masked their phone number.
"Leah and I were anxiously waiting all week to get Gillian as our 'big,'" said Olive. "People kept trying to trick us and say she wasn't who we thought it was!"
This year, there were 16 sets of twins - an unprecedented number.
Though she didn't think she wanted a twin, Olive has since changed her mind.
"My twin is super cool and has a super high energy. We mesh really well and I don't think I would have gotten to know her if we weren't twins," Olive said.
"I love having twins," said Gillian. "I, myself, am a triplet in my sorority family, so I'm used to having a big family."
The matching of the "big" and "little" pairs is a long, painstaking process. Katie, the Chi Omega New Member Educator, along with Kathryn, the Chi Omega President, took the entire weekend before Big/Little Week to properly evaluate everyone's personalities and questionnaires before choosing the pairs.
"You want to put people into the best possible family. I rely a lot on the suggestions of other people," Katie explained. "You have to know the [older pledge class] really well to match them up. This year, I felt really good about matching everyone."
Amid giggles and complaints of aching arms, Katie yelled above the noise.
"One, two … three!"
The sheets dropped and screams of joy filled the room as the "littles" were finally united with their "bigs."
"Reveal was all excitement," said Gillian. "At that point, you don't have to worry about avoiding them or giving it away because you don't see them until the curtain drops."
For the "littles," this reveal meant meeting the women who would make up their family-away-from-home. For the "bigs," it meant meeting the new sisters they would mentor.
Leah and Olive were proud, new members of "The Night Owl Fam." Their celebrations included taking pictures in McCracken Hall, hanging out at their "grand-big's" house, and having dinner Uptown at Sushi Nara.
Despite the chaotic week, Gillian is happy with how everything turned out.
"It's all worth it," she said. "I love [Leah and Olive] so much."