One of the most well-known traditions associated with Societies is the concept of “Bigs and Littles.” As a non-Society member, it’s easy to assume that these titles are just placed on two people and the two people then assume the respective roles, but this is simply not true. The Big -Little dynamic is a relationship that allows one to grow in their leadership skills, teaches the importance of empathy and mutual respect, and builds a bond that lasts forever. The Big-Little dynamic is a give and take relationship and those roles are constantly changing. Littles support their Bigs just as Bigs support their Littles. It’s a relationship that is different for every person and every Big-Little duo.
We asked different Society members about their Big-Little relationship, how it has impacted their life, and what the relationship means to the individual.
Second-year Jocelyn Saldana is a member of the Thalian Society. Last semester, Saldana took third-year Edwin Flores. Then following this years New Member Education process, she took first-year Jasmine Lee as her Little. When asked what being a Big has done for her, she said, “So far, being a Big has made me more responsible and made me realize the worth that I have as someone my Little looks up to.” Saldana continued, “My relationship is something that is extremely important to me.
As a Big, my Little is someone who comes to me for guidance when it comes to our Society, school, and other aspects. This relationship is sort of like mentorship but it’s also something casual, since I also spend time with my Little where we’re both just catching up with each other.
For me, your relationship with your Little is something so precious and unique because only the both of you know how deeply rooted you both have become in each other’s lives. It’s certainly not something that ends once either of you graduates or moves from Whittier. This relationship is ever-growing, improving, and it’s for those reasons why my Big-Little relationship with both Jasmine Lee and Edwin Flores is something that I hold close to my heart.”
Every Society is different when it comes to the Big-Little dynamic. For example, some societies allow members to take Littles from other Societies or even people who aren’t affiliated with a Society at all. My Little, fourth-year Bryan Gutierrez is a member of the Lancer Society. I took Gutierrez last semester and it has been one of the best decisions and one of my favorite memories.
During this year’s New Member Education process Gutierrez was able to take first-year Cesar Tamayo as his Little. When I asked Gutierrez about becoming a Big and his relationship with Tamayo, he said, “Becoming a Big, for me, is another opportunity at building a brotherhood deeper than friendship. My Little and I share many of the same interests, and I’ve explained to him that he can come to me for any problems, advice, or help he may ever need. The relationship I have with my Little is very important to myself. I understand that I have a brotherly connection to all of the members of Lancers, but a Big-Little connection is slightly different. We as Lancers hold lineages in high pride, and I know my Little, like every other of his pledge brothers, is proud to represent his line, and his Society as a whole.”
Littles hold similar views in regards to the importance and meaningfulness of their Big-Little relationship. Metaphonian Miss and Little to Jazmyn Alvarado third- year Haily McCord said, “Having a Big Sister has given me a constant role model, getting to see her go through her years taking on so many different things and still achieving greatness makes me want to be the best student, worker, and Met that I can be. She is the keeper of my secrets and I know I can come to her with any problem and she will guide me with truth and reason. She always has my best interest in mind, and she is my number one fan.”