When you grow up in a different country and come to an American college as an international student, it’s very hard to understand what a sorority is. My freshman RA told me that sororities are pretty much social clubs for only females, where you have to pay to join and wear matching t-shirts. The idea of paying for friends did not exactly sound appealing to me, which is why I decided not to rush my freshman year. However, when Zeta Tau Alpha came on our campus my sophomore year, I decided to give it a try because I wanted to know why so many people decide to go Greek. I did not realize that after joining ZTA, my life would change forever and I’d have so much advice for my little.
I realized that being a part of a sorority is more than just functions, frat boys, and wearing matching t-shirts. It is about relationships that you build with people you choose to be with all the time. After joining Zeta Tau Alpha, I met many amazing women whom I would otherwise have never met. It is hard to tell what was the best part of my experience as a Zeta. One thing I know for sure is that the highlight of my Zeta career was definitely the day I met my little. In honor of her birthday, I present 20 pieces of advice for my little.
1. Don’t hold onto people who upset you and cause you to stress.
Remember all of those nights we spent together getting upset about different people in our lives? From terrible boyfriends to friends who weren’t loyal, I think we went over all of my snacks this year getting stressed about people who weren’t worth our time. I hope we both learned that it is better to let those people out of our lives and focus on things that make us happy, rather than trying to fix people who will never change.
2. Be careful with your reputation.
College is a time for working hard, being broke, and crying from stress, while simultaneously having the best time of your life. I know we both love parties, piña coladas, crazy snap stories, and of course, boys. Though some boys can be a great time, don’t ever forget that people talk and rumors can spread fast. As much fun as college should be, never forget to keep your good reputation, because you don’t only represent yourself, but you also represent our entire sisterhood.
3. Education is the reason you are here.
I know that we would all rather spend time outside and hang out with our friends, but the main reason you came to school is for education. I know, it’s unfair how important your GPA is, but please make sure you focus on your grades. College parties will be over one day and some friends may not stay in your life forever, but education is one thing that nobody will ever be able to take away from you.
4. Never drunk drive.
We both know that Uber can be expensive. But trust me, none of the cookouts and clubs of the world are worth losing your life for.
5. Boys are overrated.
Don’t stress out about boys, especially the ones who make you feel bad about yourself. People say that boys are stupid and girls are crazy; but let’s be real, the reason we girls are crazy is because boys are stupid. They are overrated; don’t let them bring you down.
6. Be the best version of yourself.
Different situations that happen in our every day life force us to adapt to them and behave certain ways. Whether you are at a frat party or at a job interview, never feel as if you need to change yourself, no matter who you are dealing with; because we all know that you are awesome the way you are. Instead, try to just be the best version of yourself, because that is what my sorority always taught us.
7. Don’t be mean to others.
I know some people are fun to laugh at. As much as I enjoy making fun of people we both dislike, being mean to people doesn’t say anything good about us either.
8. Never do drugs.
I’m sure you know this, already but there are many other ways to have fun other than drugs. You can pay for one pound of cocaine or an entire spring break with your sisters. I am sure this is not a tough choice.
9. Try to be on good terms with your sisters.
Joining a sorority does not mean you are now obligated to like all of your 140 sisters. There will always be somebody who might have a crush on the same guy you like or say something that offended you, but being on good terms with your sisters is very important. Whether you like them or not, they are your sisters, whom you will see all the time. Don’t ruin the sorority experience for them and for yourself.
10. Family comes first.
Whether it’s your real family or your little and me, family should always come first. We are the only people who do not apply to the piece of advice in #1, because our love for you is unconditional, no matter how annoying we can be.
11. Prepare yourself for the professional world.
College is an extremely fun place, but we all know one day it will be over. While you still have time, start preparing yourself for the professional world you will enter after graduation. Build your resume and practice your networking skills. I want you to have an amazing job after college, because you need money for all the awesome trips we have been planning out this whole time.
12. Collect t-shirts.
You can’t be a sorority girl without a drawer full of sorority t-shirts. I know that paying for them can get frustrating, but at the same time you only have four years to wear all of those funky over sized t-shirts and not look like a fool. Do it while you can. Also, you can always pass them down to your little.
13. Stand up for your little and try to give her as much love as you can.
Getting a little will always be one of the most exciting experiences any sorority girl ever gets to have. Whether you guys are the perfect match (like we were) or not, she is now your legacy, and she deserves all the love in the world. Give it all to her the way I gave it to you.
14. Look up to your role models and learn from them.
I know both of us are still at the age when we are trying to figure out who we want to be. Regardless of whether you already have specific goals for your future or not, one thing that we all want to be is great. Look up to your role models, figure out certain parts of their personality or things that they do that you admire, and learn from them. That will help you to get closer to where you want to be in the future.
15. Be a good representative of your chapter.
Some of the most important advice for my little – I know we hear this in every chapter, but never forget that you are always representing our sorority. Make smart decisions.
16. Always make sure to listen before you speak up.
Our life is filled with relationships. Some of them are meaningful and some of them are not. Regardless of your thoughts and intentions, try your best to be on good terms with people around you. The best way to avoid misunderstandings with people around you is to listen before you speak up. I hope we both now realize that we could have avoided many of our own conflicts if we listened to each other more often, which is why I really want you to learn from our mistakes and never make assumptions.
17. Learn how to manage your time and your stress.
When you are a college student, stress is a big part of your life. Stress can turn you into a person you do not want to be. You can’t completely eliminate it, but you can reduce it by managing your time wisely and avoiding unhealthy relationships.
18. Don’t get too drunk at functions and formals.
Remember how our semi-formal was a disaster? Let’s behave and make sure we never do it again!
19. Take care of your health.
Working out and eating healthy is important; we are all aware of that. However, your well being involves not only your daily dose of kale and squats, but also your emotional health, spiritual health, mental health, and more. Make sure you take care of all of those factors, stay well rounded and never let anything drag you down.
20. Enjoy your life in college and take advantage of every opportunity while you can.
As you know, I am approaching my last year in college. One day, you will be in the same boat and realize that this journey went by very quickly. I am sure all college seniors look back and think of things that they wish they would have done, or think about things they wish they didn’t miss. Make sure you take advantage of every opportunity that college offers you and enjoy your time here to the fullest. It will go by very fast!
Here’s a little more background on how I met my little…
I still remember myself standing outside on bid day and welcoming new members, when a gorgeous blonde girl came up to me and said, “hi, my name is Hailey, I know this might sound weird but I have been stalking you on Facebook for a while now. And I saw that you used to be a model and so was I. I thought your pictures were very beautiful.” My facial expression was probably worth a Snapchat story, but I believe it was love from first sight. After just one day of hanging out with her, I knew I wanted her to be my little. I still get shocked how similar we are and how much she resembles me. We laugh at the same jokes, love the same kind of food, dance to the same kind of music, and fight like an old couple. Other Zetas think we are twins. Sometimes we are so attached to each other, that we even decide not to go to functions at all because one of us can’t make it. As a founding member of Zeta, I never got to have a big. This is why I tried my best to give her all the love and guidance that I never received when I first joined. I hope this advice for my little will help guide you, too, in the right direction!