Starting a new life at a university can be exciting, terrifying, or (most likely) a nausea-inducing mixture of both. You are expected to make new friends, eat new food, live with new people, and, oh, by the way, maintain a stellar grade point average while this is all going on. That’s enough to make any rising freshman run for the hills (or the trash can).
When I started school, however, my biggest fear wasn’t the prospect of walking into the wrong lecture hall or the mystery cafeteria food (I lived on Easy Mac for my first two semesters anyway). No, my biggest fear was Greek life. Growing up, my parents (who had no Greek affiliation) advised me to stay away from sororities, make my own friends, and save the family some money. Now, imagine little freshman me, coming into a new school that is known to have a large Greek population (50% of the undergraduate student body wears letters), and think of the fear I felt: Could I make friends without letters? Would my parents hate me if I decide to join? Was I cut out for recruitment? I was terrified.
Does this situation sound familiar to you? As a now proud member of a Panhellenic sorority on campus, I want to, with as little bias as possible, clear up some of the questions you may share with incoming-freshman-me from one year ago.
1. There is no stereotypical “Sorority Girl” mold to fit.
When I first came to my school, a southern institution with a touch of prep, I thought that all sorority girls were pearls-wearing, blonde-haired, southern beauties who shopped for Lilly and boxed wine on the weekends. How was I, a redhead from Florida who shopped in PacSun and played French horn in her spare time, going to fit in with that crowd? Before you send off every piece of your wardrobe to go get monogrammed, know that while that stereotype (which intimidated me at the time) exists in the Greek system, it is not the cookie cutter mold you have to fit in order to wear letters. In retrospect, I am laughing at myself to think that I wouldn’t be accepted because I didn’t wear fancy clothes or look like a Barbie doll. I have met so many girls of different backgrounds, personality types, and belief systems in my Greek Life experience, and it has done nothing but enriched my time in school.
A photo posted by @sororitydiaries on
//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js2. You can be as involved as you’d like. The one thing no one tells you about being in a sorority is that there will be opportunities to be involved practically every day of the week. From social outings and frat mixers to volunteer opportunities, or simply representing your chapter at campus-wide events, you will never be left without something to do. With the exception of the few things you are required to attend (e.g. philanthropy events and weekly chapter meetings), you can choose your level of involvement based on your schedule and preferences.
Bre Simard @bsimard23 #PhiSigmaSigma #sororitygirls #sororitychicks #sorority #sororitylife #collegegirls #collegebabes #collegechicks #collegelife #college #greeklife #intelligent #smartgirls #gorgeous #beauty #beautiful #cute #cutegirls #cutechicks #hotgirls #hotchicks #pretty #prettygirls #prettygirlswag A photo posted by @sororitygirls4life on
3. It is an expense and responsibility.
Being a sorority woman is not all partying and glamour. Many girls who go through recruitment are often unaware of the huge financial and social responsibility that comes with joining a chapter. Chapter dues at my school round out to be at around $1000 per semester, but at big state schools with larger Greek systems, dues and fees can round out to $3000 or more! More importantly, committing to a sorority means committing to their values and representing your chapter in the best way possible at all times. There was a phrase that was drilled into our heads before we received our cards on bid day: You are always wearing your letters. It doesn’t matter if you are in class or at a club; once you accept your bid, you are always representing your chapter. Letters are a huge responsibility – wear them proudly and wear them well.
A photo posted by Sara Bohn (@_sara_bohn_) on
//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js4. You don’t make friends instantly. One of the biggest reasons I decided to go through recruitment was to find a tight-knit community of people that would accept me for who I was. My expectations were that of a fairytale: On bid day, I would run into the arms of girls from the chapter of my dreams. We would laugh and cry in flower crowns and then go out and celebrate over cocktails and I would have my best friends/soul sisters for life. *Insert record scratch here.* If I could go back to bid day, I would shake little freshman me by her shoulders back into reality and tell her that making friends will take work! Sure, there will be cheering and chanting, learning your new hand sign on the bid day bus, and lots of new excited faces to greet you at the bid day party. People will ask you to lunch, dinner, brunch, and everything in between purely just to learn your name and establish the beginning of a friendship. Eventually, however, the bid day excitement will end, and your sisters will go back to their pre-recruitment lives. At that point, it will be up to you to keep your new friendships going!
Here’s a friendly reminder that rush applications are due in just NINE days!!! #GoGreek #ThinkThetaUNL #KAΘ #BidDay A photo posted by Kappa Alpha Theta (@nebraskatheta) on
5. The friends you do make will stick with you forever.
You’re not going to love all of your sisters. When you join a chapter, you join a group of women with different likes, personalities, lifestyles, and worldviews. You may make your BFFs on bid day, or it may take some mingling to eventually find your soul sisters. However, once it happens (and it will happen!), you will never want to leave these girls’ sides. Becoming a part of an organization a sisterhood bigger than yourself means so much more than I could possibly put into words, and through this bond, the strongest friendships are made. Sorority life has its ups and downs, but the relationships I have created in the process prove to be worth it each and every day.
A photo posted by Vy Duong (@envy4ce) on
Katie is a student at Vanderbilt University.