After my sorority sister Sarah shared her experience with greek life I was inspired to share my own story. Much like Sarah I consider myself an introvert (though I hadn’t come to categorize myself as such by my freshman year of college). I really went into the recruitment (“rush”) process blind and had no idea what to expect. My Mom had never been in a sorority, I didn’t have an older sister or cousin to turn to for guidance and I didn’t even have a friend who had gone greek. I can’t pinpoint what initially sparked an interest in greek life but mid August of 2010 I was diving in head first. Recruitment was intimidating and I felt really lonely and isolated throughout the process (though I don’t actually remember feeling unhappy just overwhelmed by so much new-ness and feeling so alone throughout).
Looking back I can’t say I would put myself through something similar to the recruitment process again. It really didn’t bother me at the time but in hindsight it really seems incredibly belittling. You are shoved in and out of houses and judged on your hair/makeup/clothes and ability to small talk. As someone who really dislikes shallow, meaningless conversations I now am a bit disgusted by the process (though I don’t have a better alternative to offer). Overall I see recruitment as overly superficial. Every house (even my own) was vying for the “prettiest” girls. I remember sitting on the other side of recruitment (as a “recruiter”) a year later and scoffing at how silly the instructions we were given were. My house was supposedly one of the least “shallow” on campus and I still saw so many members looking for new members based solely on looks. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes then and I certainly find it funny now. Still, I was excited to be welcomed to my new sorority as a freshman. I was eager to make new friends and embrace sorority life despite not knowing what it all meant.
Fall of my freshman year was a whirlwind of new experiences and I honestly can’t remember ever being happier in my life. Perhaps I’m looking at life through rose-colored glasses but I can’t remember a single fret or concern beyond cramming for exams and battling constant illness due to communal living! I really think my involvement in a sorority enhanced my freshman year experience. I loved the sisterhood activities (bedazzling parties, making gingerbread houses, etc), the date dashes, having girls to sit next to in class and study with in the evenings, I even loved weekly chapter meetings. Overall sorority life was a very positive experience for me. I can honestly say I was never hazed or anything similar. The older girls in the house were always very caring and protective. I liked that it always felt like my sisters always had my back (even the ones I wasn’t besties with).
As with any large group of girls there was drama involved (who are we kidding here) but I never felt directly tied to it. I was the closest to the girls in my pledge class and my “Big” sister and never had any argument with another girl personally (yay for staying out of petty drama). The biggest issue for me freshman year was honestly just feeling a bit isolated because I didn’t like to go out to parties all that often. I never partied or even drank in high school so even though I wasn’t against frat parties (at all) I thought it was weird that so many girls wanted to party and drink 4-5 nights a week (and they probably thought I was weird for not wanting to). I never understood why so many of my sisters seemed to be “bonding without me” when I made every effort to attend every sorority function available but in hindsight I realize it was because they spent so much time going out together (and I just wasn’t that into it). Besides partying I was well involved and included in my sorority. Greek life really opened up a lot of leadership opportunities for me that really fulfilled this inner leadership role I always long to fill.
My sophomore year I returned eager to experience more of what sorority life had to offer and once again I really dove in head first. I adopted a larger leadership role in the house and was thrilled to have my own “little” sister. However my second semester sophomore year felt really isolated. A lot of tension grew in the house as some members were kicked out due to harassment and alcohol problems. I remember the whole ordeal really dividing my pledge class and as someone who has never been involved in drama I felt as if I were walking on egg shells. Still I loved Delta Delta Delta and all of the great opportunities it had to offer! I logged tons of volunteer hours through a shelter for abused/neglected horses, Habitat for Humanity and a local animal shelter. I adored my little sister and loved helping show her what greek life was all about.
Second semester I felt really distant from a lot of the girls I had been close to initially. Since it is in my nature to withdrawal when I feel “unwanted” or “misunderstood” I think I subconsciously closed myself off from a lot of girls (though I stayed close to some of course). At this point I did start to embrace more of a “party girl” lifestyle (for me). I ended up transferring at the end of my sophomore year (for a multitude of reasons) and really missed my sorority more than I could have imagined.
Though there were aspects of sorority life that weren’t necessarily for me, overall I really appreciate the time I spent in Delta Delta Delta. It’s true that the recruitment process can be fairly one-dimensional and certainly caters to extroverts but such is the way of life, no? There were parts of myself that I look back and think were silly during my sorority days (an affinity with fake nails, bedazzled jeans and spray tans) but I believe the experience was far more beneficial to me than negative. I think my sorority helped give me the traditional college experience I craved. For those interested in greek life I recommend giving it a try.
If you’re looking for a supportive group of friends to help flourish academically you can find them in a sorority, likewise if you’re looking for girls who just want to party and extend the high school experience outside of Mommy and Daddy’s watchful eye…well you can find those girls too! I truly believe the greek experience is dependent on many variables. Sororities and fraternities vary from school to school but I believe a large part of the experience is created by the values you seek and the experience you make. I don’t believe joining a sorority was the most life changing experience I could have or will ever experience, I’m not still friends with a majority of the girls (although the ones I am still in touch with I am especially close to) but I learned a lot from my experience.
Did you ever join a sorority? What did you like and dislike? Do you believe it was the “right” choice for you?