As I begin my final semester of undergrad, I look back on the last four years of my life. I think about the choices I've made, and the experiences I've had that have brought me up to right now. As much as I don't let the words "sorority girl" define me, being in Greek life has had a huge impact on my college experience.
In high school, I was never the type that anyone would expect to be in a sorority. My freshman year of college, I wasn't sure that it was what I wanted. But I gave it a try, and never looked back. I've been judged as being superficial, paying for my friends, being a party girl, and being boy crazy-- all based solely on the fact that I'm in a sorority.
So to anyone who still doesn't understand, this is why I'm glad I joined a sorority.
1. Community Impact.
Through my involvement in the Greek community on campus, I've been able to participate in a ton of philanthropic work, raise money and awareness for various causes, and have a platform to speak about what would benefit our campus community.
I've always been able to get along with people from different walks of life. Since joining a sorority, I've had the opportunity to call people my sisters who are all different races, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, etc. I've learned more about the hardships that different types of people face and have become a more empathetic and understanding person because of it.
Throughout my time at school, I've gone through my fair share of really challenging times. My sorority is a never-ending stream of love and support, and have gotten me through some difficult situations.
4. I met my best friends.
Less than a week ago I celebrated my 22nd birthday. Looking around at the people I chose to celebrate with, many of them I wouldn't have even known if it wasn't for Greek Life. My littles, my big, my suite mates, and my pledge class-- I have my sorority to thank for all of them.
5. I came out of my shell.
I've grown so much as a person since my freshman year, and I owe a lot of that to my sorority. I met so many amazing people and had so much fun, and all of that taught me to be unapologetically me and to be more social.
6. I strive for the best that I can be.
I had a lot of amazing women as role models to look up to, and was always being encouraged to "Aim High" in everything I do. No matter what, I have 70+ cheerleaders on the sidelines routing for me.
7. Professional Experience.
Believe it or not, I actually gained work experience from being in a sorority. Wanting to go into public relations and events, planning formals and running our social media accounts was a great way for me to practice what I was learning.
8. I've let some walls down.
It has always been hard for me to open up about my emotions and feelings. Relying on my sisters for help and support wasn't easy, but learning to trust has helped me let people in.
9. I always have people to talk to.
Whether I want to vent about a bad day at work, or talk about my pathetic crush on some guy I met a week ago, there is always someone there to listen, laugh, agree, and vent with me. I've had sisters ask me who they have to hunt down when I'm upset, or laugh until we cry about some funny thing that happened that day.
10. I feel truly, genuinely loved and valued.
Yes I pay dues to be part of this sisterhood, but in no way do I feel that I pay for my friends. I have found a group of young women who have the same values and priorities in life as I do, and love me for exactly who I am. I don't have to be fake, cookie cutter, or anyone other than who I am, and I am cherished for being me.
So when people make fun of the pictures I take, or the letters I wear, or the stereotype that is being a sorority girl, I don't let it get to me. I know that I made the right choice for me, and I am happy that I joined a sisterhood that makes me feel at home.