College is all about learning. I mean, that's why we pay so much for tuition, right? So we can expand our knowledge and learn important things for the future ... right? But incidentally, some of the most important things I've learned thus far have not been from my professors or my text books, but from my sisters.
Here are five life changing lessons I've learned thanks to my sorority:
1. Life isn't a competition. It's in our nature to compare ourselves to other girls. We obsess over silly things like their looks, their clothing, or even how many Instagram 'likes' they get per picture (over 1,000!? What are you, a Kardashian?). We obsess over what other girls (and people, in general) have that we don't. But since joining a sorority, I've discovered that it's pointless to think that way. Every single girl in my sorority is pretty or smart or interesting or better at something than I am. What am I gaining by comparing myself to them? Life is hard enough for girls. Why make it even more difficult by making it a competition on top of everything else? If my sisters can accept me as I am, why can't I? You can admire other girls for being the #flawless humans that they are WITHOUT comparing them to yourself.
2. Everyone is different, and that's amazing. Every sorority has a "stereotype". There are the sororities that know how to party, the sororities that are homebodies, the "nice" sororities, the "mean" sororities, etc. But here's a little secret. No sorority is all one thing or another. I mean, you can't group 100+ girls together and expect them all to like the same things as you; we're human beings, not robot clones. Being in a sorority forces you to get close to girls you think you have absolutely nothing in common with, and it's the best thing that will ever happen to you. No matter what kind of mood you're in, there's probably a sister down to do exactly what you feel like doing. Feel like going out? There's a sister for that. Feel like staying home and marathoning every single Harry Potter movie? There's a sister for that. You feel like going to Chipotle and eating your feelings? There's a sister for that, too. Learning to bond with everyone as they are, even girls you thought you would never in a million years bond with, helps you to grow as a person.
3. Not everyone will like you, and that's okay. Being in a sorority forces you to toughen up and build a thicker skin. Nearly every sorority girl alive will have at least one story of someone hating them for no reason — other than for the sorority they are a part of. Simply walking around campus wearing letters leaves you open for judgement. Complete strangers will glance at the letters on your shirt and make a judgement call on your entire persona right then and there. Maybe some people will hate me simply for the letters I chose to represent, and in the past, that may have hurt my feelings, but I've learned that those people's opinions don't matter. I have hundreds of sisters, here and in schools all across the country, who respect my letters and what they stand for. The judgement of a few randoms seems to pale in comparison. There are people in this world who won't understand your decision to go Greek, but as long as you love your organization and your sisterhood, nothing else really matters.
4. Self-confidence is important. Like every other girl on this planet, I've got flaws and I'm aware of them. Girls, unfortunately, tend to focus most on what they hate about themselves. But joining a sorority does crazy things for your self-confidence. Like, sure, maybe I'm not the tallest person, maybe I could be tanner, but my sorority of a hundred perfect girls accepted me and gave me a bid, so how bad can I be? Wearing your letters around campus is an instant self-esteem booster. I have non-Greek friends who are like, "Why do you own so many sorority shirts?" and I just shrug because there's really no way to explain that there's this unexplainable feeling of pride you get just from being a part of a sisterhood so much bigger than yourself. Even on my off-days, I just remember that a group of great girls saw something in me — enough to make me a sister — and when I remember that, I feel like I can do anything.
5. Taking chances is scary, but worth it. Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees have nothing on recruitment. I would rather spend a week in a haunted mansion than spend it going through formal rush again. There's not really any way to describe the feeling of going through recruitment as a PNM, other than that I thank my lucky stars every day that I don't have to do it again. Signing up for recruitment was scary, but going to every house and hoping that they liked me was even scarier. Spending hours talking to intimidatingly pretty girls and hoping they like you is probably not how any sane person would choose to spend their day. Recruitment is a nightmare, sure, but bid day is a dream come true. Opening up your bid card and seeing the house you've been fantasizing about running home to is an experience like no other. A lot of other aspects of sorority life is like that, too. Planning and executing a successful philanthropy event takes a lot of time and hard work, but the feeling of accomplishment when your sorority raises money for a great cause is something that cannot be replaced. I've never been much of a risk-taker. I always order the same things at restaurants and I've had the same hair style for like, my entire life ... but joining a sorority was taking a chance for me, and every day I'm thankful that I took it. Being in a sorority means I'm always doing something that is a little new or scary, but I'm a better person because of it.