I Was 'That Sorority Girl,' But That Doesn't Mean I Stand With Harvard

I Was 'That Sorority Girl,' But That Doesn't Mean I Stand With Harvard

Underneath my sorority pin and white rituals dress, I am a frat boy.

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Okay, let start looking at the manner differently, shall we?

Sorry, you can't play on the baseball team for your high school, because this is a boy sanctioned sport. Oh, no, no I am not saying that you can't play sports here. You can play softball, it is basically the same thing, but it is the girl sanctioned sport.

Okay, here is the thing. I am all for girl power. And embracing your inner femininity. However, I don't believe that the way to get that is by being exposed to a tight nite group of a "girls only" club. Everyone has different reasons for going Greek. Maybe you want to get involved with social activities on campus, party, or if you were like me, wanting to be around strong and inspiring women. People who drive you to work harder and do more in the world. Having friends both in sorority life and fraternity life, I often heard different reasons why the joined. However, for the most part, it all came down to one word: family. Everyone I spoke to wanted to have somewhere where they felt inclusive and belonged. For freshman new to the world of college and away from home for maybe the first time we all were looking for somewhere to belong.

So, here is the thing, if Greek life is truly about finding somewhere where we belong, then why are we saying, "Sorry, this is an all-girls club," or "Sorry this is the boys only room." Being exclusive doesn't make something more special. It makes it, well, one-sided. Greek life is basically a club. So, why should we be excluded people who are actually interested in joining? The whole requirement process is so intense, that if someone actually says, "Yes, I want to join a sorority, but I identify as male" then why are we telling them no. That they have to go over to the boy's side.

You want to join a house that makes you feel comfortable that you feel like you belong. For me, I never felt like I belonged to my sorority. I felt like an outcast throughout my time in the house. I poured my heart into the social committee, philanthropy works, making the cutest gifts you can imagine for my little, but I never felt like I was met for my house. I made some best friends and that was all great. But, the truly inspirational people that I hung out with and got what I had hoped for from Greek life, where the boys who lived across the fence from our house: the frats.

Yes, frats have their reputations. Their bathrooms never seem to be clean, they haze and can act so rude to girls. Yeah, well, wake up call, that is everyone. Your gender isn't going to be that defining reason why someone acts a certain way. And through my own hazing experience at my sorority and seeing their true colors, I never felt at home there. But take me to my best friends live out any old day and I felt like I was at home.

I would often joke about rushing their frat and how I wish I could. But truth is, that was never a joke, I was always full on serious. I may not be able to relate to things the boys have been going through. The pressures of the society of being a man or how the world expected so much from them but shamed them at the same time, or the thrills of standing up when peeing. But I felt a connection there.

At the end of the day, we join Greek to build a connection, a home. If we all rushed with blindfolds on and spoke to people, we would never see if they are male or female. Instead, we would be choosing brothers and sisters only on their goodness of heart and who we build a connection with through recruitment. You can learn so much from someone of the opposite sex. You can get to see the world from a different perspective. In a group setting, that diversity is important. You want to surround yourself by inspiring people who teach you new things about the world. If we keep ourselves stuck in our "girl clubs" and "boy clubs" we are never getting that perspective we need in our lives. We stay one-sided and taking away someone else chance to feel like they belong. We all want a home, so why are we taking away someone chance to one? Sorry, you can't join the "softball team," but there is the "baseball team" it is basically the same thing. But here is the thing, we didn't want to play "baseball." We wanted to experience what you are.

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The ABCs Of Greek Life

Greek Life From A to Z
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When you enter into Greek life, it's like having to learn a whole new language, but it's a language that everyone comes to love. So here's the Greek alphabet, from Alpha Chi to Zeta.

A is for Alum

The members of our chapter who have graduated. These members are a range of ages and can participate in all kinds of alumna events.

B is for Bid Day

The best day of the year when our chapters get to accept a new pledge class of members.

C is for Chapter

Our weekly meetings where we learn about sisterhood and philanthropy events, date parties, etc., as well as take care of any sort of chapter business.

D is for Date Parties

Some of the best nights of the year are getting dressed up with your friends and your dates and attending date parties.

E is for Executive Board

The people that make the chapter run smoothly. The chapter wouldn't function without your president, VP, finance, standards, etc.

F is for Fried Friday

The best day of the week at the house. When the chefs cook up chicken, mozzarella sticks, fried pickles, french fries, corn dogs, fried mac n cheese, fried corn, fried green tomatoes and whatever else your heart desires.

G is for Greek Week

One of the most competitive and most fun weeks of the year. Spent playing dodgeball, whiffle ball, doing dance-offs, and more!

H is for Hand Sign

No matter what sign it is, we love to throw what we know!

I is for Initiation

The day that we get to cross from new member to active member of our chapter.

J is for Just Here So I Don't Get Fined

As much as we love to hang out with our sisters, sometimes life gets in the way and we wish we had more free time. Sometimes we're only attending an event so that we don't get fined.

K is for Kick-Off

Of course, all college students love football but game day is something special when you're Greek. From getting ready with your sisters to eating at the house to tailgating with the fraternities, it's all a part of the game day experience when you're Greek.

L is for Letters

Our identity within the Greek community.

M is for Mom

Our house mom can never take the place of our real mom but she is great for lending an ear and helping solve any issues that come up within the sorority.

N is for Norts

Part of the "sorority girl uniform." We can't get enough of our Nike shorts

O is for Organized

With constantly running between classes, chapter meetings, and other events, you become extremely organized when you join a Greek organization.

P is for Philanthropy

One of the biggest reasons many people choose to go Greek. We love to spend our time, money and energy towards a cause that's close to our heart such as Ronald McDonald House, Make a Wish Foundation and CASA.

Q is for Queso

Okay, maybe a bit of a stretch but it's true! Ordering Fuzzy's to the sorority house or going out to eat at Moe's or Chuy's are not uncommon activities. We love chips and queso!

R is for Recruitment

The craziest week of the year where the chapter decides which PNM's would be the best fit for the chapter and new members run home to your chapter at the end of the week!

S is for Sisterhood

What a sorority is really all about. The friends you make in your sorority are some of the most interesting and genuine girls you'll meet!

T is for T-Shirt Tuesday

The one weeknight that tons of people go out. Whether you're at Harry's bar or Rounders, T-shirt Tuesday is sure to be a blast.

U is for Unique Experience

No two people have the same experience with Greek life. Whether you're the most involved person, just in it for the sisterhood, or you're fairly uninvolved, your experience will be different than everyone else's. You get out what you put in, as the saying goes.

V is for Vineyard Vines

One of many popular brands among sorority women and fraternity men alike.

W is for Wine Wednesday

Another fan favorite of the week is Wine Wednesday. Whether you're celebrating at Gallette's or from the comfort of your own dorm or apartment, Wine Wednesday is awesome.

X is for XL T-Shirts

Another part of the "sorority girl uniform". The bigger the T-shirt, the comfier and more confident you'll be. It's science.

Y is for Youth

Many philanthropies work with children, which is great because we love to spend time with the youth in and around Tuscaloosa!

Z is for Zero Sleep

When you're taking 14-18 credits, working, in a Greek organization and you're involved with several other organizations it's easy to see why we never get our full 8 hours of sleep. We're always going and we're fueled by coffee and a passion for whatever it is we're doing on and around campus.

Cover Image Credit: UA Panhellenic

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I Didn't Join A Panhellenic Sorority

It's okay if you don't join a panhellenic sorority. Sometimes a different organization can turn out to be the best thing.

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Before going to college I was faced with a dilemma, should I rush? I wanted to rush just for the social aspect, I thought it would be my best shot at making a bunch of friends. However, deep down I knew that greek life really wasn't me. I didn't want to do something if I wasn't one hundred percent behind it. There was a part of me that did want to be in a sorority but the other part of me really didn't want to rush. Let me be clear, I don't think Greek life is bad, I just think it wasn't for me. I talked to my brother and sister-in-law about this because they both were in Greek life at the college I attend now; they told me that they didn't think I would like it either.

What my brother and sister-in-law told me that I might like was, a Christian sorority called Sigma Phi Lambda. When they described it to me it seemed like exactly what I was wanting. As soon as I got to college I sought them out; and I went to their recruitment nights. I loved it! It was exactly what I was looking for. I ended up joining. This sorority brought me an amazing group of friends! Most importantly, I have joined the perfect sorority for me! A few things I liked most about Sigma Phi Lambda was the people were so welcoming, it was more low key and laid back, I was still able to have a big and a "Pham", we still did lots of sorority things whilst also having activities that strengthened us on our walks with the Lord, and I gained so many sisters that I now have strong relationships with. Sigma Phi Lambda gave me so many friends and something to be involved in on campus. They gave me somewhere to belong and I am so glad I chose to join them.

Rushing may be exactly what you need when you go to college, but if it's not that is okay. Just join something that makes you happy. Join an organization that helps you grow and surrounds you with people that you want to be around. I promise when you get to college that there is an organization for just about everything, find the one that fits you. No matter what you choose I promise it's good. Just make sure you choose what is right for you.

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