The Hidden Fees Of Being In A Sorority

The Hidden Fees Of Being In A Sorority

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I almost didn’t rush because I was so intimidated by the idea of paying dues to be in a sorority. After grappling with the initial shock of the amount I would be dishing out of my bank account every month, I have realized there are even more costs to joining a sorority that I didn’t recognize at first. I call these the “hidden fees.” For the last two years, I have been trying to come up with ways to be inventive and resourceful in hurdling these fees.


'Swag'

It seems like we have T-shirts for every sorority event: recruitment, date functions, philanthropies, formals. We also have sweatshirts. And tanks. And vests. And quarter-zips. Even socks. The list goes on and on.

My first year, I bought every T-shirt that was available to me, because I thought they were so cute, and I wanted all of them. But at the end of the year I realized that I really did not need that many T-shirts. In fact, I realized that I had more T-shirts than I ever wanted; I started wearing T-shirts more than my regular clothes, which has really never been my style.

The best advice I can give is to limit your T-shirt purchases. Pick your favorites. You really do not need every single T-shirt.


The Coffee Culture

Most sorority girls live in a “coffee culture.” A world where the words, “let’s get coffee” are uttered almost daily. We love to show up to class with a Starbucks cup. Sometimes coffee dates are a social activity. I cannot tell you how times I have paid for coffee just to “catch up.”

This is not just with coffee. I hear “Let’s get lunch” or “Let’s get frozen yogurt” frequently as well. While we all love going out to eat, the reality is that paying for this adds up very quickly.

I can make a cup of coffee at home for so much less than it costs at Starbucks or cook dinner for someone at my house for so much less than it costs to eat out.

Our society is losing the art of hospitality, and we need to start embracing the sweetness there is in inviting others into our homes.


Meal Plan

I do not live in my sorority house, so I have dinner at the house once a week with my paid meal plan. Different sororities have different meal plan systems.

My advice: Don’t miss your meal. You are paying for it, so make sure you plan it into your day as a must. It can be a great study break and a fun time to be with your sisters. The food is also probably much better than what you would have been eating. So really appreciate it. 


Big Sis Week

This can be a really big money sucker. I know some girls can spend upwards of $400 on making sure their little’s big sis week is absolutely perfect with all kinds of elaborate gifts, food, and activities.

I would recommend simplifying; it is okay to pass down T-shirts and gifts to your little; in fact, it is really fun to have traditions of passing things down.

Also, use your connections. There are some really fun things you can do for your little if you get creative. (I had my little’s best friend from another school surprise her, and she loved it.) 


Formal Dresses

One of my absolute favorite parts of being in a sorority is getting dressed up for a formal. I love curling my hair and putting on a fancy dress. But formal dresses can be really expensive.

My best advice is to be smart when shopping for a formal dress; look at different stores and websites to find a dress you love for less.

Also, borrow, borrow, borrow! I recently started a Facebook message thread with some girls in my sorority who wear the same size as me to share dresses. I love sharing my dresses, as do many others. There is no reason why we cannot utilize that resource. This goes for jewelry too, which can quickly become expensive.


While these hidden fees can be frustrating, if you are smart about how you handle these areas of your life, you can avoid wasting money you did not intend to spend. At the end of the day, being in a sorority is worth every penny. 

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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.
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I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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Short Story: Don't

Part I

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The irony wasn't lost on her as she stood there. Her reflection was one she didn't recognize. Wild eyes traced the smudged words she'd written on the mirror and her throat constricted. Her mind was a flurry of motion as she stood motionless, daring not move should the reverie be broken.

It had all started a week ago. No, her mind screamed, stop lying.

She went back further.

It had been early fall, just last year, the first time they saw each other. She remembered the brisk autumn air tickling her ears as crimson leaves whispered past. Her favorite season had come early that year, and she was regularly late to class just to stroll past the maple groves on campus. Her professor rarely gave her a second, irritated look.

That all changed when she wasn't the only one running late.

They'd rounded opposite corners simultaneously, an unnerving mirror that had surprised them both. She'd recovered much quicker than him and entered the tiny computer lab with his shadow at her heels.

"Ms. Swift, Mr. Tanner," their instructor sounded peeved, "I trust you're both late for good reasons?"

She'd attempted to avoid his gaze as she slid into her regular seat. He'd turned on his heals, "I had a flat, sorry 'bout that." He shrugged broad shoulders.

The instructor pinned him with narrow eyes, "And you, Ms. Swift? Tree gazing again?"

She didn't have a reply, at least not an intelligent one. "I, erm, yes, I'm sorry. I lost track of time."

He wasn't amused as he impatiently began rolling up his sleeves, "Until you both learn respect for other people's time and energy, I must ask you to leave."

She'd been blind-sided. In all honesty, there hadn't been a day in the semester where she hadn't been at least 5 seconds late. "But, Mr. Sta-"

"Go, Kalei." He cut her off, "And you too Devon."

Fury mixed with sheer embarrassment had made her cheeks redden as she stomped from the room; she had almost felt the eyes prying into the back of her head as she left. The guy named Devon followed close behind her.

The psyche building's halls had been quiet as they emerged together and she tried to split away from him. She'd been surprised when a hand had grasped her forearm, and she turned. Devon filled her field of vision, a crooked smile splayed across his lips.

"Hey, sorry about that." he ran a hand through dark, curly hair, "I didn't mean to get you tossed out."

She blinked once, "I had it coming, don't worry about it." She turned to leave and was surprised when he fell in step beside her.

"So, uh, I know your name but not much else..other than you like trees."

"It's not the trees," she rolled her eyes, "the colors are what make them."

"Make them what?"

"Special." the word came out before she could think.

"I don't know many people who would be late to class because of trees," he laughed shortly, "I guess it takes a special person."

She'd cast him a sideways glance before slinking away, "Guess so. See you later."

Though it was just a pleasantry, he'd taken it seriously, little did she know.

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