Muhlenberg College is hosting Formal Panhellenic Recruitment this week, and I wanted to share my story with you guys, in order to help you make the right choice on Preference Night. This article is not to tell you which sorority to join. In fact, I don't want anyone to tell you which sorority to join. You need to join the house that fits you best. If it's my house, great. If it's any of the other three Panhellenic houses, you picked an amazing house too. I'm so excited to be your Panhellenic sister regardless. But I want to give you all some advice that I wish people had given me when I was going through recruitment: it's okay to pick a house that isn't the house your friends are in.
To begin, I am a Rho Gamma, which means I'm a recruitment counselor. I will not be saying what house I am a member of nor what house I didn't choose. The sisters of these sororities know who they are and they know my story, but I want you all to make completely bias-free judgments. So let's refer to the first chapter as House A. I went into recruitment loving House A because I had tons of friends there before I started recruitment. By Preference Night, the majority of my friends going through recruitment with me were only called back to House A (to clarify, Muhlenberg allowed you to get called back to up to two houses on Preference Night. Two years ago, I was called back to House A and soon to be mentioned House B, while my friends going through recruitment were only called back to House A). I had spent a week getting to know the sisters of House A and I really liked them, but I felt like I didn't fit in there perfectly. Pref Night was nice, but I didn't meet anyone new, and I didn't feel at home.
However, I had one more house to go to that night, and it was House B.
I'm a believer in signs, and House B showed me a lot of signs that night that this was the house for me. First, they played my favorite song right at the beginning, which made me start crying. Then, I got to talk about zombies with one of the sisters (who later became one of my two bigs). But the nail in the coffin was my twenty-minute long conversation with one of the sisters who's aunt wrote for my favorite television show of all time. I hadn't had a conversation like that in any other house, and House B really made me feel like I could be myself. House B was where I finally was able to talk about all of the insanely nerdy things I love and find people who like those exact same things.
I left Pref night with a really heavy heart. There were two options laid in front of me. First, there was House A, where I knew people, where my friends would be running home to the next day, where I felt safe and loved and knew I'd be happy. But there was also House B, where I knew only four people, where I didn't know a single member of my incoming New Member Class, but where I felt a huge pull towards. For me, I've always lived my life trying things that I knew would be hard for me, like my past spring abroad, or the time I joined Varsity Track and Field for two years. I knew that if I joined House A, I'd always wonder "What if I had joined House B?"
I felt like I couldn't talk to my Rho Gamma friends because I knew which sorority they were in, and it wasn't the sorority I was going to pick. I couldn't talk to my own friends because I didn't want them to know I picked a place they weren't going to come with me to. So when I wrote down my preference for House B, I felt a huge sense of guilt. But as soon as I walked out of the room, and saw all my friends waiting for me, I knew I'd made the right choice. My friends would always be my friends, no matter what sorority I picked, and now I was just gaining even more, friends. One of the Rho Gammas I knew was in House A walked up to me and said, "I know you're going to pick House B if you haven't already, and I want you to know I'm not mad at all." So when Bid Day came, I got to go home with complete strangers but ended up with some of the best sisters in the world.
House A is still one of my favorite houses. I literally force my friends to take me to their formals every year because they are such a great group of girls. By not joining House A, I was able to become best friends with a member of House A who I probably wouldn't have gotten along with had we been in the same chapter. See, my friend likes House A, but she's not very into Greek life, while I've been obsessed with Greek Life since I found out why my Dad's softball team had giant triangles on their uniforms (Alpha Phi Delta for life). Had I joined House A, we probably would have butted heads a lot, and not gotten as close as we are. Another great thing about joining House B is that I get to go and support House A's philanthropy for all of their events, which means they get more money from outside donors, not just their sisters. On the flip side, I know that the biggest Panhellenic turnout for my philanthropy events will be the sisters of House A. Joining a different sorority didn't turn the sisters of House A against me, it really just made us closer.
But I haven't really talked about my own house. House B was the right choice for me, there is no doubt in my mind. Every single member of my New Member Class I would not have become friends with had it not been for me picking House B. I have the best family in the world due to my sorority (including a little I would have never spoken to had we not been in the same sorority, even though we're the same person, and a big who wrote me a three minute song to the tune of "Heartbreak Girl" by 5 Seconds of Summer as a birthday present). On my twenty-first birthday, one of my sisters and I had a joint birthday party and it was one of the best nights of my life. House B is filled with girls who bought Parkinson's Unity Walk T-shirts when I was selling them for my dad, who all came to see my first Rocky Horror Picture Show as Magenta and who cheered whenever I moved, who sent me keychains from Ghana because they were thinking of me, who force me to play heads up with them at completely inopportune moments, who sent my dad stickers for his leg braces so he wouldn't be sad, who babysit my sister so I can see my parents, who come with me to the Maury Povich Show, and who brought me out of my shell. House B has pushed me out of my comfort zone in more ways than one, something for which I'm eternally grateful. House B gave me 80 girls who I'd never met but who quickly became my family.
When you go into recruitment this week, don't pick the house your friends are going to if that isn't the house you truly belong in. Don't feel guilty about choosing a house your upperclassmen friends aren't a part of. Don't base your choice on other people's decisions. Your true friends want you to be happy, and they'll be your friends no matter what. When you join Greek Life, no matter what house you pick, you're going to gain friends in the other chapters. So if you end up in a house with all of your friends, and that's the right house for you, that's amazing. But if you decide to go it alone, so to speak, don't worry, it'll work out amazingly. You just need to decide one thing: where is your new home?