5 Things I Gained After Joining A Sorority

5 Things I Gained After Joining A Sorority

Why going through recruitment was totally worth it

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Before going through recruitment, I had mixed feelings about being in a sorority. I always found it intriguing because, as much as I love my brother, I yearned to have a sister. At the same time, I was familiar with the stereotypes and didn't want to end up being a stuck-up, air-headed, help-I-just-broke-a-nail, foo-foo girl. Nevertheless, I decided to sign up for formal recruitment, and boy, am I glad I did. Here are 5 things I gained after joining my sorority.

1. Sisters I never had

I can't believe how quickly I became close with girls I never would've met if it weren't for joining my house. My sisters and I all have individual interests, passions, and backgrounds, yet each and every one of us love each other so well. They all inspire me with their drive, persistence, and compassion.

My sisters give me guidance, a safe space to share all of my biggest secrets and most embarrassing moments, and companionship when I need it most.

Of course, not every day is picture-perfect, but what I love about sisterhood is that at the end of the day, we know we will always have each other's backs.

2. Authentic bonds I always yearned for

My first semester of college, most of the friendships I made seemed pretty superficial. It wasn't that my friends didn't have substance; moreover, we were more friends because it was convenient. We met because we lived in the same hall, were in the same club, or had a class together. I loved these friends, but they weren't the people I felt comfortable having deep conversations with.

After joining my sorority, I found my best friends. I found both people who saw life in a similar way as me and people who offered different perspectives. I found study buddies, coffee dates, shoulders to cry on, and people to laugh with. I found people whom with I could obsess over Nutella in one moment and be talking about our biggest insecurities in the next. I found people who I could truly play my favorite music for in the car, not just some playlist I play because I think it's what other people like.

I found people who let their guards down, giving me the confidence to do the same. I found people who loved me for my authentic self.

3. A ton of new clothes

On Bid Day, Big-Little Reveal, and Initiation, I received baskets overflowing with clothes, canvases, and all sorts of fun items that had to do with my sorority and/or my school. I felt so vintage rocking a shirt from a 2002 philanthropy event, and I felt so connected to a graduated sister of mine when I put on a pin someone saved from when she ran for president of student government.

Now, I can't wait to pass on my clothes and other fun mementos to future members.

4. A sense of place

When I wanted to go to the dining hall, my first semester of college, it was so stressful trying to find people with coordinating schedules to eat with me. Once I switched to my sorority's meal plan, I didn't have to worry anymore. I could eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner any time within the dining hours and know I'd be able to sit by and talk to anyone. I always felt comfortable and accepted in my home--something I waited a long time to feel.

Even before I lived in the house, I could go over and study, lounge on a futon, or eat from the snack kitchen. I never felt alone, even if the sisters I normally spent time with weren't home. I felt such a sense of belonging in my new community. I felt needed.

5. A home away from home

I am so thankful to feel like I have a family and a purpose both in my hometown and at school. While my sorority alone is not what gave me confidence, the amazing people I met through joining my house gave me more than I could have ever asked for. As cheesy as it sounds, going Greek helped me find my home.

Almost a year after joining my house, I feel overwhelmingly thankful for each of the unbelievably empowering women I've met, and I feel even more blessed to have the privilege of calling them my sisters. They all set an amazing example of love, acceptance, and inspiration, and I hope I can give them at least half of that in return.

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Every Stereotype You Have About Sorority Girls Is Wrong, Hear Me Out

Twitter videos and jokes aside, sororities mean way more than letters of the Greek alphabet.

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There are lots of movies that feature us. By "us" I mean sorority girls. We are portrayed as immoral, cookie-cutter, status-obsessed, perfect, and mean. The title of a sorority girl is often associated with a life which revolves around date parties and socials, the "sorority squat," and clapping and yelling in videos on Twitter of recruitment chants. If you look up "sorority girl" on Urban Dictionary, you are bombarded with phrases like "high maintenance" and "cliquey."

That is how we are perceived by strangers on an anonymous website. As if we are all the same. As if all we care about is what lies on the surface. As if this is all that we are. As if there is not infinitely more to us than what you can see in a photo, dozens of photos, Instagram accounts, Twitter videos, Urban Dictionary definitions, and jokes made between people who have no knowledge or experience in greek life, let alone a sorority.

Stereotypes are usually pretty similar when it comes to classifying us.

Some believe that we don't care about school, that we are in college for the fun, and the connections, rather than to work hard to get where we want to be.

I wonder if people who believe we don't value our education have ever seen the determination of the "sorority girls" I know in studying for their tests in Neuroscience and Political Science classes.

They probably haven't watched my fellow sorority sisters earn 4.0 GPAs semester after semester, or choose to stay in and do their homework on a weekend night. And they definitely haven't seen my friends and sisters help others with their work, without expecting anything in return.

Another stereotype heaped upon sorority girls is that we "pay for our friends."

Sororities have dues, yes, but they cover the price of philanthropy events, maintaining our chapter, keeping our part of a larger organization strong. In my experience, every single one of the friendships I have made with girls in my sorority and other sororities has been anything but fake. I can honestly say that I have never met more genuine girls in my entire life, and it is all because of organizations that were formed over a hundred years ago. And so, to those who believe this stereotype to be true, I say that I must not be paying enough for my friends, because they have enriched my life in so many ways.

My sisters, as cliche, as it sounds, are my support system, biggest encouragers, best friends, the first people I want to share the good news with, and a shoulder to cry on. They uplift me, bring me joy, make me laugh until I cry, and are the best dance partners.

Some people may also believe that we only care about what we can gain from our sorority, rather than what we can give back to it.

Anyone who believes this stereotype is turning a blind eye to the money raised for dozens of charities and worthy causes, such as the Make A Wish Foundation, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and the Ronald McDonald House, to name a few. A sororities philanthropy is the heart and reason behind why members stay members. Giving back to the community, and raising money for important causes are just a few of the reasons why being in a sorority cultivates a sense of serving others for a lifetime.

We are not "sorority girls."

We are women in sororities, members of Greek organizations, devoted to our shared values, and determined to succeed. We are scholars, sisters, friends, mentors, achievers, and philanthropists. We are more than what meets the eye, or what is said about us on online or between people joking around. We are kind, we are leaders, we are devoted and we are determined.

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No Matter How Much You Flaunt Your Letters, Greek Life Does Not Define You

Do what makes you happy, not what everyone else is doing.

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As a student at a university with a major sorority and fraternity presence, I know that those unaffiliated, like myself, can't help but wonder if there's something that we're missing out on. Seeing everyone walk around flaunting their letters can make a non-member feel a little left out. I have been told straight to my face "you're going to regret it if you don't rush." But, in all honesty, I don't.

Now, don't get me wrong, being a part of a sorority or a fraternity sounds incredibly fun. With formals to hold, fundraising events to be a part of, "sister photo shoots" to have, and socials to go to, there never seems to be a dull moment for a Greek life member. Not to mention, those affiliated say they have made their absolute best friends through their sororities or fraternities. My friends that are a part of Greek life are always gloating about it, and I can see why. I joined my past roommate at one of her sorority formals and I genuinely had a ball being able to dress up and pretend it was prom again.

However, as wonderful as all of this is, you don't need to be a part of Greek life in order to have THE college experience. Having letters on your shirts does not mean you are any better or any worse of a student than those without them. The letters do not define you.

As an unaffiliated college student, I have still been able to find my group of "forever friends," join clubs, spend nights out, and get an education (since that is, after all, what we're all here for). As cool as it is to be able to stick Greek letters on the back of your laptop, for me, it just leaves more room for stickers of Harry Styles.

Thankfully, college is a lot different than high school — there aren't really any cliques or status rankings. So, if you aren't a part of Greek life, that does not automatically put you at the bottom of the social ladder. At the end of the day, your affiliation does not matter at all. Instead of using a sorority or fraternity as a resumé booster, unaffiliated students can fill those blanks with other work, internship, volunteer, or extracurricular opportunities.

Sure, being a Greek life member may allow you to network and get connections for future careers, but it isn't the only way to do

so. Employers will not pick those in a fraternity over those who are not. They simply look for well-rounded individuals who are involved in something.

So, whether or not you're a part of a sorority or fraternity, I applaud you for making your own decisions and hopefully taking the college route that you wanted to. It does not matter what you are affiliated with, as long as it makes you happy. Otherwise, you aren't missing out on anything special.

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