I’ll write about my experiences in my sorority until the day I die-- this organization has shaped me as a young, professional woman in more ways than I can count, and it continues to do so as I’m beginning my third year of affiliation with my chapter. I’ve learned so much from our history, from my sisters and from the experiences I’ve lived through with my chapter.

I always knew I wanted to join a sorority when I got to college because I grew up as an only child that wanted to be a sister. I was looking for a place to belong when I was at school-- something that I didn’t really have during my freshman year. I found my home in our chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota during my sophomore year. When I walked into my first recruitment event two years ago, I immediately felt that those women wanted me to be in that room and genuinely wanted to get to know me. Being genuine is a huge part of being a professional adult, and that recruitment event was the first time I felt genuinely appreciated by my peers at college.

My sisterhood has taught me how to be a professional young woman on many levels, especially in organizational skills. I’ve never been a very organized person-- my car and my bedroom are constantly a mess and I never used a planner for more than a month before forgetting about it. That’s not an option when you’re in a sorority. My planner is now color-coded and everything I have to do on any given day is written down. A huge part of being a member of any club or organization is being able to plan your time and energy wisely. Our sisters are very dedicated to many different activities, including performing ensembles, clubs, and jobs on top of their classwork.

I’ve always been an extremely independent person, but having a support system of 40 sisters has helped me realize that it’s okay to rely on people and ask for help. When classwork is challenging, I have a network of girls I can turn to who have taken the class already. If I’m struggling with a personal issue, my sisters are there to talk me through it. I have hundreds of girls who I can ask anything and know that they will support me in whatever happens. This was one of the best parts of joining a sorority, and almost everyone mentions it as a benefit to Greek Life. It’s so important to me because as I’ve gotten older and become more comfortable with myself and my sisters, it’s a resource I use on a daily basis.

My sorority taught me to be professional. Sigma Alpha Iota is a professional organization, and we take pride in that title, both as a chapter and as individuals. We dress up once a week in professional outfits, and while sometimes it’s a chore, it’s something that I’ve come to enjoy. I know I’m going to look presentable at least once a week, and I also know that when I leave college and start applying for careers, I’m not going to be concerned that I’m not dressing “correctly” for an interview because I’ve been doing this for years, whereas some candidates may not be as confident in their outfits as I am. Professionalism extends to my relationships with others as well-- being able to respectfully interact with my peers is a huge skill and I attribute a lot of my interpersonal skills to the values that my sorority holds.

My sorority has given me the opportunity to take leadership positions in many different forms. Last spring I served as the Vice President of Membership, in which I oversaw the recruitment and training period for 17 new members. This spring I will be serving as Editor, and will be in charge of almost all of our social media, including our Facebook page and website. I have served as committee head for two different committees as well. Almost every sister in our organization who is eligible to take a leadership position has served in one way or another, and the possibilities for leadership roles in our chapter are limitless-- even those who don’t serve as committee heads have the chance to bring new ideas and energy to our group in regular meetings and by serving as committee members. I have always been a leader in everything I do, but I love being able to give back to my sisterhood by serving on committees and in e-board positions. Serving my chapter has taken my leadership skills and honed them into better management and public speaking skills.

Most of all, being in a sisterhood has taught me how to be a sister. As an only child, I never had the opportunity to be someone’s rock when things aren’t going well, or be someone’s mentor. I’ve never really had anyone look up to me or turn to me for advice. My sisters have taught me how to be an adult, how to be a friend and how to be the woman I’ve always envisioned myself to be. I can’t thank Sigma Alpha Iota enough for all the things it has taught me, and I only hope that I can repay my sisterhood by being the example that those before me have set for the future sisters of this organization.