Sorority recruitment is one of the strangest experiences I've ever gone through in my entire life, and that's saying a lot.
As a freshman in college, I made the decision to go through formal recruitment in the fall with high hopes of joining a group of women who shared the same interests as me. I didn't know much about Greek Life, as none of my immediate family members went Greek, but what I did know is that I was a nervous wreck.
As my fellow potential new members (PNMs) and I gathered outside of chapter houses waiting to go into our events, it was almost impossible to keep our opinions to ourselves. There was constant side chatter about how one woman found her dream home and how another woman talked to a chapter member who was exactly like her. While these comments were positive, I began to feel insecure due to the fact that I hadn't really had an incredible conversation at all that week.
I didn't know how these women had found their "home" in just a matter of six days. I was confused and felt overwhelmed, but the week came and went and then there was bid day.
As a PNM, I had done my research and knew that bid day was the best day out of the entire week. It was the day you got to run home to women you could officially call your sisters.
For me, bid day was just another day. I'm not sure if it was because I'm really not that of an outward emotional person or because I still wasn't sure if being in a sorority was the right choice for me, but I just didn't feel that bid day spark that I heard everyone talking about.
Flash forward to the end of my freshman year. I was initiated into my sorority and sort of just coasted through the year. I went to a date function here, a social there, philanthropy events, meals at the house, and all of that jazz, but I still didn't know if I'd found my place. I wasn't that invested in my sorority, and I wasn't really sure I had a desire to be. So, summer came and went and then it was back to school before I knew it. The beginning of fall semester means the beginning of recruitment week.
This time around, I wanted to put myself out there.
I wanted to be a woman who made a difference in my chapter. I wanted to be known. I made efforts to hang out with women in my chapter that I hadn't really known before and I tried to have a friendly conversation with everyone on a daily basis. Through this, I slowly but surely began to understand why the women in my sorority loved being there.
During recruitment, I think every woman has this idea that they are going to fall madly in love with a specific chapter and they are going to have the time of their lives in that chapter once they become a member.
For some, that's true, but that's not always the case. Sometimes you're like me. You receive a bid, you kind of just go with it, and you aren't really sure what you're doing or why you're in the place that you're in. That's why I firmly believe that the reason why you stay in a sorority is far more important than the reason why you joined.
I could talk endlessly about the amount of money that my sisters raise for our philanthropy, how involved my fellow sisters are on my school's campus, or how I couldn't imagine calling anywhere else my home, but those statements are recycled. I'm not saying that they don't matter, but to me, they don't make a difference. Instead, I'm going to talk about the parts of a sorority that make being a sorority woman important to me.
Your experience is your own, and it's what you make of it.
During my freshman year, I chose to isolate myself instead of get to know my new member class. I didn't attend events as frequently as I should have, and thus didn't make as many friends as I probably could have. During my sophomore year, I branched out. I was tired of isolating myself, so I took matters in to my own hands and decided to get out there and embrace being a sorority woman. In doing this, I've found women that I'm lucky enough to call my best friends.
I've found women that empower me every single day and are constantly pushing me to do things that put me out of my comfort zone. I discovered what a true friend is and how to be a true friend. I've learned that without these women in my life, there's a good chance I would be a lesser person than I am today.
Because I stayed, I have been blessed with the opportunity to know 200+ women who continue to inspire me to be a better individual day in and day out.
Essentially what I'm saying is this: everyone grows at different rates, and sometimes it takes a little while to truly find your place away from home. Finding your home could happen in one week, but it could also happen in one month or even one year.
Give it time, make an effort to put yourself out there, and enjoy yourself while you're doing it. Don't get caught up in the silly things that don't matter, focus on finding a group of women you can feel your best around even when your guard is down. Like I said, it will take time, but in order to experience highs, you sometimes have to go through lows, but that's why you stay.