I once giggled and smirked at the idea of ordering a T-shirt with stylish, stitched Greek letters to be displayed across my chest. I also used to think it was rather peculiar that the girls on my floor would come back from recruitment so stressed, which partially contributed to my initial distaste for Greek life. Who in their right mind would want to cry and lose sleep over a school organization?
Now that I'm on the other side, the concept is no longer "Greek" to me. I am learning to understand the quirks and qualities unique to Greek communities as a whole.
Why do girls who join sororities invest their time and money into these organizations? Why do they place so much emphasis on recruitment?
Girls who are in sororities are looking to find their home away from home in the big, scary world of college life.
I came home a little later than some of the others. I accepted a COB from my sorority about a week after Spring Bid Day 2016, and I couldn't have been happier with my decision. The beginning of my second semester was a time of mixed emotions for me; I had finally felt fully adapted to campus life and how to handle college coursework. I was involved with a few other organizations on campus with the expectation to join more. I had a group of friends with whom I felt comfortable, but I still felt as if something was lacking in my life.
I just didn't realize I was looking for a place to call home until it was right there in front of me.
The negative stereotypes associated with social Greek organizations held me back and continue to hold others back from venturing out of their comfort zone into the realm of sororities. However, now that I have spent lots of quality time with my sisters, I have come to realize that these stereotypes are glorified by the media and Hollywood. Girls in sororities are not the assumed promiscuous and less-than-bright party girls who just wear letters and pearls all the time; we are women of service, grace, brains and faith. We take pride in our letters, our philanthropies, our grades and most importantly, our sisterly bond.
It is the responsibility of current members of Greek organizations to disprove such negative and untrue assumptions regarding our larger community. It is time to take the media focus off of the negative instances reported across the country and to take a closer look at what is done right. We can't keep dwelling on the negative occurrences taking center stage, but we should learn and grow from them.
While Greek life may not be for everyone, and that is perfectly OK, I firmly believe that it can be a saving grace for girls at schools nationwide. It all seems so corny and cliché, but my sorority has made me into a better woman over the last few months, and I know it will continue to benefit me in a plethora of ways. I have people to help me study, to listen to what's on my mind and to offer advice when needed (don't forget the practically never-ending closet or the fact that you always have a Starbucks buddy). I no longer feel lost, or as if I won't find my place here on campus. I have found a home away from home, and an overwhelmingly loving second family that supports me in times of need and celebration.
Greek life is so much more than the photos you see on Instagram, or the various letters worn proudly across campus. If you look past the social media and the personalized apparel, you will observe an authentic embodiment of motivation, empowerment and love.
My sorority is the best thing that I never wanted, but I am forever thankful for being welcomed home with such open arms.