When I told my sister that I was joining a sorority at UVA, her face lit up. I think she may have been more excited for me than I was at that point (recruitment nerves were beginning to creep in). She was the one I called after every day to work out how I was feeling, and she was the first person I texted a picture of my bid card to.
Now that she's in college too, I absolutely cannot wait for her to be able to have that same experience. Everyone cares about their siblings, and as Greek women, we just can't wait for new people to experience Greek life too.
There are so many reasons to be excited about joining a sorority, so here are the top ten reasons I want my sister to experience what I have:
10. The Shirts
I'm a sucker for t-shirts, and so is my sister. It's a silly thing to want for someone else, but I can't wait to hand down some of my shirts to her if she joins the same sorority as I did. Alternatively, I would be just as excited to support whatever sorority she joins by buying their philanthropy shirts too. It isn't about wearing the same letters; it's about recognizing each other as members of a bigger community.
9. The Leadership Opportunities
I never really realized just how many opportunities there were to be a leader in a sorority before I joined. No woman in my family had ever been in a sorority before me, so I went into Greek life somewhat blind. A year and some change later, I can only rave about the amount of leadership positions available, from president to committee chair to simply being the person to round-up everyone to paint UVA's beloved Beta Bridge. Every little bit is important.
8. Community Service
My mom taught my sister and me the importance of community service and the value of giving back to the community. It was amazing to find women who had the same beliefs, and it's always awesome to have people to volunteer with.
I often feel like this is the most overlooked aspect of being in a sorority. When you join a chapter, you receive a built-in support system. A system that will be proud of you when you excel, and one that will help you when you're down. I have gone to multiple sisters with questions about professors, classes, schedules, and pretty much anything and everything academic-related. And each one has been nothing but helpful. Another great bonus to this: built-in library buddies. Everyone needs to study at some point, and if you don't want to go to the library by yourself, there will always be at least a handful of other girls that need to study (or procrastinate) too. Because I don't go to the same university as my sister, I want for her to have the same support that I would give her, and a sorority is an amazing place to find that.
6. The Future
Because I have not graduated yet, I don't truly have the authority to explain just how important this aspect is yet. But I know that the network that comes with joining a sorority is expansive. This network provides alumnae connections and opportunities that may have otherwise been unavailable or unknown.
5. The House
I know that not all chapters have houses, and that some schools are different than UVA, but wherever the chapter gets together is seriously the place to be. I crash at our house whenever I want, whether it's napping on my big's bed or having heart-to-hearts with sisters in the upper classes. Even if her chapter doesn't have a house, there is something special about being in a room with all of your sisters, sitting shoulder to shoulder for chapter meetings and trying not to giggle during announcements. In a way, the house is a member of the chapter, and a place to find support whenever it's needed.
4. The Greek Community
One of the biggest surprises about joining a sorority, at least for me, was how big of an emphasis is placed on the Greek Community as a whole. There are always philanthropies to fill your weekends, Greek Week to look forward to every year, formals, beach week, and so much more. I think it's important to recognize that even though you may be a part of one chapter, there is a great connection with all of the Greek chapters, whether they are IFC, ISC, Multicultural Greek Council, or NPHC. Each is unique in its own way, but still a part of the larger community.
My sister and I graduated from a brand new high school. My class was the first to graduate there, and the "traditions" were shaky at best. Both of us, along with all of our classmates, learned the importance and value of traditions, and we worked to create our own new ones for generations of students after us to have. On the opposite end of the spectrum, it was amazing to see, and participate in, the long-standing traditions that I found within my chapter. Being able to be a part of that legacy has been an extraordinary gift in my life, and I know she would love that feeling too.
2. Individual Growth
While being a member of a group seems like it would be more about the collective than the individual, I have found quite the opposite to be true. Not only have I learned so much about myself in the past year, I have become more outgoing, more responsible, and more social than I thought I ever would. Being able to find other women to connect with and grow with is a beautiful thing. Because my sister and I are so close in age, we pretty much went through all the same things at the same time. I know the value of being able to have someone to call up in the middle of the night during a crisis, and now I have over a hundred girls that I can do just that with.
1. The Sisterhood
My sister and I are extremely close; we've been best friends since day one. When I joined my sorority, I was given 150 new sisters, which seemed almost strange at first. But sisterhood is so important in sororities, and it was a real game changer for me. Not only have the women in my own chapter found places in my heart, but I have met women in other chapters that I never would have before. I have found best friends who I will travel through life with. These women are genuinely caring individuals, and I absolutely can't wait for my "real" sister to have that same experience.