What I Got Out of My Sorority

What I Got Out of My Sorority

My chapter has given me so much more than just a home away from home at Ohio State. It has given me a family away from my "real" family
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During formal recruitment, a lot of new members asked me what Gamma Phi has meant to be in the year I've been a part of it. At the time, I struggled to find the words, feeling tears well up in the back of my eyes, as I give the lame response of "Gamma Phi has given me so much love and happiness over the past year." In the time since recruitment has ended and we've welcomed so many incredible new members into our chapter, I've begun to find the words I wish I could have shared with the new members during recruitment.

I knew two things for sure when I started my freshman year: I wasn't going to be the girl that was in a relationship all through college, and Greek life wasn't for me. Those two things were both proved wrong by November, and they ended up being two of the best decisions I ever made.

Formal recruitment was hell. First of all, who does recruitment in January??? I have a lot of cute clothes for FALL recruitment, not this "it's negative 10 degrees with freezing rain, good luck trying to find an outfit that is both snappy casual and warm!" weather. Also, what is snappy casual? Regardless, with the weather and the long walks in heels, recruitment was emotionally draining. I went through recruitment because my roommate didn't want to do it alone, and I thought I had nothing to lose. I was an awkward, uncomfortable and self-conscious 18-year-old who had literally no knowledge of Greek life other than overdone stereotypes. You can imagine how the system ripped me to pieces from day one, but overall, I went into preference round loving the choices I had.

I can bring myself back to bid day in a heartbeat - squirming in my chair, holding my bid in my hand, desperate to open it, nervously texting all my friends about where they thought they ended up. Kim Kardashian ugly crying when I ripped it open, the words "Gamma Phi Beta" written in huge letters across it. Running to our house, I wrapped my arms around my best friend (who had by some stroke of fate, ended up in the same house as me). I can put myself back to dancing on the furniture in the MY new house, ignoring the freezing rain outside, and meeting what felt like a thousand people who were my sisters now. I can remember it all like it was yesterday, and I would do anything to relive those memories again. I finally felt at home at Ohio State.

My chapter has given me so much more than just a home away from home at Ohio State. It has given me a family away from my "real" family - my big is always there for me when I need her, getting dinner and laying on her couch and complaining. I have learned so much from her, and I strive to be more like her with each day - confident, optimistic and driven. My twin is my other half, the person I go to for everything, good and bad. She is the person I always wish I could be - outspoken, smart as a whip, more loyal than any family pet. I took a little this spring, and she truly is like a little sister to me. I want so desperately to show my little the loving family she has joined, and for her to know that I'm always there for her (as is the rest of her kind of crazy family). I want so desperately for her to have the same experience in this chapter as I have, to love this group of 207 women as much as I have.

My chapter has given me so much more than sisters. It has given me a group of strong, passionate, and confident women who strive to surround themselves with other strong, passionate and confident women. When I joined my chapter, I was quiet, shy, anxious about even thinking of talking to someone I didn't know. The women of this chapter have nudged in all the right ways and taken me under their wing; the me of last year wouldn't recognize the me now. I am so much more confident (there's still some work to do, but no sorority is claiming to be performing miracles), and I am self-assured. I even have a leadership position, something I would have never imagined a year ago. I get emotional when I think of how much this chapter has helped me to grow, to become the type of woman I could only dream of.

More than anything else, my chapter has given me so much more than life long friends. This fall semester, I was having a really hard time. I was desperately homesick, battling health issues, and generally not doing great. My sisters would text me every day to make sure I was feeling alright, check in continually, help me with my school work that I was perpetually falling behind in, and laying in bed with me, watching Netflix and crying. Without the love and support of my sisters, I would have transferred home to be closer to my mom and given up on my dream school. Without my sisters, I wouldn't be where I am today, not quite thriving but certainly surviving.

I truly believe that everyone can find their home in Greek life, and I hope that everyone who does can get everything I got out of my chapter.

Cover Image Credit: Kate Marlette

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Hating On Greek Life Isn't A Personality Trait, Get Over Yourself

Congratulations, you don't like Greek Life...now what?

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I was doing my usual scrolling through Twitter recently, and I found a tweet that seemed to be making fun of a set of photos. In hopes of discovering some classic Twitter humor, I decided to engage further. The tweet referenced a photo series that a group of sorority girls created, where they attempted to defy the stereotypes of sorority girls in America with statements like: "Society says sorority girls are rich and spoiled, but I pay for my dues and tuition," or "Society says sorority girls buy their friends, but you can't put a price on sisterhood." The photo series itself is sweet – it has a message of inclusivity and positivity. Yet, the responses to this photo series were anything but that.

One Twitter user responded stating that the photo series was "pathetic" because, "Some of us are actually from diverse backgrounds, immigrant families, low-income households, etc."

Another Twitter user mentioned, "I saw some s*** like this on my Facebook literally a week ago lmao why do they wanna be oppressed so bad."

It is absolutely no secret that Greek life has a bad reputation. Popular movies like "Neighbors" paint members of Greek life as shallow, rich, and incompetent for the purpose of shock value and humor. Although this image was manufactured for the purpose of entertainment, the idea has seeped into the mindset of society to ultimately promote an extreme overgeneralization of an opportunity in college that is anything but harmful.

Many of the responses to the original tweet seemed to stem from the assumption that being an intelligent and reasonable student and being a part of Greek Life are mutually exclusive. This concept is extremely hypocritical. The human identity is multifaceted and contextual. Every person engages and utilizes their intelligence in different ways depending on what the context requires, and to reason that members of Greek Life are not privy to this exact ability simply because of their affiliation is absurd.

Furthermore, users who claimed that Greek life lacks "diverse backgrounds" or "immigrant families" are only reinforcing this stereotype. Although I'd like to first state that I believe that Greek life absolutely does harness a fair amount of diversity, I think making this type of argument would be stale. Instead, I believe that restating stereotypes such as the above only isolates those from diverse backgrounds who may want to join Greek life, because they worry they will be cornered or ridiculed by their peers.

If you believe that Greek life is exclusive, my first recommendation would be for you to challenge that exclusivity by joining and breaking the barriers and proving Greek life wrong. But if we as a society continue to paint Greek life as this "whitewashed" organization and then ridicule any person of color who may be interested in joining, we are simply generating redundancy and contributing to the perceived issue.

In response to ideas of oppression, I agree with the statement that members of Greek life are by no means oppressed. There are minority groups who face genuine and violent oppression, and to use a word as strong as that to describe Greek life demeans those who endure a genuine struggle. However, I would argue that members of Greek life are unfairly stereotyped against, which is only highlighted by the backlash this photo series received. A photo series that had no purpose beyond defying stereotypes and promoting a well-rounded understanding gathered sarcastic feedback such as "sorority girls are braver than US Marines." Yet, all this negative feedback manifested in response to a photo series that had no intention of marginalizing or ridiculing those who were not a part of Greek life.

Instead, Twitter users took it upon themselves to assume the worst of Greek life.

I'm not saying that everyone needs to go rush to their nearest flower shop and send a sorority a beautiful bouquet of flowers begging for an apology. In fact, I couldn't care less if you like Greek life or not after this. What I am saying is that isolating and marginalizing members of Greek life because you believe that they unfairly prejudice those from diverse backgrounds is a problem. If you believe that joining an organization that promotes positivity, philanthropy, and mentorship isn't for you, that is absolutely ok. It isn't for everyone, and that's not a trait exclusive to membership in Greek life by any means. It is worthy to note, though, that making fun of sororities or fraternities for unreasonable assumptions you maintain makes you no better than what you perceive Greek life to be, and that is something to absolutely be mindful of.

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