As I'm writing this article, it's recruitment season for sororities here at Penn State. During this whole process, I've been reflecting on my time thus far in Greek Life. I can confidently say that this week has made me a tiny bit - okay, more than a tiny bit - nostalgic.
I wouldn't trade my sorority for the world, but I will start by saying that I was that girl who signed up for recruitment at the very last minute.
Neither of my parents were part of Greek Life during their time at Penn State, and I have no older siblings. So, I didn't have many people to turn to for advice. To rush or not to rush? I contemplated it for so long.
For me, the hardest part about coming to college was leaving my best friends. I'd also have to make new friends - I hadn't done this since middle school so you can imagine my anxiety level. Wondering how I would do this, I took a leap of faith, and decided to rush.
Like I mentioned, I rushed because I wanted to find those go-to people: girls who would be there for me when I got homesick, girls who would give me boy advice, girls who would help me study for big exams, and girls who would answer the phone at 2 a.m. when I needed someone. Spoiler alert: I found all of that.
But I found more than wonderful friendships when I joined a sisterhood. I was also given unbelievable leadership opportunities, many service opportunities, and developed a better sense of self.
I'm cringing at how cheesy that all sounds, but it's true. I've always been a little bit more of an introvert - and a little bit more of a follower, rather than a leader - but my sorority taught me how to step out of my comfort zone. This year, I represented the sophomore pledge class on the Nominations Committee for our new Executive Board, which allowed me to sit in on all interviews and help out with the election process. I also got the position of assistant Vice President of New Member Education, which will allow me to help guide and educate the new pledge class.
In terms of service opportunities, I complete a certain number of service hours here at school each semester. In addition to that, I got the chance to go on a week-long service trip to New Orleans this past summer to help the community affected by Hurricane Katrina.
I know I'm only 20 years old, but I've learned more about myself this past year than ever before. I've learned what it means to put others before myself most of the time, but not all of the time. I've learned how to better manage my time, due to all the events, service opportunities, and meetings I have to attend. I've learned so much from Greek Life, and I'm so thankful that I get to carry all of it into life outside of my sorority.
It's not easy to remember to pay monthly dues, or come up with the money in the first place. It's not easy to ignore the stigma that typically accompanies Greek Life. It's not easy to attain service hours, or make it to certain meetings after a long day of classes. But I've stayed because my sorority has truly given me so much; the least I can do is keep my promise and remain a loyal sister.