"You're not a sorority girl."
That's what I was told by friends, teachers, and pretty much anyone who knew me before I graduated high school. "You're rushing? I could never see you in a sorority," "You don't belong in Greek life, especially at Bama! That's not your type," and the like plagued my ears for the few months leading up to rush week.
It's discouraging to be told that I don't belong in a group, especially when it's something I had wanted to for a while. It's even more discouraging to be told this by people who are supposed to support and help me. I'd gotten to the point where anytime someone asked if I wanted to rush that I said, "Maybe, we'll see; I might try it out and drop if it's not for me." I had to downplay it so I wouldn't be continuously told that I shouldn't even try.
As much negativity as I got, I wasn't going to let any of that stop me. I'm a super ambitious person, and if I can make it to state cross country with less than two years of training, then I can rush a sorority if I please. And, anyway, I wanted to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and felt like joining a sorority would help me move towards that goal, because I wanted to be more outspoken and more involved.
And, while sororities may have their stereotypes, there's no one "type" of girl in a sorority, especially in a school as big as Bama. When Rush Week came around, I confirmed that the opinions that had flooded my ears were wrong. No one girl was your "typical sorority girl." No one in my Rho Chi group, no one who I'd spoken to in any of the houses, and no one that I have become friends with since starting this whole experience.
One of the best decisions I've made to date was pledging and becoming a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. I love it, and it's made my college experience better. While we may do some of the stereotypical sorority things, like raise money for our philanthropy and party — because a) CASA is important, and b) what college student doesn't! — we also encourage each of our members to grow as a person over their four years of college and are a massive support system for our 400-plus sisters. And, while development is our main goal, the people that I've gotten to meet because of it are pretty incredible, too.
I've made some of my best friends in the four months I've been in college because I joined. My roommate and I probably wouldn't be as close if we weren't sisters (shoutout to those 2 a.m. conversations that seem to happen more often than not), and neither would most of my other friends and I, who I probably would never have come across if not for Theta. I also wouldn't be in the best fam on the row (love ya, big and g-big!) either.
If I hadn't rushed or joined a sorority, then I don't think I would've changed for the better as much as I have during my first semester in college. In fact, my first semester would've been much, much different. I would've felt lost in the sea of 40,000 undergraduates. I would've felt overwhelmed without the scholarship advisors and affinity groups. I wouldn't be any closer in figuring out what path I want to forge for myself in the future.I'm not saying sorority life is for everyone because it's not. However, it shouldn't be someone else's decision whether or not you decide to rush and become part of one. Don't shy away from things just because that doesn't seem like you. If I had listened to what other people thought I should do and hadn't made my own decisions, then I wouldn't be myself nor would I have started to figure out what/want to do in life, and this experience has caused that idea to be more concrete in my mind.