Let's get one thing straight: I never, EVER pictured myself to be the sorority girl type. It's unavoidable that the first thing that comes to mind when people hear that you're in a sorority is that you're some annoying white girl who parties too much and talks shit behind all of her friends. I never considered myself that girl and never wanted to be that girl. Coming into college I basically vowed that I wouldn't join a sorority because I refused to be that girl. Months later, I'm officially that girl.
But, "those" girls, the ones who join a sorority, are nothing like I thought. Maybe it's just a University of Richmond thing because I am sure that the description I wrote above does define a lot of sororities throughout the country; but here, that is very much not the case.
In September, I ran and was elected as the freshman Class President and joined the Westhampton College Government Association body (that's the name of the women's student government at my school; there are two bodies, one for men and one for women). It quickly became one of the few things I thoroughly enjoyed here at Richmond. I met so many amazing people who were just as passionate about things as I was.
It was through WCGA that I met so many different women in sororities. This was when my perception of Greek life changed dramatically. Some of the coolest people I met were wicked (go Boston!) involved in Greek life and talked so fondly about their experiences. I figured, if they were in a sorority and loved it, I probably would too. They were smart, happy, fun, kind--and totally diverse in their interests. I made the decision to at least check everything out for myself knowing that there were really cool people in sororities here.
But I definitely was not sold on the whole "sisterhood" thing. To be totally honest, I still don't think I am. Yet, the beauty of joining a sorority here is that it truly is what you make of it (unlike some other places where it's do or die). Some girls talk about their devotion to their "sisters" and how everyone really is considered their family... that part has still been hard to swallow because from the outside looking in, it does look like that stereotypical "fake" love. I am also still a pledge for Tri Delta so I am not fully initiated but I have definitely felt the impact of the sisterhood that they talk about. And within our small school, each sorority really does have their own identity. By joining and mutually selecting Tri Delta, I immediately have something in common with the rest of my pledge class and the rest of my sorority. Underneath everything there is that baseline connection.
And if there's anything you'll learn from reading my posts it's that I had a lonely first semester. I was the epitome of rock bottom, mentally and emotionally. I felt like I didn't meet ANYONE and was so behind in the friend-making game. I needed some extra push to meet people because I am a very outgoing person, so it shouldn't have been hard. Then I joined Tri Delta and I had nearly 100 people begging to be my friend. And, they were all driven and outgoing people as well. Bid day (when I received my bid from Tri Delta after choosing them as my top pick the night before) was a whirlwind of emotions; but mostly I just felt like I had finally found my people. Any shred of confidence that I had lost in the past couple of months returned and it restored my faith in the fact that I can connect with people. Another plus about joining a sorority is that it's a lifelong connection... these women are here to support you from across the world until we are old and gray. This can be intimidating but like I said before--it truly is what you make of it.
I am well aware that joining a sorority is not for everyone. It depends where you go to school, who you want to surround yourself with, what you want from your college experience... there are a million reasons to join or to not join. It's also a LOT of girl flirting. I'm not gonna deny that. But it was exactly what I needed to get my ass out of my dorm and meet people. It forced me to not feel sorry for myself for not having a group of close friends here at college and go out and do something about it.
I left bid day feeling so grateful I decided to put myself out there and do it. Recruitment is a long process of meeting a lot of people, it's exhausting and scary because there is always the chance that you see something amazing in a sorority but they don't feel like you're a good fit--or vice versa. But here I am, weeks later, and feeling like I'm on top of the world. I don't want to over exaggerate because joining a sorority hasn't MADE my college experience nor do I want it to. It is simply enhancing it and that is all I wanted from joining Greek life; because, I am at U of R for much more than just being a part of an amazing group of women. It really just depends on what you want to get out of joining a sorority, but I have so many other things I want to do. But now, I get to do everything I want AND have these amazing connections with incredible people. I still leave every event I go to feeling grateful and elated to have found one of my many places on campus.
Joining a sorority may not be exactly what you see in the movies with girls who would die for each other just because they're bound by some random Greek letters; but, it gives you the resources to be the best person you can. Whether that be by meeting your best friends, by supporting others and having others support you, or getting involved with amazing philanthropies... you have boundless opportunities to make the most of your college experience. And this is a foundation that sororities build upon for the rest of your life.
Yesterday I officially found out who my sponsor is (we call them our "big's" for "big sisters"). She's incredible and I am a whole new type of grateful. Last semester I couldn't imagine having someone that I could go to with anything. I felt so confined to my own mind, my own room, and my own life. Now, as I have been doing a lot of work on myself and am slowly feeling better and better, I know I'm strong on my own. But, I don't have to be. I have Avery and my family and my entire sorority to lean on. And having that is one of the most comforting things I could ever imagine.
۞ ally ۞