After all the years of hard work, late-night studying and early morning classes have finally paid off. You are officially graduated. First, let me congratulate you! This was a hard endeavor and you’ve accomplished it. I hope you really soak it in and recognize the importance of this accomplishment. Second, as a recent alumna myself, allow me to give you a little advice that I wish someone had told me.
1. Stay in contact with your sisters.
This is the biggest piece of advice I can give you. These girls have seen you at your best and your worst, and they’re the ones you’re going to want to keep around as you navigate the real world. At the beginning of the 2019 academic year, I made a commitment to myself to be better at communicating and texting with friends and it really has changed my life and my friendships. I get that trying to figure out the post-grad world is going to be tough, but having your friends there for you to talk to will make it much easier. Find time in your busy schedule for your sisters. Even if it is once a month or once every six months. Find ways to stay in touch.
2. You don’t have to get rid of all of your sorority shirts.
I know this sounds silly, but trust me- you’re going to regret giving up that sisterhood retreat shirt you wore all the time. My closet consisted almost solely of my Delta Gamma shirts, so after giving 80% of them up, I had to re-think and re-do my wardrobe. There’s nothing wrong with wearing your sentimental clothes for as long as you want after graduation. And, if you don’t want to wear them anymore, but want to keep them, think about making a blanket out of them! It can be a nice way to tie all your collegiate memories together once you don’t want to wear the shirts anymore.
3. Join an alumnae group in your area.
It all goes back to point #1- staying in contact with your sisters and your chapter. By joining an alumnae group you allow yourself to still feel like a part of your chapter, even if you’re no longer there as a collegiate.
My chapter recently celebrated our 50 year anniversary, and as a collegian, I worked with the alumnae chapter to decorate the event. It was so fun seeing the alumnae come back and act as if no time had passed. It made me realize that I want to be as involved as possible after my graduation.
Alumnae groups offer you opportunities to continue your sorority membership, meet new women in your organization and continue your personal and professional development. You can also think about getting involved with an Alumnae Panhellenic in your area. You can find a map of them here.
4. Be active in your alumnae group.
When I joined an alumnae group, I knew I wanted to be as involved as possible since I wasn’t as involved as I would have liked in college. Joining an alumnae chapter allows you to connect with new sorority women and provides additional opportunities for involvement. You can volunteer with local colligate chapters, fundraise for local organizations and hold an office role.
When I graduated in May, I saw that my sorority was looking to fill a few alumni roles. I decided to not run for a role because I wanted to allow myself a chance to get experienced at being an alumna before I took a position – which is totally fine. Allow yourself the ability to get involved, but do it at your own pace. Your sorority will always be there for you when and if you decide to get involved at a different level of involvement.
5. Keep your contact information updated. Reach out to people when you move.
Keeping your contact information updated will make it easier for your sorority to keep in contact with you and to invite you to big events or send you important information. When you move it’s always a good idea to try and reach out and see if anyone is in the same area. Starting out in a new city or state is hard, so why not make it easier on yourself by keeping connected to something you are familiar with? Plus, how cool would it be to meet someone from a different chapter and hear how different/similar their experiences were?
My biggest take away as an alumna is that involvement and all the benefits of your lifelong membership will always be there whenever you need it. Whether you’re six months out of college or 30 years out of college, your membership is lifelong and will always be there to support you if you put in the time. Don’t forget – sorority is not four years, it’s for life.