It never struck me that there are other ways of experiencing sisterhood before joining a sorority. In fact, these experiences may have been so impactful, that it encourages women to continue seeking similar experiences and consider joining a sorority.
I always thought that for a woman to truly experience the feeling of sisterhood, they had to join a sorority. However, that thought changed when I met Melanie Renaud. I met Melanie a year ago when I was building my sorority connections through social media. After reaching out, she and I had a Zoom call where we talked about our sorority experiences and what inspired us to join a sorority. I loved learning about Melanie’s experience and how she was inspired to join a sorority through pageantry.
Sisterhood Through Competition
“My first pageant was when I was fifteen years old when I randomly applied on the internet. I was very shy and had no idea what I was getting into,” Melanie said. “When I competed in my first pageant, I learned so much about philanthropy, public speaking and leadership. I evolved as a person, became very close with my fellow competitors, and fell in love with the sisterhood aspect.”
“When I competed in my first pageant, I learned so much about philanthropy, public speaking and leadership. I evolved as a person, became very close with my fellow competitors, and fell in love with the sisterhood aspect.” -Melanie
Melanie explained how she continued to participate in pageantry throughout high school and college. Looking for a similar sisterhood in college, Melanie joined Delta Zeta at the University of Windsor. “Just like pageantry, I was drawn to the sisterhood and leadership aspect of the sorority. It’s like pageantry but without the competition,” she said.
It was interesting to hear about Melanie’s experience with pageantry and how it was very similar to the experience sorority women have. Like many high school and college women, Melanie was hesitant about participating in pageants. But, she took a leap of faith and registered, and she gained so many opportunities for growth and development. Many sorority women have gone through a similar experience.
Recently, Melanie participated in (and won) the Miss Galaxy Canada pageant, a popular national pageant in Canada. During the time of the pageant, Melanie met and connected with one of her competitors, Ann, who was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi. It was interesting to learn that they both took on the same leadership roles in their chapters, and had the same passion for pageantry, thus building their close bond.
“Ann and I bonded because we both signed up for this pageant and we were both presidents of our chapters. We met online before we had attended the Miss Galaxy Canada,” Melanie said. “She asked me for advice about balancing both pageantry and sorority life, and we instantly bonded from that common interest. I really felt like I knew her.”
Sisterhood in High School
The more Melanie talked about her experience with sisterhood through pageantry, the more I learned how sisterhood can be experienced anywhere and can cause young women to become interested in joining a sorority.
Like Melanie, my journey with sisterhood began when I was in high school. I was involved in sports, and I played for the girl’s lacrosse team from my sophomore year to senior year, which I find ironic because I was in my collegiate chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau from my sophomore to senior year. All my teammates supported each other through good sportsmanship, friendly competition and coaching. This allowed me to create close bonds with my teammates and truly understand the definition of empowerment and the support of other women. Yes, we competed against other schools, and against each other during practice, but the connections we made with each other were the glue that kept us together. I never felt a more warm and welcoming experience throughout high school. This experience impacted me so much that I wanted to continue it beyond high school, and I knew I would get the same opportunities to bond with other women by becoming a sorority woman.
Both Melanie and I experienced sisterhood at an early age and why we both grew an interest in sorority life. Many young women may have the same experience in high school, inspiring them to have the same empowering experience by joining a sorority. I encourage any sorority woman who knows of a young woman who has been part of a women’s group in high school to share they can have a similar impactful experience in college by joining a sorority. Or, perhaps you know someone who is looking for a group of supportive women, let them know about the lifelong opportunities the sorority experience provides to members. After all, when women come together, we can build each other up and help each other accomplish anything.