Moving away from home can be a difficult transition. If you live on campus making friends in your dorm is a good start, but building friendships can take time. It’s hard to know who you can trust, who you can count on and who has your back when you haven’t found your people yet. But, like millions of other women, I found that community by joining a sorority, and you can too.
My college had three Panhellenic sororities on campus when I was a student there. Each fall, the sororities would hang out in the quad handing out flyers and talking about sisterhood. They would host events together so you could meet many of different women and figure out which organization had the sisterhood you were looking for. But, how do you make true and lasting friendships in a new environment in a short amount of time? It all boils down to sisterhood.
Growing Lasting Relationships
Sisterhood was something I always longed for growing up with an older brother. But, I never thought I would find that sisterhood in a sorority. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical to join a sorority at first, but then I realized these organizations stand for women’s empowerment, emphasize study skills and definitely know how to have fun.
Sororities provide the opportunity to interact with women from all majors, grade levels, socio-economic statuses and racial backgrounds. You are able to challenge the way you view the word and connect with members as you all grow and learn together. Through programs and workshops, you begin to connect with your sisters and create sense of community that bonds you together.
At the same time, sororities encourage philanthropy and service. Members fundraise and volunteer for nonprofit organizations and in their community. Having the opportunity to bring up an idea for a fundraiser for an organization you are particularly passionate for helps your sisters to truly understand you as a person, your background and what motivates you.
Sororities also provide specific times for members to connect with one another and build relationships. My sorority went on a retreat at least once a year. We rented a cabin in the mountains for a few days and did things you often think of doing with family – talking, hanging out and making meals together.
These shared connections helped us grow closer together and build a strong sisterhood. You share who you are as a person with these strangers and they do the same. Soon, they aren’t strangers anymore. They are the women who are vulnerable with you and support you. They are the women who celebrate with you when you land your dream internship because they know how hard you’ve worked to get there. They are the women who cheer for you on graduation day because they know you’re the first person in your family to graduate and how big of a deal that is for you. By opening up and sharing yourself with your sorority sisters, you are forming the bonds of sisterhood. A sisterhood that will last your whole life.
“I have to admit I was a bit skeptical to join a sorority at first, but then I came to realize these organizations stand for women’s empowerment, emphasize study skills and getting good grades and definitely know how to have fun.”
Obviously in a sorority chapter you won’t be best friends with every one of your sisters. Just like fights with real siblings, you will probably have disagreements with some of your sorority sisters. This, however, is a great way to work on your interpersonal communication skills, expand your capacity for empathy and start to see things from a perspective that may be completely different from your own. Because you will still see this sister, you have to maturely work through the conflict (sometimes with the help of a neutral third sorority sister). Sisterhood challenges you and helps you grow as a woman.
For me, joining a sorority was the smartest thing I ever did. It made it seem as if I was surrounded by family throughout my college experience. Through thick and thin, these are the women who will stand by your side because you are bonded through your shared experiences. Sisterhood helped me through some hard times in college and the support I feel has followed me now that I am an alumna.
To this day, I know that I have an incredible group of strong, independent women around the world who have my back (even if we have never met in person). We have a Facebook page for alumnae where we can connect with others in similar professions or in the same geographic region to get career advice, or just be friends and support each other as sisters. Joining a sisterhood isn’t just for your collegiate years, but truly is for life.