When women begin attending college, many start looking for their place on campus. One way to find a supportive community is to join a sorority. Whether you are one-hundred percent in or still just testing the waters, I want to share a few things that I have learned throughout my recruitment process and my time as a collegiate.
Come in With an Open Mind
This is one of the biggest things I had to learn for myself during recruitment. When I was going through recruitment, I wanted to be called back to a specific sorority because I had a friend in that organization at a different college. The women in her sorority were so welcoming and genuine every time I was there and so I thought that was the sorority I wanted to be in. So, flash forward to recruitment season at my college. I went in hoping and praying that I would be picked by that sorority. Unfortunately (and fortunately) I was not asked back for them. But I was asked back to two chapters – my future sorority and a sorority that I had chosen to drop on the first day. But I decided to go back to the sorority I originally dropped because maybe they saw potential in me. Maybe they chose me for a reason. In the end, I made the right decision by choosing to go with Delta Gamma. The chapter, and the women in the chapter, truly are my family. But I wouldn’t have gotten there if it wasn’t for choosing to open my mind to all the possibilities.
It’s OK Not to Love Every Chapter You Go To
It’s important to go in with an open mind but it’s also important to listen to your gut on whether you feel like you fit somewhere or not. Like I said earlier, during recruitment I dropped a sorority that I knew wasn’t the right fit for me. Even though I went back when they invited me back, I knew all along that it wasn’t the one for me, in the end, I was happy that the chapter that fit me perfectly chose me the same way I chose them. If something is not the right fit that is completely fine. You don’t need to take on the time and the monetary commitment for something you don’t love 100%. Find the place you fit in, and leave the space you don’t fit in for someone else who belongs there.
It Is a Time Commitment
I’d be lying if I said joining a sorority would be easy. It’s hard and it’s a big adjustment. But, for me, it really was worth it. The biggest thing you can do to manage the balance between your chapter and your classes, and even a job if you have one (I did, and while it made it tougher, but it wasn’t completely impossible) is time management. I know, I know, that’s what everybody says. But it’s truly so helpful! Getting yourself onto a schedule will be beneficial for your mental health. You can’t forget to schedule in time for yourself to relax and de-stress because that is just as important.
You Get Out What You Put In
This brings me to this important point. In order to have a memorable experience, you have to let yourself create one. I’m not saying that you have to run for every position in the book and climb your way up to the president. Not everyone wants to run for a position, and that is perfectly fine. Your worth and value in your sorority are not defined by holding a position. What I’m saying is, if you have a chance to participate in something, then do it! Participate in other chapter’s philanthropy events with your sisters. I participated in a fraternity’s philanthropy kickball tournament with my sisters and it was so much fun and we still talk about it two years later. Go to sisterhood events, seriously go to them. The programming chairs work really hard to come up with fun ideas. Ask sisters to go get coffee with you or create study dates with them. Make yourself open and available to the opportunity to bond with your sisters. You won’t regret it. By forcing yourself to get out of your comfort zone you open yourself up to all of the benefits a sorority membership can offer you. Sororities can be more than just a footnote on your resume. They can teach you invaluable skills, give you friends for life, and leave you with memories you’ll never forget.
It’s OK to Not Be Friends With Every One of Your Sisters
Listen, with the number of young women all together constantly, you are bound to have some disagreements. That’s perfectly normal. It’s perfectly OK to bond better with some sisters than others. It’s just like out in the real world – you are not going to like everyone you come into contact with. What matters is how you handle it. It is important to be polite and graceful with everyone. If you don’t want to hang out, you don’t have to. But you cannot go around bashing the women you don’t prefer or bashing other women for being friends with them. That is not how life works. Don’t be afraid to work your issues out with your sister because you are still sisters at the end of the day and that is what is most important. If you feel that your conflicts cannot be resolved between just the two of you, reach out to a chapter advisor or another trusted resource. They are here to help you have the best experience you can possibly have.
Finding a Sorority That Fits Your Values Is a Key to Success
During my recruitment, we were asked to write down five key values that were important to us and were encouraged to talk about our values with the chapters we went to. Some of my key values were loyalty, friendship and academics. Academics was a big one for me because at the time I was just going back to school and wanted to make my time at my college the best it could be and I had goals for my schooling and my GPA. When talking to the different chapters, I reiterated how important that was for me and how I was looking for something and someone that could hold me accountable to my values. I felt that my values lined up best with Delta Gamma’s values, and I was so right. They showed me how right I was after my first semester.
During my first fall semester, I struggled a lot with school because I had been out of the routine for a chunk of time. Then, at the end of the semester, I found out that my grades and my GPA were not nearly as good as I wanted them to be. I struggled a lot with not meeting the standards I set for myself, and I’m not afraid to say during winter break because I was so unhappy with myself. The women in my chapter saw I was struggling and helped get me out of my funk and create a game plan for the spring semester where I did succeed. I only improved because I had such a strong support system that helped me achieve my goals.
If there is anything that you can take away from this article while you are going through recruitment, I hope that you remember that no matter how rocky the road is, you will find the place you were meant to be and you will feel at home. Finding women who support you and cheer you on is vital. Choose the place that you feel will push you to be your best and comfort you at your worst.