I first moved to the U.S. when I was around eight years old. I moved to a wholly different world of experiences, sounds, tastes, smells. I navigated through different cultural and language barriers. I left behind close family, friends, cousins—my entire support system. I was afraid I wouldn’t find the same meaningful connections I had in India. People that I knew I could turn to in times of need, people who would celebrate my victories with me and support me through the struggles. I longed for deeper connections that would extend beyond just fun hangouts and surface-level conversations. I remember when I first found out about sororities— friends that turn into sisters—I knew right then and there and I wanted to join a sisterhood just like that.
Researching the Experience
I went through recruitment without much help from my parents. They were supportive financially and encouraging throughout the process but it was difficult going through recruitment without any knowledge of what sorority life fully entails and what is required to have a successful recruitment. I hit the internet and sought advice from the Alumnae Panhellenic Association of my hometown and friends. They really helped guide me through this process and helped provide recommendation letters. I asked my mom to go shopping with me so I could find clothes I felt confident wearing. I did research on Panhellenic at my university and the benefits of being in a sorority beyond just sisterhood. Leadership, community service work, connections, all of that and more inspired me to go through recruitment.
When I went through recruitment, I struggled. I didn’t know many of the terms like MRABA, and I definitely didn’t know anything about how bids worked. I tried calling my mom to talk to her about my day but she couldn’t relate to the wildly new experience recruitment was for me. The other women in my recruitment group, however, could. Some of them knew about the process already, some were finding their way through it day by day like me and some were just in between. We made a little support system for ourselves and while not all of us attended up in the same sororities or had similar backgrounds going in, we still keep in touch and reminisce.
“I found friends that would celebrate my cultural diversity.”
Home at last
On initiation day, my big sister made me the most beautiful initiation basket with my favorite things. I saw a letter poking out of the basket and thought she wrote me a note. To my surprise, I opened it up to find my parents congratulating me on my initiation and telling me how proud they were of me for seeking out this experience for myself. I still have that note.
I thought my various different identities would make it hard for me to find a place where I truly connect with people on a personal level but to my surprise, I found my place where I met my sorority sisters. A place I found study buddies that kept me motivated in school. A place where I found a strong support system when college felt too demanding. I found sorority sisters that would meet up on Wednesdays for different activities such as watching the Superbowl together or who would take me grocery shopping.
I found friends that would celebrate my cultural diversity and remember to wish me and my family well during our holidays. Some even would come and join us during our celebrations. I found the sisterhood I had been longing for since I first moved to the U.S. when I found my Sigma Delta Tau sisters.