Rush season is upon us once again, and as a whole new class of potential new members goes through recruitment, I can't help but be nostalgic for my undergraduate years, which were made that much richer by my membership in a Greek organization.
They tell us when we join, “From the inside looking out, you can never explain it; from the outside looking in, you can never understand it.” I found this to be very true.
When I first joined a sorority, my family and friends thought I'd been body-snatched. I was never one to get along with girls, and certainly wasn't the sort that would wear matching outfits or conform in any kind of way.
When I got to college, however, I was 17 and didn't know anyone. I was 1,200 miles away from my family, and the idea of trying something different, maybe even a joining sorority, seemed like fun. So, I signed up for rush and was lucky enough to end up in the perfect organization for me. The rest is history.
Being in a sorority absolutely changed my college experience for the better, and here are seven reasons why:
1) I finally knew what it was like to have sisters.
Growing up, I had a pretty cool little brother, but I never had any sisters. I always wondered what it would be like to have someone with whom I could stay up all night talking about boys or share clothes and makeup.
When I joined a sorority, I got 100+ sisters! I formed legitimate, lasting friendships and made memories that will last a lifetime. To this day, I continue to strengthen those relationships and get to know new women in our organization through alumni events and informal gatherings.
Sometimes, it's nice to just be one of the girls.
2) There was always something to do.
From homecoming competitions and workshops to mixers and fundraisers, there was always something to do in a sorority. Seriously, every single day my calendar was jam-packed with multiple events. Greek life always kept me busy, and I, for one, enjoyed having constant activity and variety in the day.
I can't imagine what my college experience would have been like if I had just gone to class and gone home. I shudder at the thought.
3) I learned the value of philanthropy.
I didn't even know what philanthropy was until I joined a Greek organization. If you had mentioned it to me in high school, I might have thought it was some kind of disease.
Turns out, it's not a disease, but it is contagious. Philanthropy is the act of supporting a good cause, particularly by raising money. In my four years of college, I saw hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by Greek organizations for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, American Cancer Society, Alzheimer's Association, children's hospitals and many more worthy causes.
Going Greek fosters civic awareness, something you won't even know you're missing until you find it.
4) I gained invaluable mentorship.
Right from the start, there were women in my organization who I looked up to and who took an interest my future. Those women helped me transform from the new kid on the block to an established, confident collegiate.
They supported me in all my endeavors, from sign-making at 3 am when I was running for student government to applying for law school.
Our alumni server is still one of the first resources I use if I need any help with the job hunt or am looking for a particular service. I have a network of sisters older and wiser than me always willing to help me out, and in return, I pay that forward by helping the younger generations.
It's a wonderful support system, and I am so grateful for all the times they have come to my rescue.
5) The parties were legend ... wait for it ... dary.
I know, you're rolling your eyes and thinking, “typical sorority girl.” But if your college experience didn't include toga parties, foam parties and “save a horse, ride a pike” theme parties, then I just feel sorry for you.
I'm a young professional now, and every day it is painfully clear that I am expected to make serious and wise decisions from here on out. I'm just thankful I got those four glorious years to let loose and have fun in college -- animal-house-style.
6) Greek life made a big school feel smaller and more manageable.
I went to a university with 38,000+ students. I hadn't grown up in the area and didn't know a soul when I arrived. This could have easily been traumatic, but instead, going Greek helped me turn an unfamiliar setting into a home for a period of time.
I could walk into our school's main building and see countless familiar faces, many of whom I'd just been with in one of the aforementioned countless events just hours before. I never felt lonely or out of place.
I know people say that when you go Greek, you pay for friends, but I think what you really pay for is the ability to join a closed community of like-minded people, the benefits of which most others only realize later in life when they start to join professional organizations.
7) It's a lifelong commitment.
As with anything in life, you get out of going Greek what you put into it. If you devote time and energy into your organization, chances are you'll continue to be involved after graduation and retain the friendships you made in college.
Your commitment is for a lifetime, and it can be rewarding for just as long, provided you're willing to put in some effort in return.
These are just some of the highlights of what being in a sorority offered me. If you're thinking about joining, go through recruitment and see what Greek life is all about at your school.
If you find somewhere you feel comfortable, stick it out through the new member period to see if it's something you enjoy. You might be surprised to find you're actually a sorority girl at heart, and proud of it!
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