When trying to tell my non-American friends about being in a sorority, they automatically think of the movies. The more I try explaining what it is really like, the more I realize it is actually a weird concept for those outside of American culture. My story about being in a sorority is a little different than others for many reasons.
The main reason it is different is because I went to a small, private liberal arts college in the Midwest. Our sororities and fraternities were not part of the national panhellenic. We didn’t have outrageous dues to pay every month or semester. We didn’t have to live in our sorority house. We didn’t have sisters with the same sorority at different colleges or universities.
I went through the pledging process my second semester freshman year of college. After receiving my “bid” to join, I went through a long process of meetings, learning the history of the sorority, the greek alphabet, and many other things before being able to join.
At the time it was stressful and daunting, but when it came to the time for me to take my test, it was easier than I thought. Soon, I was a fully fledged sister of a sorority and had to attend weekly meetings.
My second year of being in the sorority had a lot to do with just committee work. I helped start our “cans for canines” program where we collected refundable bottles/cans to donate the money to a local animal shelter. It had been a big success and I think they still do it now. A few of my close friends decided to pledge and join the sorority. I was also on Greek Council that year, representing my sorority and voting on greek life priorities.
My third year I was abroad, so I didn’t have any say or much of any clue of what was going on in the sorority when I was gone. It was really weird thinking about coming back the next year and not knowing many of the girls. I did, however, try to run for different leadership positions for the sorority when I was gone. I ran for president, vice president and Greek Council president. I was elected president of my sorority and I was excited.
That excitement soon faded away as I was thrown in to a bunch of drama within the first week of school. Not knowing what in the world was going on and ending up in a meeting with the greek life coordinator was a stressor I didn’t need. The drama did not end there unfortunately. I had to enact a less used part of our constitution more than once. There were girls who quit. Miscommunication within the group. Lots of things that could’ve been resolved if people just talked it out or if people came and talked with me.
I had countless nights of crying from stress and thoughts of quitting my position as president. It was so frustrating being thrown into things without ever being told what was going on. Greek Life and relationships within it were crumbling and there was little I could do. There were ups and downs from that year, but I was usually in a constant state of stress.
There has been some good to come out from the sorority. I have forged some great relationships with women in my sorority that carry on to this day. I did learn some valuable skills, especially interpersonal and conflict management. I had some fun memories throughout the years. I do not know how much longer it will continue on my alumni’s campus as I’m sure it has been rough with the pandemic.
So, that is a very small portion of my sorority story. I hope it somewhat painted a picture of sorority life.