In high school I always knew I wanted to join a sorority primarily because my mom was in one. Hearing about all the stories about how she made lifelong friends and experiences that she wouldn’t have otherwise made me realize I wanted all that too. However, I went to a small high school with 50 people in my graduating class, so the idea of participating in sorority recruitment along 1,000 other girls terrified me.
When I went through sorority recruitment the fall of my freshman year, I had no idea what to expect. I did think that joining a sorority would help me gain connections in the long run, but I also thought that I thought that joining a sorority might have negative impacts too, like making my grades fall or limiting my circle of friends. But as I began to invest more in my sorority, I began to realize that there are just a lot of misconceptions that aren’t actually true. Ahead, here’s what I’ve learned about being in a sorority.
Recruitment Can Be Trying
I went through recruitment the fall of my freshman year at TCU, primarily because my mom wanted me to. I was extremely nervous that none of the houses would like me, and that I would feel rejected. I’m not going to lie—it was difficult, and sometimes my self-esteem suffered. Every time I would not get asked back to a house I started questioning my self-worth, and I’d start comparing myself to girls who did get asked back. What I realize now is that while recruitment is tiring and difficult, everything happens for a reason. People end up in the houses their personality fits and they feel at home in, as opposed to only wanting the “top” houses.
Sororities Are a Huge Time Commitment
Once I got a bid for my sorority, I expected everything to be sunshine and rainbows. But from new member meetings followed by chapter meetings on Sundays to getting foundation hours and everything in between, I was not expecting the large time commitment that came with being in a sorority.
At first I thought it was a burden, but one of the main things I’ve learned about being in a sorority is that you get out what you put in. When I first joined my sorority, I was not involved whatsoever; I only went to events to avoid being fined. Over time, though, I began to realize that other girls who were more involved were having a much better experience than I was, and so I began to go to optional events. Through those, I started to develop more friendships and see myself as more of a leader.
It Is Possible to Have Friends Outside of Your Sorority
Before school started and after going through recruitment, I was nervous that I would only be friends with girls in my sorority. It seemed as if every sorority had an exclusive bubble that girls would be confined to. I thought that there was no way that I would be able to find a way to branch out and meet new people. However, once school actually started, I saw the depth and all the different opportunities that were available to me in order to meet new people on my campus. I became close with the girls that were living in my hall in the dorm, and I also forced myself to sit next to someone I didn’t know in every class I took. You may have to put in more of an effort to make friends outside of your sorority, but that definitely doesn’t mean it’s not possible—and it’s always worth it.
It May Take Time, But You’ll Find Your “Crew”
Having 250 girls in a sorority means being surrounded by 250 different personalities and interests. It may take some time (for me it took my entire freshman year), but you will eventually find the girls who have the same interests as you. There are so many different and unique women in sororities, so it may just take some time to find your true best friends out of the hundreds you meet.
You’ll Actually Have More Opportunities to Volunteer
I knew about the philanthropy aspect of Greek life going into recruitment, but it got thrown on the backburner for me because I mainly was interested in the social aspect. Once I became a member, I quickly realized that without philanthropy, Greek life wouldn’t exist. All of the different fraternities and sororities were founded by men and women who wanted to do good and create organizations that were for the betterment of other people.
For example, Delta Gamma’s philanthropy is “Service For Sight,” which helps to aid the visually impaired, and every semester, our chapter has each member complete a minimum number of service hours for the organization. Being a part of an organization that regularly gives back is so rewarding to me, and something that I didn’t really expect before I joined.
Your Grades May Actually Improve
I was always worried that being in a sorority would take time away from my schoolwork. However, many chapters actually require members to complete study hours and to maintain above a certain GPA to remain in good standing. Some chapters may even provide incentives for receiving A’s on tests or earning a certain GPA. For example, my chapter requires its members to have at least a 2.75 GPA and hosts a scholarship banquet each semester for members who achieve above a 3.5 GPA.
With that said, being in a sorority won’t automatically give you good grades. I struggled academically during my freshman year because the transition from high school to college was somewhat difficult for me. I was “completing” my study hours, but I wasn’t actually doing any homework or studying. I realized that my sorority was giving me all the tools I needed to succeed academically, but I wasn’t taking full advantage of them. So, I made myself a promise before my sophomore year that I would be fully invested in all that my sorority had to offer. It was because of this attitude and effort that I went from getting several C’s my freshman year to getting all A’s my sophomore year.
There Are Tons of Networking Opportunities
I never thought about the networking opportunities that become available when being a member of a sorority—but there are a ton. My chapter has a Facebook page, where collegians and even alumni post job opportunities. On top of that, you have an automatic connection with anyone you meet in the real world who has the same letters as you.
The first time this clicked for me was a random day at my job. Two women walked in, and we started chatting. It turned out that one of them shared the same letters as me. We continue talking, and she mentioned that she worked in the fashion industry in NYC—my lifelong dream—and we ended up exchanging information. From that moment on, I realized that being in a sorority can open up so many opportunities to meet and connect with amazing women who are always willing to help you however they can.
Joining a sorority is honestly the best decision that I have made so far during my time at college. Whenever I go through a challenging time, I know that my sorority sisters, even if I may not know them that well, are always eager to listen and be a strong support system. What have you learned about being in a sorority in college? Let us know in the comments below!
Opening image by Demi Balogun.