If you’ve never experienced it for yourself and all you know is what you hear in the media, then you probably don’t have a favorable outlook on Greek Life. Yes, I’ll admit there have been some pretty crazy/scary stories floating about, and I’m sure there are even more and even worse that will never be told.
What’s sad is how much these stories and perceptions take away from the numerous positive aspects about sororities and fraternities. I was never someone who had their heart set on joining a sorority. It wasn’t a big thing in my family. I never thought they were bad or anything, it just wasn’t something I was really exposed to. Fun fact: The summer after my senior year I did a local production of Legally Blonde the Musical and I was one of the Delta Nus. Foreshadowing?
Flash forward about 2 years to Fall 2014. Still reeling from the break up I was searching for something, anything that would make me feel less alone. Something that would add to my life. Lights up on the end of the semester in my English class where we all had to give presentations on our topics for our final papers. One girl from my class talked about the discourse of her sorority. I don’t really know what it was but in that moment, something just clicked and I knew that that’s what I needed in my life.
By that point I had missed Fall recruitment, so I waited, anxiously, for Spring recruitment to roll around. After about a month of being incredibly bored (aside from the yoga I had taken up), it was finally here. The invitation said to dress nicely. So I wore a nice t-shirt and cardigan and jeans and riding boots. All the freshman looked like they were going out out and I immediately felt out of place.
That immediately subsided (and I stepped up my other game for the rest of the nights!). I don’t know how much I’m allowed to share, so most of the details of any of the processes will be not be covered, out of courtesy for the sorority, and my sisters. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the wonderful girls from both possible sororities. It was crazy how many girls were feeling just like me, and if I hadn’t gone out for recruitment I never would have known.
Flash forward to Bid Day. I was waiting on pins and needles with about 50 other girls to find out which sorority we would be in. Finally, we got to open our envelopes and I was thrilled to be a potential new member for Sigma Delta Tau – Delta Theta! The cool thing was that some of the girls I had gotten to knew during recruitment would also be going with me, which made it all the better.
Long story short, I wanted SDT because it was so apparent how close they all were (also, they have their own nail polish color!). That was exactly what I had been looking for and I had finally found it. The process was long and intense, but worth every minute because now I have 75+ sisters that will always be there for me. And the best part is, I know at least a little bit about every single one of them. I went from being able to count my good friends at Pace on one hand to needing lots of hands.
So forget about all the drunken nightmare cases you read about. In case you need more convincing on why sororities are a good thing, here’s a list I’ve put together about all the great things that have happened since I made that decision. I’ve also only been an official sister for a few weeks now, so the fact that I already have all these things is amazing!
1. A diverse group of friends. Sometimes when you are only involved in activities based on your interests you loose out on meeting people with different interests who might really enrich your life. A sorority is filled with girls who come from so many different backgrounds, cultures, and interests. You learn so much from talking to them. I know I have been introduced
2. You always know someone everywhere on campus. Between the small size of my school and being in a dorm, I am always running into one or more of my sisters. This is great whether you need someone to talk to (because you’re sad or happy or excited or confused) or just to see a friendly face. Just one smile from a friendly face can seriously turn your day around. I actually even ran into a sister on the subway, which was just incredibly cool.
3. You have someone to eat with. Gone are the days where you have to sit in the cafeteria alone, or always bring food back to your room. You are bound to see at least one sister in the caf or the fishbowl (a glass room with tables at Pace) so, someone will always be around to keep you company and make sure no one creepy comes to sit next to you.
4. You have someone to just chill when you don’t want to be alone. With 75 girls to text, there is always someone to come hang out with you when your anxiety is really bad or you got some disappointing news and just really don’t want to be alone. Sisters can make all the difference between a night filled with tears and a night filled with laughter.
5. You learn how to respect everyone. It’s impossible to be BFFs with 75 girls. It’s impossible to even get along with 75 people all at once. We all have different ideals and make different life choices. We don’t have to agree with them all, but we do have to respect that our sisters are making choices that they want to. Unless it’s life-threatening, it’s not our place to judge them or anything like that. Everyone is so different, and you learn to celebrate the differences instead of let them come between you.
6. You learn how to manage time. Like I said before, the new member process is time consuming, and when you’re officially a member there are so many events to juggle. If you have a position then that’s more work, as well. Having fun and getting your work done is a delicate balance that every college student struggles with. It’s not perfect all the time, but the more you work on it, the better it gets. And then you can have great grades and great fun!
7. You make a lot of connections. One perk of being in a sorority is that there are a handful of people with the same major or similar career goals as you. More than likely, the older sisters have already had internships and know people that they can connect you with so that your future gets a jump start. They say it’s all about who you know and who you network with, and sorority is just one of those places. It’s also not a fake connection. Your sisters genuinely care about you and want you to succeed and will do anything to help you out.
8. If you’re shy, you become more outgoing. I am a very shy, quiet person. However, starting with recruitment, I’ve had to put myself out there more so than I usually am comfortable with. While I still need my time to myself, I’ve become more accustomed to social settings and have become more outgoing in general. I’ve taken a leadership position for the following semester in the sorority, and in another organization that I’m in. I speak up more in class. I even was completely forward about how I felt about a guy and asked him out. What? Who is this new Liz?
9. You gain leadership skills. As I mentioned above, there are numerous leadership positions in the sorority. From President to Sisterhood Chair, there is something for everyone. It’s a great experience to have and flexes your leadership muscles. It’s fin for natural born leaders, and a perfect way for those who are more inclined to follow to see what leading is like.
10. There are numerous opportunities to give back. Sororities are heavily involved in philanthropy and community service. It’s something we all say we wish we did more of, so being in a sorority is a fail-safe way to keep up with that. We don’t just hold bake sales either, we plan really cool events that would actually entice people to come and end up with a great amount to donate at the end of the night.
11. You get a sense of a community. Pace University does not have a great community, asked from certain majors or groups. That’s just the truth. So if you’re in a more basic major (hello Communications!) you’re bound to feel no community. A sorority is the perfect combat to that. You are automatically welcomed into a group of people that become your new community. It makes you feel much more secure at school, and in life.
12. You finally feel at home. I have always loved NYC and knew I would live here. However, the idea of home is something I’ve been struggling with for the past two years. Neither Fairport nor NYC felt completely like home. Now that I have 75 sisters, this city and this campus feel so much more like home. For the first time, I don’t want to spend the summer back in Fairport. Yes, I miss my family, my dance family, and a couple of friends from work/high school, but my life is here in the city now. There will be more on this in next week’s post, so I’ll leave it at this: Sigma Delta Tau has given me a home.
Bonus: Aside from all your sisters, you also get a perfect Big and Family Tree. I am blessed to have so much of my family line still at Pace. I love them all and I’m so glad my Big picked me to add to the family!
I can’t wait to revisit this post in 2 years when I graduate and see just how much more I can add!