Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Just another sorority recruitment post.

"It gives your college experience a new dynamic"
"You meet tons of people who are interested in the same things you are/motivated like you are/want new opportunities like you do" 
"It will give you a home away from home"
"You'll have [insert number here] people you can call in the middle of the night"

If you've spoken to a member of a sorority about going through recruitment, you've heard these, and a dozen other reasons just like it, as to why you should join the Greek community. 
Don't get me wrong, I support and stand by these statements ten thousand percent, but there are things you learn from being in a sorority that don't double as an or TSM article. 
^^^ those may be some of the reasons that sparked my interest in Greek life, and maybe even the reasons I joined initially. 
But what really matter are the reasons I stayed: 

1. Joining a sorority made me accountable. 
After joining Kappa Delta, I was thrown into a whirlwind of social events, academic workshops, and weekly meetings. My GPA mattered to 104 people that weren't my parents or myself, and the committees I was on really needed my help. Joining a sorority is fun and games--but it isn't all fun and games. It's a commitment, and I mean that beyond the "not four years but for life" we all wear on our t-shirts. I have a GPA to maintain, a schedule I'm held to, and priorities that had to be defined--and I've benefitted from that in a dozen different ways. 

2. Joining a sorority made me step outside my comfort zone. 
One of the things we tell our new members is that "you are always wearing your letters," sure we have our own idea of when and where our letters should actually be worn, but from the second you sign your bid card, you are associating yourself with letters that will always be a part of what defines you. After joining, I was suddenly part of a group of girls who were making changes on campus, leading different clubs and organizations, and making a name for themselves--and there's always some kind of publicity focused on the Greek community. This kind of attention sometimes takes me out of my comfort zone. There have been several instances at work where I have been questioned about being a member of the Greek community, and even more in classes where comments have been made about me being in a sorority. Defending (or even discussing) my involvement is something that has taken me miles outside of what I previously deemed comfortable--but has also taught me about communicating with others. 
3. Joining a sorority taught me patience.  
Sure, joining a sorority gave me friends like me. Friends who want to be in charge of everything, don't know how to say no, friends who believe the same things I do, and friends who are just as loud as I am. But the most interesting friendships I've made are the ones who have challenged everything I thought before and broke the mold for the things I'd done previously. I'm friends with girls who were cheerleaders, and girls who played football. I'm friends with girls who love glitter more than I do [if that's even possible], and girls who wouldn't be caught dead wearing sparkles. When you join a sorority, you're thrown into a group of girls who have different majors than you, come from different backgrounds than you do, and want to end up different places than you do--but somehow you all come together under the idea that you love an organization in different ways, and that's okay. I'm not even going to try and pretend like I'm best friends with all of my sisters. Some of them drive me absolutely bonkers, but because of our mutual love and determination to further our organization, I love them, and that's taught me about patience, tolerance, and understanding like nothing has before. 

4. Joining a sorority taught me about weakness. 
Y'all know I'm loud, a little bit bossy, and thrive when I'm the center of attention. But what y'all might not know is that I actually hate emotions. I'm a huge crybaby...but there aren't a lot of people who have seen me cry. I don't like talking about my feelings, or being vulnerable, because I've always equated them with weakness. One of my best friends told me one time that "there's a difference between talking at someone and talking to them" and I'm really really bad at telling people how I feel--but I'm getting better. Spring semester was rough for a bit, and I found myself in the chapter room crying to my best friend at 1:30 in the morning. A little while later, after I thought I'd done all the crying I could do, we went upstairs, because I was determined to distract myself from the issue at hand. Y'all know how heartbreak works, and I started crying over the dumbest things, in front of sisters I never would have normally cried in front of. But rather than judging me, or telling me I was being a baby, one simply looked at me and said, "I'm not good at the emotional stuff--but I'm going to sit here until you're okay." That week/month/whatever taught me that it was okay to not be okay, but that things were going to be okay sooner or later--and that tears did not mean weakness, and saying no did not mean you failed.
I also learned very quickly that my sisters and I don't come from a cookie cutter. I don't have the same talents as them, the same experience as them, or even the same ideas as them--but that doesn't make me any less talented,  less experienced, or less smart than them.

5. Joining a sorority taught me about unconditional love. 
You've all heard about the unbreakable sisterhood bonds that come with joining a sorority--but nobody can truly explain the strength that comes with 100+ girls standing behind you. The first Monday I was a KD, I participated in a DIY fashion show on campus, and I was shocked to walk off the stage with my model and see a dozen of my new sisters in the audience; girls who had hurried over after their meetings to support me. They didn't even know me, and yet they were there cheering me on and screaming my name when my team won.
Fast forward two years, and those same girls were the ones walking with me to a party I was dreading, and they were the ones dancing with me and making sure I was okay. They were the ones making over 100 crepes for me at 1:00 in the morning because Mom's Day just had to have a crepe bar.
I'm not saying everybody's always going to be happy with you, and they're not always going to agree with your decisions. But they'll stand behind you while you do what you do, back you up when things get rough, and hold you when everything crashes and burns [and if you're lucky, they won't even say "I told you so" too many times].

I don't fit the "typical sorority girl" mold. I hate Diet Coke, I can't walk in a pair of heels to save my life, and I honestly didn't even know what Toby Keith meant when he sang about red solo cups until my third year of college. I don't get the point of monogramming all of my possessions, and [gasp!] I don't a single Alex & Ani bracelet.
Never in a million years did I see myself throwing what I know and panicking about formal dresses; moving into a house with 24 girls or obsessing over a little. But it's year three, and I don't know where I'd be without KD.
My friends would probably argue that I'd have more free time or be a little less stressed--but there's something about this little army of supportive, successful, beautiful women that keeps me hanging in there.

I joined for the promise of new opportunities, leadership experience, and dozens of friends. 
I stayed because of values I fell in love with, a support system that keeps me standing, and a couple hundred girls that inspire me daily.