Growing up and choosing colleges was an extremely stressful time for someone who fears making decisions. Did I want a big or small school? One with a football team or without? North or South? Country or City?
I spent hours pouring over pros and cons lists, but one of the biggest question marksman my mind was Greek life.
I never grew up dreaming of what sorority I would be in. I didn’t think I would fit in – that I was too weird or too awkward or too shy. I had a lot of self-doubt and anxiety about fitting in after the debacle that was high school (but more on that another time).
My freshman year of college, I was often so lonely I would cry myself to sleep while my roommate made friends with others on our floor and in her classes. I felt like a failure, and before Thanksgiving break, I was ready to leave.
I went to Sorority Info Night on a whim. I was curious about the big greek life experience and whether or not it was how it was portrayed on shows like Greek and movies like Animal House. I watched the recruitment leaders (Rho Gammas at my University) talk about how being greek changed their college experience and gave them lifelong friends. After a heartbreaking 6 weeks of feeling isolated, friends sounded like a godsend. I signed up for formal recruitment that night.
The weekend of recruitment rolled around in early October of my freshman year. I talked to so many women who were kind and welcoming, and we were guided from house to house like a pack of excited (and very cold) sheep. We went over “name, hometown, major” so many times that first night. A record on repeat.
The next day, our list narrowed to our top choices. We got to know the women better. We learned about their sisterhood and their philanthropy. We heard stories about how their chapter had shaped them.
On Bid Day, we sat on bid cards for an excruciating amount of time. I scoped out the nervous faces around me. I knew a few women from my floor, who looked just as nervous as I felt, and we shot reassuring glances at each other from across the rows of the old chapel where bid day was held.
Opening my bid card felt like turning to a new page in the storybook of my life so far. I was wanted. I was part of something. At the bid day party, a sister who I later got to know told me how happy she was I was here. I wanted to cry out of the pure ‘home’ feeling I felt, after months of feeling alone.
College changed instantly for me after bid night. I went to every sisterhood event we had as a new member, from apple picking to crafting. I was happy. I was making friends and I was included. I felt worthy.
My ‘big sister’ – whom I still talk to four years on, became my confidant and my guide. She was there for me to complain about classes, and I was there to sit on her bed and watch friends while she applied to grad school.
Over the years, I have realized how many gifts my chapter has given me. I made friendships I never thought were possible. I’ve laughed until I cried, and cried until I laughed. I tried things I was always too afraid to do. I finally started living and enjoying college.
I was treated with respect, and love and kindness from the day I joined. I stayed through the years, and now, as a senior, I am so grateful I did. I have watched members flourish and grow. I’ve cried when friends graduated and cried when new members came home. It’s an experience I can’t compare to anything else.
If this post finds you considering going Greek, try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to stay. I know for me, though, it was the best decision I made in my four years.
This post is dedicated to my intelligent, kind, hardworking sisters. Thank you and I appreciate you.
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