What I wished I had known before joining a sorority

My parents will argue that I always said I was going to join a sorority, but as far as I can remember, I swore in high school that Greek Life wasn’t my thing. And now? Look how much that’s changed! I’ve gone from debating and doubting Greek life to being an active member and officer to being a member of Exec. Looking back, I don’t think anything would have changed my mind or my decision to go through recruitment, but now that I’m an active member in a sorority, I do have a few things I wish I had known before I joined.

1.     You will honest-to-God meet your lifelong friends in your chapter.

Some of the girls you meet, you’ll wonder how you went 18 years without them in your life. When people say you meet your bridesmaids in your sorority, they are NOT lying. Most of my closest friends at school, if not all, are sisters in my chapter and I am so lucky to say that. These girls do everything they can to build me up and be a better person, even if that means giving me tough love and telling me what I don’t want to hear.

2.     You will not be friends with everyone.

It’s a simple fact. With a group of anywhere from 40 to 400 women in a chapter, it’s pretty impossible to be friends with everyone, and that’s TOTALLY FINE. You will still be able to find a good quality in every sister in your chapter, and love them, even if you don’t get along. Something about having the same morals and standards or values creates a special bond, even with girls who you can’t get along with. You will still admire them for something and they will still provide you with invaluable advice and experiences.

3.     You will get out of it what you put into it.

If you don’t come to events, you will feel out of the loop. If you don’t make an effort to get to know your sisters, you will feel somewhat left out.  The best way to make memories is to put in the effort to make them. Go to as many events as you can- especially sisterhood and philanthropy – not just formals and mixers! You will learn so much about the sisters in your chapter this way and the outside community!

4.     It is actually a serious financial commitment.

Depending on how much your dues are each semester, by the time you graduate, you could have spent upwards of thousands of dollars on dues alone. This is something to seriously consider before joining, which is not to discourage you from going through recruitment. There are many chapters which award scholarships and have endowments for their sisters and do everything in their power to keep sisters who are experiencing financial burdens in their chapter. However, it is important to know that it’s not just dues once you’re in the sorority. You could potentially keep it to just dues, by not wearing tons of dresses to formals, not buying any shirts, and not taking a little. However, being realistic (for a lot of sisters, but DEFINITELY NOT ALL), it’s hard to not spend money. There will be lots of opportunities for you to spend your hard earned cash in your chapter and there will times it feels hard to say no. However, no one will judge you one little bit if you choose to re-wear a dress to formal, or skip taking a little one semester, or choose to skip out on buying the apparel order for the semester. We’re all college students and we get that things add up and being a sorority can make them add up faster.

5.     T Shirts will take over your life.

That being said, if you go to a bigger school, you will basically get a free t-shirt for everything your chapter does. I’m not joking, one of my best friend’s chapter got a new house and they made shirts for everyone commemorating the house.  At our school, we probably get 3-5 free shirts a year from different events. I actually don’t have room in my closet at home or at school for all the t-shirts I have- from Relay for Life shirts, to fraternity event shirts, to our chapter specific shirts! They’re a great way to remember the events you went to and the fun times, but holy cow, do they take up a ton of room!!

6.Your sorority understands that you are a person.

Remember how I said that what you get out of your chapter is only what you put in? Okay, well remember that, but also take it with a grain of salt. You should put in an effort, but you do not have to go to every event. Being in a sorority takes a whole lot of time management – there’s at least a commitment once a week for chapter and on top of that, there’s even more events you can go to. You can say no to smaller events like optional sisterhood events or other chapters’ philanthropy events sometimes. It’s also okay to say no to hanging out with your sisters when you frankly have too much damn work to do. Your sorority wants you to succeed and they know that they are not your only or even your first priority.

A note: 

You might hear the quote “from the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it” when people talk about sororities, and yeah, it sounds cliché but daaaaang is it true! It’s so, so hard to explain other people outside of Greek Life the bonds that you make. It’s like a bond with your best friend, but sharing the same values creates this extra layer that’s so difficult to explain. Before rushing, I would never have been able to explain or understand the ways my sorority has made me grow as a human, a woman, and a sister and I can’t even try to explain the way it’s made my heart grown and soar.

I hope that for everyone thinking about rushing, this gave you some insight on what it is like to be an active member of Greek Life on a college campus. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below and ask!