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5 Sorority-Girl Problems & How to Solve Them

Those of us entrenched in the Twitterverse have all encountered the ubiquitous #sororitygirlproblems hashtag at one point or another. They’re funny, sure, and often painfully true, but not every sorority girl has nothing to worry about but purse maintenance and hangover cures. Membership in a sorority has tons of benefits, but it can also bring a bunch of new challenges—both for new members and seasoned sisters. HC scrolls past Twitter and into the minds of real sorority girls across the country to find out what’s REALLY bugging them.

You can’t keep your grades up

You may be alpha sister, attending every possible sorority meeting, party, and philanthropy event, but can you juggle it all? For many sorority girls, the craziness of Greek life becomes so all-consuming that it eats away at the most important part of college—the actual SCHOOL part (I know, right, we all forget that’s why we’re here).  Katie, a collegiette at the University of Maryland, had trouble managing pledging duties and a full course load when she joined a sorority her freshman year. “We had pledge meetings twice a week, tons of mixers and parties, and weekly philanthropy events…I had no time to study! At the beginning of the semester I was feeling really overwhelmed.” She saw her grades starting to drop, and knew she had to make a change. “I dropped a class I was really struggling in, started going to office hours for my other classes to catch up, and I told our pledge mom I couldn’t come to every philanthropy event anymore. I also started going to the mixers only twice a week…it made a HUGE difference in my studying time!”

Sam, a student at Cornell University, didn’t have a problem managing sorority life and academics—until she became president of her sorority. “I was running the whole sorority, singing in an a cappella group, taking a full course load, writing for a school publication…it just became way too much.” As president, Sam had to make her sorority one of her first priorities—so she scaled down on the rest. “I budgeted my time, took less credits that semester, and scaled back my writing, so I could dedicate as much time as possible to my house—it was definitely worth it!”

If you feel like your sorority is interfering with your academics, talk to your sisters—they can be surprisingly helpful. Some sororities have “scholarship big sisters”, older sisters in your major or school who can help you manage school and Greek life, and some others keep old notes and books in their houses, so you have a treasure trove of resources when finals time rolls around. At your next chapter meeting, stand up and ask what scholarship resources are available to sisters. If there are none, suggest that everyone write down their majors so girls in the same major can get together and talk about what classes to take. You could also arrange to have fixed sister-studying hours at the library, if you don’t already. It’s a great way to combine study time and a sisterhood event. And ask your big sister if she knows any older girls who are studying the same subjects you are—they may have old notes, and they will at least have lots of advice on how to prioritize class and sororities, and on what classes to take in the future if you’re feeling overwhelmed. And don’t forget to talk to your advisor or professors if you’re having trouble keeping up—they’re there to help you stay afloat!

You’re having trouble making new friends

From the outside, a sorority may seem like an instant network of new friends, no effort needed. But in many cases, making friends in your sorority may not be as easy as it seems. While the whole point of rush is to find the best sorority for you and you only, many groups of friends join a sorority together, forming a pledge class full of pre-determined cliques and making it really hard for a new girl to break in.  Ali*, a collegiette at Syracuse University, felt like the odd girl out when she first started pledging. “I was really nervous and had a difficult time making friends, because it seemed like everyone else already knew each other except for me,” she said. “The first few weeks of pledging I felt like I was constantly on the outside of a circle of girls and didn’t have a group of my own.”

How did she break her way in? By finding other outsiders! “I stopped trying to make friends with girls in cliques and found some girls who hadn’t joined with their friends,” she said. “We ended up forming our own group, and eventually we became a lot closer with the rest of our pledge class.” 

Marin, a student at Cornell University, found that living in a sorority house really changed the cliquey composition of her pledge class. “At first our pledge class was totally split up into cliques, but living in the house for a year really brought us all together. We ate dinner together every night, went out together all the time…little by little the cliques broke up and by the summer we were all friends!”

If you feel like it is tough to get to know your new sisters, talk to your new member educator about arranging bonding activities for your pledge class. This could be bowling, make-your-own sundaes (hey, they’re still fun after third grade), or even a giant game of Mafia. My pledge sisters and I spent a night sitting in a room together, in a circle, and passing a candle around as each person told the group something they’d never told anyone before—it was amazing how close it brought us together.

And don’t forget—your sorority has members from all four years of college, and you don’t just have to be besties with your pledge class. While it’s a good idea to try and make friends in your grades, it’s just as important to reach out to older or younger sisters—in fact, they can lead to a whole new social network you’ve never met before!

Your old friends are slipping away

For some of us, the problem isn’t making new friends in our sororities but hanging on to our old ones once we’ve joined a house. With a packed social schedule and tons of sorority responsibilities, it’s almost impossible to make time for our first-semester friends—especially if they have their own sisterhood stuff to manage. Alex, a collegiette at the University of Michigan, pledged a sorority during the spring of Freshman Year, and so did all her best friends from first semester—but not the same sorority. “We all joined different houses,” she explains. “It became really really hard to go out together, because we’d always have to go to mixers with our sororities, and we’re too young to go to bars.” So how’d she make time for her old friends while she bonded with her new sisters? “We made a weekly dinner date—every Wednesday—and stuck to it. Plus, we agreed to only go out with each other every Thursday and not with our sorority sisters, so we could still have fun together every week!”

It can be even more difficult when our best friends don’t join a sorority. While you used to spend every moment together, all of the sudden you’re on completely different schedules—while she’s studying in the library, you’re at pledge class, or while she’s hitting local house parties you’re at a sisterhood event. When you’re not on the same wavelength, it can mess up your relationship big-time. Jen*, a student at Cornell, joined a sorority while her best friend and roommate did not. “It really put a strain on the relationship—I started to feel like she thought I had become stuck-up since I joined a house. She never wanted to hang out anymore and avoided the room as much as possible. She never wanted to hear about my life in the sorority and we were talking less and less as the semester went on.”

So how did she fix it? “I confronted her,” she said. “She admitted that she felt like we were growing apart, but she wasn’t mad at me for being in a sorority—in fact, she thought I didn’t want to hang out with HER. We made an effort to eat at the dining hall together most nights and I invited her to my sorority parties whenever I could. Our relationship was never quite as strong as it was at first, but we’re still friends today.”

Try sitting down with your friend and telling her directly that you think you’re drifting apart. If she gets defensive, or things still seem strained between you, make a concerted effort to see her a few times a week. Text her just to say hi, invite her to meet you out at parties, and make a weekly dining hall date. Don’t ever ditch if you can help it—not seeing each other every day and night makes it harder to keep up your old levels of friendship, but even just a little bit of dedication on your part will show her you still care, and if you never fall out of touch your friendship will keep going past your first sorority-soaked semester.

You’re partying a little too hard

Joining a sorority opens up all kinds of opportunities for partying—for some, maybe too many. Where before you may only have gone out on Fridays and Saturdays, you’ll find after Bid Night that you could have three, four, even five mixers a week, and at first you’re going to want to go to all of them. Sara*, a student at Penn State, explains the appeal: “When you’re first meeting a new group of girls, you feel like you can’t miss any parties or else it will be harder to become close with them.”

But for Sara, the constant partying became too much to handle. “I just could not manage going out four or five times a week,” she said. “I was always hungover in class, I felt sick all the time, I didn’t have time to do my homework. And I started to feel like I wasn’t making real friendships with the girls, because our only time together was when we were drunk at parties. I started getting really worried that being in a sorority would be nothing but drinking all the time.”

Though the mixer schedule at the beginning of the semester seems crazy, it calms down a lot eventually. “We started going out less once we made better friends with each other—two or three times a week, tops,” Sara said. “And once we became good friends I was more comfortable inviting them to do sober stuff like go to movies, out to dinner, etc.” If your party schedule is getting too crazy, slash one night of going out a week and plan a sober event with your friends. Have a 90’s-movie marathon, organize a Spit tournament, make crazy internet videos of Miley Cyrus songs.  You’d be surprised at how many other ways there are to have fun!

 You have so many sisters, but don’t know who to confide in 

If you ever feel like your social life is starting to take over, reach out for help. Talk to your school’s psychological services—many schools offer free counseling or alcohol/drug abuse consultations. If you’re intimidated, try finding out if your school has a peer counseling service—most do. You can call in and talk about what’s on your mind totally anonymously, to a fellow student who gets what you’re going through. And don’t forget to talk to family and friends if you’re feeling lost. Last semester a friend of mine confessed to feeling like she was partying a little too much at school, and she was surprised to find how many girls spoke up to say they felt the same way and wanted to cut down. No matter how much fun a sister may appear to have on the outside, she may be just as freaked out by the party scene as you are.  Ask older sisters, too, how they manage a crazy party schedule—as girls who’ve gone through it before, they’ve learned firsthand how to balance work and play.


No matter what #sororitygirlproblems says, we CAN have it all—if we work at managing our time and relationships, soon our biggest sorority girl problems may really be runny mascara and a broken elliptical machine.

Amanda First is a senior English major at Cornell University.  She is Life Editor of Her Campus, as well as founding editor of Her Campus Cornell. She has interned for Cornell Alumni Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and Parents through ASME's internship program.  Some of her favorite things include high heels, browsing ShopBop, yoga, The O.C. reruns (but only before Marissa dies), and Tasti D-Lite. After college, she hopes to pursue a career in magazine journalism.