Comparison is said to be the thief of joy, and I, apparently, love to prove that true. The “college experience” tends to put heavy emphasis on the social life aspect, and FOMO in college is a major side effect, especially if you’re not joining sororities or other campus institutions built on social interaction. So, imagine me — a social anxiety-ridden, introverted homebody — trying to navigate the social ins and outs to fulfill the college experience without being too hard on myself. I quickly found that it wasn’t that simple.
As someone with two older brothers, I always craved the feeling of sisterhood. I craved the grand displays of community, or having moments where you can be women together. It’s the understanding and camaraderie that I yearned for. In college, Greek life is the pinnacle of sisterhood. Despite wanting a community, I never rushed. But that didn’t stop me from having major FOMO (fear of missing out) when all of my roommates throughout college were part of a sorority. They had the sisterhood I craved, after all. However, I learned how to overcome this feeling, and if you’re feeling this way, you can too.
I separated my life from theirs, but allowed myself to share.
In my freshman year, I roomed with a childhood friend in a dorm. We spent every waking moment together, and I was so thankful to have her there because I was a COVID high school senior who was now trying to navigate college through a mask and Zoom meetings. This isolated time we were going through together put heavy pressure on me to find my place while she found hers. She rushed in the fall and joined a sorority, and found her footing with her Greek family. Meanwhile, I let comparison get the best of me.
I never rushed because I knew it wasn’t for me. I didn’t see myself finding friends through the Panhellenic route, but I couldn’t help but feel I was missing out on something when I saw my roommate hanging out with her Big or having fun at a sorority date function. I compared my social life to hers, but that wasn’t fair to either of us.
I realized she was finding her community while I was discovering mine as well. Though I wished I could’ve been quicker to find friends like her, it was such an amazing experience getting to see a childhood friend find her place, and I knew eventually I would too. Our two lives were separate, but the beauty in roommates is having someone to be your support when you want to escape your typical circle. They are the people who you can be in a bubble with outside of sororities, classes, and school clubs. And, when they let you into their life outside of your shared space, you enjoy it.
I realized communities might be personal, but they aren’t exclusive. I got a glimpse into her sisterhood when I would go with her to her date functions or attend a party filled with her sorority sisters that treated me like an honorary member. Sharing is caring, they say. I made an effort to introduce myself and support her community while I found my own.
Community doesn’t have only one definition — so I made my own.
Good things come when you least expect it, and when I stopped trying to push the narrative that college would be the best four years of my life, I found that to be true. So, if a sorority wasn’t for me, then what was? Well, it turns out there is more than Greek life at college (who would’ve thought?).
Communities often stem from the same interests. It’s camaraderie based on shared love and common goals — and college has plenty of organizations that do that. The Her Campus Chapter network was that for me. I joined the spring of my freshman year and was a part of it until I graduated. It turned out to be the sisterhood I always yearned for.
Finding your people might seem like a scary feat, but really, you just have to be you. You can define your own community by doing what you love. I love writing, so I joined an organization that allowed me to write. And through that, I found my people and lifelong friends.
However, it’s human nature to get FOMO. In my last year of college, I had two roommates: One had been in a sorority for the majority of her time in school, and the other was going through recruitment. All the while, I was still best friends with my freshman year roommate who was thriving in her sorority. Sometimes, I felt like the odd one out.
I related to my roommate that was rushing. We both were introverted, didn’t have the easiest time in college finding our people, and were weary of Greek life. When she found the courage to rush, selfishly, I wanted her to agree with me that sorority life wasn’t for everyone. However, she committed to it and found her place in a sorority.
The truth is it isn’t for everyone, but I didn’t need my roommates to not be in a sorority to know that. What worked for them might not work for me, and that is OK. So, while my roommates flourished in their sisterhood, I grew into mine. My version of sisterhood doesn’t have to fit the definition of those around me. I realized what I craved wasn’t exactly a sorority, but rather friendship, memories, and a sense of belonging.
With the fall rush season starting, you might feel that little pest I call FOMO creeping in, but don’t let that stop you from finding your own sisterhood. You can be both a bystander and a supporter.
If the Barbie movie taught us one thing, it’s that girlhood or sisterhood doesn’t have to come in the form of grand gestures. Community is in the little moments. It’s the moments where I asked my roommates for advice on an outfit, or if they had a top I could borrow. It’s the moments when we both were cooking a meal and found ourselves talking about our favorite family meals back at home. Or the late nights when you talked about life’s mysteries for so long everything seemed funny. It’s the moments when they let me be an honorary member of their sorority life, and I showed them my community. FOMO can’t beat those moments, and realizing that is how I coped.