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Cassie Howard / Her Campus

It’s Women’s History Month and I am currently reflecting on the moments, people, and places that have shaped me into becoming the woman that I am today. Accepting all parts of me, my femininity included, has not been an easy journey, and it has all been a part of the process of growing up and coming into my own in adulthood.

I think one of the most important decisions I made that affected my “womanhood” - I don’t really like the word, there’s a certain ring to it that bothers me - was most certainly joining a sorority when I came to college. Today, I want to look back on my time in a sorority in university, how it affected my outlook on not just sorority women but women as a whole, and how the experience has shaped me going forward in the future.

To start, I don’t think I am exactly a typical “sorority girl.” I certainly wasn’t when I first started my Greek Life experience. I consider myself incredibly introverted, nerdy, and a little dumpy on the outside; not to mention anxious and depressed to boot. I didn’t even think about joining a sorority until the spring of my sophomore year, halfway through my college career. Up until that point, I had personally defined myself as a social outcast and didn’t have that many friends. I wanted to try something new and put myself out there to see what I would find.

[bf_image id="wrxgfrgv6rmk7m5mgjbjkpw"] Joining Phi Mu was not what I had expected at all. They were one of the smaller Greek organizations for women on campus, and immediately that appealed to me. I had learned all of my potential sisters' names easily within a month and found that I had at least one thing in common with every single one of them. What surprised me the most was how normal all these women were. They weren’t stick-thin, perfectly beautiful Greek goddesses that the media always projects sorority women as - although I think that all of my Phi Mu sisters are inherently gorgeous. They looked like real people, someone I would meet on the street. I knew them from my classes, and they talked to me, they cared.

That was another thing I had gotten wrong about my ideas about sorority women. They cared about each other. There had to be something keeping all these women together, and friendship was definitely one of those things. I almost felt overwhelmed by the love and kindness these women showed me, after feeling so shy and defeated for the past two years in college. The women of Phi Mu taught me that it was okay to not only love myself, but open myself up to loving others.

Being a sorority woman to me is so much more than any house, any letters, colors, or insignia.

I met friends that I will have for the rest of my life. My roommates have been Phi Mu sisters; we go to concerts together, drive across the state just to see each other, or just phone calls to say hello now that we live in a Pandemic state. Being a sorority woman to me now is so much more than any house, any letters, colors, or insignia. It is the feeling of being a part of something larger than yourself, a part of a group of women bonded together through friendship - love, honor, and truth.

I have learned through being a member of Phi Mu that I can never judge women at face value the way that I did before, especially sorority women. Sorority girls do get a bad rap, and it is important to be cautious of the more dangerous aspects of Greek life like hazing - although I have never experienced it and vehemently oppose it. Through my own experiences in Greek life with my sorority sisters, I refuse to judge women based on their appearances, and I encourage you to do the same. Although you may not be my sorority sister in Phi Mu, I try to consider all women my sisters and treat them with the same kindness that all women deserve.

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Caroline is a senior English major at Appalachian State University concentrating in Film Studies with a minor in Theatre Arts. After she graduates in the spring of 2021, Caroline hopes to either work abroad teaching English as a second language, in the American school system or artistically to pursue creative writing. Caroline has been a member of HerCampus App State since 2019. Along with being its 2020 - 2021 Campus Correspondent, she has also held the positions of Senior Editor, Social Media Director, and was a part of the Campus Trendsetter Program.
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