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5 Ways I Broke the Stereotype by Joining a Sorority

From the moment my first fall term started here at Augustana, I knew I wanted to rush in the spring. For me, joining a sorority meant making lifelong friends, being a part of something much bigger than myself, and much more important than a swishy (though, let’s be honest, I was pretty excited for those too). But with the idea of joining a sorority always comes the stereotypes everyone has about sororities and fraternities. I also feel that since here at Augustana, we don’t begin rush until after winter break, there is a lot of time for stereotypes to build. And even though those stereotypes shouldn’t stop anyone from rushing or pledging, they sometimes do. Here are 5 ways I broke those stereotypes by joining a sorority.

1. I pledged when I was a junior in college.  

I transferred to Augustana last year as a junior, which automatically meant that I was a year or two ahead of everyone else that would typically be rushing. This made things awkward sometimes, but also helped me to stick out and showed just how much I wanted to be in a sorority. I wasn’t going to let my transfer status stop me from finding my future sisters. I would encourage and even challenge every transfer (no matter what year you are in) to experience the rushing process. You never know what the outcome might be, and in a few short weeks you might find your new home away from home on campus!

2.  I was an open bid.

When most people think of their bid day, they don’t hope and pray to be an open bid. Everyone thinks the rush and bid process magically comes together perfectly. On bid day you receive your bid and run off into the sunset with your chosen sorority, but for me, my “sunset” took a little longer. I’m so thankful for that though, because if I hadn’t been an open bid, I might not have ended up in the group that, over all, became perfect for me. Sometimes things work out differently than everyone thinks they’re supposed to, but exactly how they’re supposed to for you. Future rushies, when bid day comes and maybe you end up being an open bid don’t be discouraged! Get excited, because your journey has taken an unexpected turn and I promise it will lead to great places.

3. I’m not a constant partier. 

When people think of Greek life as a whole, the first thing they think of are parties and drinking. Yes, my sisters and I like to have fun but no I don’t spend every weekend at a party. I’m just as happy crafting with friends or having a quiet night at home. Just because I wear Greek letters doesn’t automatically mean I can do a keg (oh my goodness, no).

4. I complete more volunteer hours in a sorority.

It is well known across Augustana’s campus that those in Greek life complete almost double the volunteer hours than those who are not involved in Greek life. Granted, I am involved in a social and service sorority, so I get to do a lot of volunteer service, but it’s an aspect of Greek life that not many people think about. Being in a sorority (both social and service) has helped me to get out into my community and make it a better place.

5. No, I don’t think I’m better than you.

Getting the time to volunteer, spend quality time with my new sisters, and wear my Greek letters, doesn’t make me better than anyone else, It only makes me better than who I used to be. Let me explain that. The whole process of joining a sorority has helped me to build confidence, become more independent, trusting, humble, strong, courageous, and I have gained so many new friends and sisters along the way. I know that goes for every group on campus, and I believe through this process, we all have the opportunity to make our community, our school, and ourselves better through Greek Life.

So the next time you see a girl in a purple, blue, green, black, or maroon swishy walking around campus, I hope you’ll have an open mind about the type of person she is underneath. Yes, she’s in a sorority and yes she holds a lot of the same values that come with being part of that sorority, but she might not fit the stereotypes others are putting her in. I would encourage anyone reading this to rush this winter even if the thought of meeting new people scares you, or giving up a lot of your time during rush and pledging might stress you out a little. It is all worth it because whether or not you follow through with the rushing and pledging process, you will meet new people that can become your new best friends, and you might just find a new part of yourself that you never knew before. The stereotypes you hear across campus are most likely not true, and until you find out for yourself, you will never know. So, what are you waiting for? Your future home awaits you!

Jessica Estes is a senior at Augustana College pursuing an English and creative writing double major. She's a lover of baking, writing nonfiction, Christmas, reading, and fashion. She's also a huge fan of Game of Thrones, Gilmore Girls, Pretty Little Liars, and This Is Us. One day, she hopes to write full time for a magazine, publish a successful cookbook, and a memoir. You can follow her on Instagram at jessicajane28.
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