As I am sure you know by now, a large part of some people’s college experience is their participation in a college fraternity or sorority. All their friends are their sisters, they are sporting the newest Comfort Colors t-shirt, and they are posting the cutest pictures on instagram with a fresh and trendy outfit. It seems like they have found their people, their community. There is a certain type of eagerness and pride about them. Their love for their letters extends outside of their organization. If this is you, I am so happy that you found your place on campus. Seriously! It is hard to find where you belong when you are in a brand new place and when you are still figuring out who you are! I hope you continue wearing those letters with pride.
But if this isn’t you; if you don’t have many friends in your sorority, if you are overwhelmed by the social obligations and responsibilities, if you are debating dropping—Let’s talk about it.
My experience in my sorority was great. Until it wasn’t. To preface, I was extremely hesitant on a rushing to begin with. I just didn’t feel like it was my thing. Not to mention, I had an issue with the underlying sexism and classism that greek life is built on. But after pushing from my mom and others in my life, I gave it a chance. I was surprised by how many sororities called me back after day after day of exhausted smiles and small talk. I often told the girl who was assigned to me that I wasn’t sure about greek life and that I was just going through Rush to keep an open mind and to see what everything was about. I flat out disclosed my reluctance toward greek life and I think that a lot of the sororities I was a potential new member for resonated with my honesty and appreciated my genuinity. At the time, I thought my honesty would give me less bids and callbacks, but I was wrong.
After receiving a bid from my number one sorority, I was genuinely excited. I thought to myself, perhaps I was wrong about greek life and sororities. Perhaps this was something that I could be a part of. I kept an open-mind and I was ready to live the greek life.
But quickly the rules, the obligations, and the responsibilities seemed to outweigh the wonderful social and philanthropic opportunities that my sorority presented. I had an issue with mandatory study hours if your GPA wasn’t high enough, I had a problem with the outrageous dues, I had a problem with filtering what you post on social media, I had a problem with the point system that determined if you were allowed to attend formals and all the other exciting things that make a sorority a sorority. I often had class conflicts and wasn’t able to attend chapter meetings. This put me out of the know, I was always behind on what was going on. The events were scheduled during times where I had other club obligations or during my study time. Because of this, I only had a few friends in my sorority and barely knew who the officers were.
Eventually, my sorority became an obligation rather than something I was excited to be a part of. It felt like something I had to do, just another thing to check off the list.
I felt guilty about being a peripheral member, for having my letters in my instagram bio but never showing up to anything, for spending my money on dues for an organization I could barely be a part of due to my schedule and competing interests.
Mostly, I felt guilty that I didn’t like it as much as I was promised. For me, this feeling was my ultimate indicator that it was time to drop.
But no one ever talks about the difficult decision to drop. No one talks about the potential social repercussions that can result from leaving a sisterhood. For some, joining a sorority is the pinnacle of one’s social life at college. Maybe this is you, maybe not. But if you are in a similar situation to me, you may be wondering if you would lose friends, if you are making a mistake. Because what about those amazing connections that being an alumnus of a sorority can get you when applying for jobs? What about scholarships for grad school that are given to you by your sorority? Would you be rejected from a job you really wanted and was qualified for because you didn’t leave your sorority in good standing? Would this be something you regret for the rest of my college life? These questions plagued my mind and if you are considering dropping, you may be asking yourself these questions too.
Too often we are caught up in thinking about our futures rather than the present. If you aren’t enjoying something anymore, why continue to participate in it? If it has become an obligation, why would you continue to subject yourself to it?
I’m here to tell you that it is okay to not like something anymore. I am here to tell you that you don’t have to keep something that you don’t feel is for you. I am here to tell you that it is okay to leave a sorority. Whatever is keeping you hesitant and reluctant from leaving, is not worth your current happiness and your aspirations. Because here is the reality: if your sorority sisters are truly your friends, they will continue to be your friends after you leave. If you don’t get a job, it won’t be because you dropped the same sorority as your interviewer. If your mom was a legacy, she will totally understand because she is your mom. If you feel exhausted from the rules and obligations, think of how free you’ll feel knowing that you’ll have that burden and guilt being removed. You can go on to pursue your busy schedule, or maybe clear up some free time to try something you’ve always wanted to.
I understand that leaving an organization that carries a lot of social weight and opportunity can be scary, but that just says more about college culture than the individual. Your choice to leave is your own, and it is about time you start making decisions based on how you feel currently. Because if you constantly do things out of fear of the unknown and for future-you, you will always be sacrificing present-you for a version of yourself that doesn’t yet exist. Your college experience is your own, not anyone else’s. Your sisters may want you to stay, but they aren’t living your life. Legacies in your family may want you to stay, but they aren’t living your life. Your life is your own, and ultimately you should decide what is best for you.
If something is no longer satisfying you, no longer making you happy, if you no longer fit in, you can either try to remedy the situation or you can leave. And whatever you decide is okay. Because in the end, it is your choice, it is your life and that is what matters.
Here’s to doing things that make us happy,