I entered my college experience during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. My first semester was during the summer of 2020, with no chance of meeting any of the friends I was desperately trying to make in person. I knew the fall semester wouldn’t be much better. Although I was allowed to move on-campus, most clubs and sports still weren’t organized or hosted. So, when I heard about Panhellenic Formal Recruitment, I decided to try joining a sorority.
Joining a sorority has been a fantastic part of my college experience. Being in a sorority has allowed me to become involved like no other organization on campus has. As cliche as it sounds, my sorority experience brought me some of my best friends, professional connections, leadership opportunities, fun activities and a chance to continue community service in college. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. However, there are a few things I wish I had known before joining.
- You may not feel at home on bid day, and that’s okay.
After a long and hard week of Formal Recruitment, new members are invited to “run home” to their new chapters. The new members are greeted with music, dancing, cheering sisters and a promise of an incredible four years. But not every new member feels at home yet. Personally, I only knew two or three initiated sisters at the time of my Bid Day, and I was terrified. It actually took a few months of testing the waters and getting to know new sisters before I started to feel “at home” in my sorority.
- It’s a time commitment.
If you are interested in joining a sorority, do not underestimate the time commitment. Typically, you will be required to attend regular chapter meetings and retreats, committee meetings, philanthropy events and more throughout the semester. However, not every event requires mandatory attendance. You won’t have to attend every date function, movie night and formal dance. I know this can be a confusing time for scheduling and understanding the different terminologies. So, if you are a new member, make sure you reach out to your older sisters for clarification.
The amount of t-shirts I own that rep the letters of my sorority is wild. I remember that at Bid Day, all I could dream of was proudly wearing my letters around campus, but now I have so many t-shirts that my drawers are hard to close due to the 50-something sorority shirts I own. Although it’s fun to look back on the memories that the shirts represent, I also look forward to handing down some of my shirts to younger members.
- You get what you put into it.
This was a challenging concept for me to grasp as a new member. The idea that the sorority house was also my house seemed unthinkable. I didn’t realize that I was allowed to come and go as I pleased throughout the day. The easiest way to make real connections with your sisters isn’t by attending every event or dressing up for date functions. It’s through study hours and eating meals at the sorority. I made my best friends through the little things like laughing at bad romantic comedies playing in the TV room.
- It’s okay not to be friends with every single one of your sisters.
Sororities can be tough to navigate. There definitely is pressure to be besties with every single member in your chapter, but that’s just not realistic. Many sororities have upwards of 200 members, and sometimes there are just too many sisters to be friends with! Realistically, you won’t be besties with everyone. I know I am not as close to some sisters as I wish I could be, and that’s okay. I can still invite those sisters that I’m still getting to know on coffee dates or to a campus event. I can put in the effort and will continuously be making friends with as many of my sisters as possible.