I never was going to join a sorority.
Growing up, I'd learned to look down upon sorority girls.
I was a nerd, and both intimidated by and condescending of girls who were more feminine than me.
As a freshman, I was of the opinion that Greek life was a way to buy friends.
I compensated for my uncomfortableness at college parties by frowning upon those who enjoyed drinking and other vices on the weekends.
Sophomore year, I’d gotten to know girls from my school who were in sororities more.
My college was small, and it was hard to not know people from all different groups.
I got to know some older students and recognized that some of the girls I most admired were a part of a sorority.
I saw the bond they had and the way Greek life created a family at college and wanted to be a part of it.
Spring of that school year I went through recruitment week and decided that I truly wanted to find a place at one of the sororities at my school.
Unfortunately, after a busy week of events and meeting so many great people, I didn’t find a place that I felt I could call my home.
Shortly afterwards, I discovered a group of girls who had felt a similar way, that as great as the three sororities our college had, there was something missing.
A few of the most dedicated girls I’ve ever met began the long process of bringing a new sorority to campus.
I was vaguely involved from the beginning.
I attended interest meetings and helped brainstorm ideas for how to make the idea appealing to the legions of administrators and our fellow students who needed to approve of the idea.
Finally at the beginning of my junior year, we were given the chance to become a colony of a national sorority, and it was so exciting.
It all became real, very quickly.
Working out the technicalities of bringing a new sorority to campus and the coming and going of various girls who would or wouldn’t ultimately join the chapter had been an exciting, if at times arduous, process.
Now that it was happening, I second guessed it all.
I was never going to join a sorority, or so I’d thought.
I was an independent person, and not that I still had doubts that sisters of a sorority were able to be their own person, but the compulsory events and expectations placed on me to be a part of something bigger than myself made me hesitate.
I wanted to back out.
I had never been comfortable doing anything other than what I wanted to do, I didn’t have many close friends and with my busy coursework schedule and other organizations I’d made commitments to I was uneasy about how this would impact my time.
I also feared the stereotype of a “sorority girl."
I didn’t want grad schools or future employers to overlook me because they saw pictures of me in letters,
I knew some professors at my school thought less of students who were in Greek life.
Representatives from our new sorority’s national headquarters went over the expectations of us, how we represented each other, and I felt the pressure of how if I was a minute late to class, I was making the whole house look bad.
My reputation was going to be tied to these 30-something other girls and I wasn’t sure I trusted them to uphold that.
It was such a random group.
We had athletes, RAs, cheerleaders, musicians, great students and okay students, and I wasn’t sure it was a place for me.
I hardly knew most of them, and suddenly people would be judging me based on what they knew of one of the other sisters?
And not just that, but there were some negative feelings from the rest of Greek life on campus.
People I was friends with who had joined other houses earlier didn’t like having a new sorority come to campus.
People I was less friendly with called us losers or worse names, thinking we were a bunch of rejects who were just trying to be like them.
That especially sucked.
Not only was I nervous about what the non-Greek members of campus would think of me, we weren’t welcomed by the rest of Greek life.
After three years of hard work as a student and getting to know so many people, I was afraid to lose their respect for a year and a half as a sorority girl.
The night before our first day as a colony, what we were called before we could be installed as a chapter, I freaked out.
I called my mom and told her how I hated everyone and didn’t want to do it.
It was maybe the last chance I’d have to back out of being a sister and I was so nervous.
I didn’t want these girls to be compared to me, I didn’t want to be compared to them, I hardly knew most of them.
My mom listened and reassured me that I could make any choice I wanted, but I was cruel to think less of other girls based on my assumptions.
She made me realize how selfish I was being, and how as great a person as I told myself I was, I had a lot of room to grow.
Talking to her and taking my own time to reflect on the decision I was making, I realized that the biggest reason I was unsure of what I wanted to do was that I was afraid of the challenge.
I recognized that joining and becoming a part of this organization would be something totally different from anything I had done before and it wasn’t something that I had ever envisioned for myself.
But taking on this challenge would help me grow and become a better person.
It would force me to break out of the mindset that other successful girls were a challenge to me, that girls with different interests were not worth my time.
It was so hard at first. I gritted my teeth and took part in ceremonies and activities that put me out of my comfort zone, but I am so glad I did.
I like to think that I did grow because of my place in my sorority.
I made so many new friends and spent time with girls I wouldn’t have otherwise.
I learned so much from them and they helped me be strong enough to not be strong all the time.
I needed them and realized that they might need me, too.
Senior year presented me with new struggles and it was a relief to not have to go through them alone.
I was never someone to show my true feelings too readily, but the girls I was lucky enough to call my sisters picked me up so many times.
I found my place as their sister, I loved having people to bake for and spend cozy nights watching movies with.
I got mad at some of them, and some of them got mad at me, but I never doubted that I could trust them.
The first year as a sorority was hard and we took on so many difficult situations as a group.
The girls in my sorority became my confidantes, fashion advisors, study buddies, cheerleaders- everything I had wanted out of a sisterhood.
I like to think that I was able to return the favor to them.
Being in a sorority, I overcame my fears and had the sisters I’d always hoped for.
Now that I’ve graduated, I’m so proud to see the girls I still call sisters become strong, amazing women.
I got through the first three years of college without them, but I don’t know how I did.
My year as a sorority girl was worth all the stress and time I put into it, and then some.