My Reluctant Rough-and-Tumble Recruitment Story:
Coming into college, I knew I did NOT want to join a sorority. In high school, I was very unpopular (only known for my grades) and a constant victim of bullying. All I knew of Greek life was from stereotypes, and I looked to the mean snobby girls in high school as prime examples of sorority women. I wanted no part of it. So I was more than a little irritated when my mom informed me she’d signed me up secretly to go through recruitment. She was not Greek (didn’t go to college) but thought it would be a good way for me to make friends. So I gritted my teeth and decided to bear with it.
I go to a small liberal arts school, not a big public university. So when I got to school my previous ideas of sorority life slowly grew smaller. At a pre-recruitment event I met a Delta Gamma who was not blond and skinny, but a petite plump redhead with glasses. She started a conversation with me, seeing that I was standing by myself, and told me she liked my outfit. I met two more DGs and we talked for an hour or so. For someone who’s not social at all, I loved it. I met more and more DGs at events and loved them more and more. I even had connections with a few through friends and my boyfriend.
I went through recruitment with DG in my mind. Pref night came, I told myself I wasn’t going to cry. I cried. The next day I got a bid from them and was ecstatic. Then the hate came. People from earlier in my life asking me why I had “sold out” and become a “fake.” Being someone who used to think that way, I understood where they come from. But they lost faith in me. I lost a lot of friends after recruitment. My mother was shocked I went with it. Even my boyfriend was a little unhappy. But I knew I had made the right choice.
A semester and a half later, I doubt myself from time to time. I very rarely go to events that aren’t mandatory. I have a private room in my sorority’s dorm hall because of health issues and I rarely leave it. I’m not really close with anyone; I don’t even see my big very often because she’s a partier and I’m not. My mother is also very adamant that I drop out because she didn’t know that sororities cost money. Sometimes I wonder if I have made the right choice in the aspect of sisterhood. I’ve felt every part of sorority life except the sisterhood part.
I’ve gotten so many opportunities to expand through being Greek; I run a nonprofit organization and I’m heavily involved in my school’s homecoming activities, as well as a number of clubs. My letters have gotten me into internship and employment opportunities. But I wonder if I’m just too different for Greek life? I’m not a “normal” sorority girl by any standards.
But I’m determined to shoot down that idea of “normal.” ~ that you have to be a partier and like to hang out with fraternities 24/7. Every sorority woman is highly unique, and I’m one of them. I want to make my chapter better on a university scale and add to the greatness it can achieve. I believe in it the way some others just roll their eyes and say “I’m in it for the friends.” I’m in it for something bigger; for change. I believe that any Greek woman (or man!) can help make their chapter better and bring about positive change. Though it’s a hard feat to achieve, it’s possible. If you love your organization, love it with your actions. I don’t know if sisterhood closeness will come to me, but if it does I’ll welcome it with open arms. I’m getting better through Delta Gamma; I want to give to it what it gave to me.
submitted by Greek Girl Guest Blogger: tsubomikiido
I went through a very similar situation. I signed myself up for recruitment just to see what it was like, but none of my family had gone greek and none of my friends supported it. In high school I was a goth kid, I had been ‘out’ since I was 13, and I was very involved in the gay community. When I went through recruitment I was nervous about whether I should mention that I was gay. But my mom encouraged me to be honest and tell them during recruitment.
I had no preconceived notions about what rush was like. The night before recruitment started our Panhellenic did an info session with a fashion show of things to wear on each of the days. Most of them were wearing summer dresses. I had only packed work slacks and nice shirts. I rushed to facebook to ask if anyone had dresses in my size that I could borrow. Luckily some friends did - but the clothes weren’t my style and didn’t fit me well.
That year I was an incoming junior that had transferred from a community college. I had rogue streaks in my hair (like the girl from the X-Men movie). I didn’t own any pearls. I was definitely not your typical sorority girl. A lot of sororities dropped me, but Delta Gamma welcomed me each day. I felt comfortable enough to admit that I had borrowed my clothes, and I even wore slacks on Philanthropy round (the ONLY girl to wear slacks, I might add).
Once I got in I was eager to make friends. But my insecurity frequently got in the way. I worried, “Will these girls mistake my friendliness for flirtiness?” I worried, “Are they judging what I wear?” I struggled to reconcile who I had always known myself to be with this new social group. I was desperate to fit in, but also to stay true to myself. I found that I was oddly quiet in many social settings because I was scared that I would say the wrong things. When I thought a sister wasn’t keen on me, I always inwardly assumed it was because I was gay. I didn’t push it because I didn’t want to make them uncomfortable, and I didn’t address it with them.
There were many girls that I did become friends with. I would even say there are many that I nearly feel I’m blood-related to. I found girls that were around for the best and worst of times, and those are the best women to have as friends. I never regretted my choice to join, but there were times that I felt lonely despite my close bonds.
My last semester I moved back home while I completed my internship. I wasn’t able to make it to many events, although I showed up for the important ones. When I did make it to events I found that I was a bit more open about my life with others. I just didn’t care to tread lightly anymore. What I found was that people were not shocked - obviously everyone had known, I made it no secret. But I mean, they were not uncomfortable talking about it. They were curious, even. I found there were many girls who were supporters that I had never talked to before, and I was sad that I missed out on getting to know so many wonderful girls.
At the end of my last semester we had a senior bridging ceremony. It is tradition that seniors will down a few things and give some parting advice. When it was my turn, I told them, “I was always scared that I didn’t belong. I kept waiting for someone to stand up and tell me that I was in the wrong place, that I wasn’t meant to be here. But nobody did. And now I realize that I missed out on so many chances to get to know you all because I was so scared of what you might think. So thank you for not being those people. And I’m sorry that I didn’t realize it sooner.” And you know what’s amazing? Everybody clapped. They were proud of me, they supported me, and I had missed all of that quality time.
But you know what? It’s not four years (or two, in my case). It’s for life. I made this blog to get to know other DGs, and knowing so many around the world has eased the loneliness. I joined my alumnae organization and acquired a position, where I got to know many wonderful women who were not in my chapter. I stayed in contact with my chapter and developed deeper relationships with the sisters I knew as a collegian and with new members to the chapter. I stay in contact with my family tree, and find that many of the members of my ‘family’ are my best friends.
Most of all, I make a point to reach out to sisters when I can. Just recently I posted on my facebook that I was considering the graduate scholarship and asked if anyone would write my a recommendation. To my surprise, not only did my alumnae president offer to write one, but so did a sister I hadn’t talked to in three or four years. I also posted on one of the young alumnae groups about needing a place to crash while I went to a few conferences this year and some sisters started to ask around for me. Sometimes when you’re in a chapter you feel like that’s all there is to the organization, but it’s so much bigger than you can imagine.
And I want you to know that standing out is GOOD. Sometimes it makes you feel like a sore thumb, but over the years (including as a collegian) many sisters that I didn’t usually talk to reached out to me because they knew that I wouldn’t judge them. Some sisters came out to me, some spoke of depression, some wanted advice on major life choices. There are many girls that you may think are ‘popular’ in the chapter that feel that they don’t fit in, and they have the same fears and insecurities that you do. Through these connections my sisterhood continues to grow. And I want you to know that every person in every organization at some point feels like they’re missing out. What’s important is that you still go to things - not just when it’s mandatory. Sometimes in those little moments, when everyone’s guard is down, you truly get to know each other. But if you’re not there you’re not one of those people. Keep going. It gets better.
And if you ever need someone to talk to, I’m here.