Why I’m Proud, And Sometimes Embarrassed, To Be A Sorority Girl

When I first went into college, I was adamant about not “going greek.” I will not buy my friends and I will not subject myself to the ridicule of being hazed, I thought. I knew some of my girlfriends would decide to join sororities and some would not, but regardless of who came and went, I knew that my true friends would remain close to me. After a year in college, a few of my hallmates convinced me to attend a rush event, where I’d have the opportunity to visit their sorority and get to know the members: it was nothing more than an informational gathering with food and “mocktails” (drinking was prohibited), so I decided to humor them and go. I left there that night feeling like there was a whole new world outside the confines of my dorm room; one that not only broadened my horizons socially and allowed me to meet a ton of fascinating women of different ages and from different backgrounds, but one that would also give my daily routine some structure. Members were required to obtain a specific GPA, remain involved in a certain amount of extra curricular clubs and activities, and uphold the values of the organization— these requirements would be monitored closely or else you would lose your membership. Before I knew it, I was recruited and decided to go for it.

While I was “pledging” (a common term for the new member process, which is a time commonly associated with hazing), I told myself that if any hazing or cruel treatment occurred, I would walk. Thankfully, it wasn’t necessary. I was not hazed, ridiculed or tormented in any way. Mainly, those several weeks of transition were meant to teach new members the ideals and foundations of the sisterhood we were about to join, while monitoring our academic dedication with mandatory study hours. I ended my pledge process with a higher GPA than when I started, moved from my dorm room into an on-campus sorority house and quickly became involved in helping to plan philanthropy and social events. One semester passed, and I was shocked when my sisters unanimously elected me the President of our chapter. There I was one day telling myself I would never be a sorority girl, and the next I was running a house of 75 ambitious, hormonal, amazing women.

My time as a sorority president was not easy. I was responsible for making sure our chapter was meeting national panhellenic requirements, campus requirements and that our members were happy, all while maintaining my own social life and grades on top of internships, relationships, etc. Looking back now, five years after graduation, I can safely say that going greek was one of the greatest decisions I made in my college career, and really, in life. I learned leadership and time management skills, made tons of new friends who I’ve remained close with to this very day, and will never again have such a thriving social life. My college years as a sorority girl were certainly fun (I will not deny that I had a little bit too much fun at times), but most importantly, it helped me to realize my potential as a woman. Nay, as a successful, proud, confident woman. My sorority helped to better me as a person, making me more well-rounded and providing me knowledge, life lessons and skills that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Sure, I made mistakes. I was sometimes too lenient, too bossy and too strict, but I learned from those mistakes and carried on. I made friends, had fun and came out a better individual than I was going in.

There’s always been a stigma around sororities and fraternities, and, quite honestly, some of the harsh stereotypes are there for a reason. Sometimes sorority women are cruel. Sometimes they overdrink, “sleep around” and haze other people with the intent of breaking down a person’s confidence and making them feel worthless. But there are also many other people; people who aim to heighten that confidence and act as a support system, instead of the wrecking ball used to knock them down. As most people do, I drank in college. I partied, had fun, went out and enjoyed myself, but having the support of an organization that monitored my academics, combined with that of the 75 women who were navigating life with the same obstacles as I, allowed me to come out on top. I graduated with honors at the head of my class, and I did it alongside women who are now successful leaders and great friends.

It’s unfortunate that I often feel embarrassed for being Greek. Back in the day, one woman from another sorority on our campus even went as far as to label me “Queen Of The Sluts,” simply for being President of the house. It’s people like her, whether Greek or non-Greek, who only perpetuate the bad rap sororities are so notoriously known for. We’re called hoes, alcoholics, airheads, easy … you name it. We hear incidents of hazing, most recently that of the new Miss America who was kicked out of her sorority in college, and people assume that all sorority women are this nasty. We hear about all of the breaking news and terrible stories, but rarely do we hear about the great accomplishments of the majority of sorority women who go on to become CEOs, ambassadors, thriving businesswomen, community leaders and mothers. I want to be able to proudly tell people that I was in a sorority without having them silently assume I was a mean slut with a blood-alcohol content higher than my GPA. We need to start sharing success stories and accomplishments and proving to people that while there are a few bad eggs in every batch, beyond that is much, much more. Let my story be the start.

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