Today on the blog we are talking about sororities, and specifically, the three best pieces of sorority advice I ever received. When I joined my sorority in the Spring of 2012, I was blessed with a great sisterhood, and over time I received many pieces of advice that have helped me make the most of my sorority experience. I hope this advice helps you all as much as it helped me.
1. Be Yourself
When I went through formal recruitment I was dropped form every single house besides the one I ended up joining after the open house round. During recruitment, that was devastating to me. Sigma Sigma Sigma was where I found myself most at home, but I couldn't help but be upset at the fact that no one seemed to want me in their sisterhood.
I held back tears and got that icky feeling in the back of my throat as I looked at my card during philanthropy day and there was only one name on the card. My mind was racing a million miles a minute––everyone seemed so nice, I thought it had all went well, what did I do? Was it my hair? My clothes? My conversational skills? I was being the best me that I could be. I was being myself.
I was upset at the time, but I got myself together because Tri Sigma was where I felt most at home, so I had my number one choice. Why did I need to care about what other people thought about me? Yes I could have done this or that, I could have strapped my feet into too high heels, caked my face with makeup, dieted and lost way too many pounds to fit into the other chapters versions of beauty, I could have gotten a manicure and a pedicure, I could have done all those things.
But those things wouldn't have been me.
Obviously, I didn't go to the rounds like I just rolled out of bed. I did my hair, wore nice clothes, etc. I wasn't going to do my makeup super fancy, I didn't even own makeup. I wasn't going to wear super tall heels, I didn't own heels, and heels didn't make me feel confident––flats did. I wasn't going to get a mani/pedi, I hardly ever had my fingers and toes painted.
So yes, I didn't get into a ton of houses during recruitment, but at the end of the day, all you need is one. You can't be a member of all the sororities on your campus, you can only join one. I wanted to be the one who would take me as I am. I am Amanda, sometimes I dress up but I hardly ever wear makeup, wear heels, or get my nails done. That's just who I am. Take it, or leave it.
2. To Receive Much, You Must Give Much
Flash forward to my time as a collegiate. When I first joined, something just wasn't quite clicking. I have to say, it was essentially a year before things actually started to click for me. I wish I could say that I was super involved every semester of my collegiate Sigma career, but that just wasn't the case. I was pretty uninvolved my first year, besides a stint on the event planning committee where I helped plan a semi-formal for the sorority my freshman year.
I can't count the number of times I wondered if it was worth it. There were so many times, especially during the first semester of my sophomore year where I questioned if I should keep paying the dues and keep my letters. I was pretty distraught. I didn't seem to be making much leeway within the sorority and I wasn't sure what was going on. Dropping my letters would mean an amount of freedom that I hadn't seen since my first semester freshman year. No more paying my dues, no more chapter meetings taking over my Tuesday nights, I would be free to do other things. When the pressure of going to chapter event after chapter event got too high, I almost caved under the pressure. Then, something extraordinary happened.
I got a call.
This was the call that forever changed my Tri Sigma path. The person who made this call probably doesn't think about this or even remember it. I don't remember all the details, but I remember how it changed my life. I got a call that asked me to hold a chair position for the spring semester. They were looking for someone to hold the Triangle chair position (which in my sorority is the chair position that submits things to our national magazine The Triangle.) This was a small role, and it was the catalyst I needed to go above and beyond. It was what started my Tri Sigma spark.
That spark has had its moments. I think any spark has its moments. The moments when it is exposed to a little too much wind. The moment when it flickers. The moment when it needs to be reignited a little bit. That initial flame carried me throughout the rest of my time with Sigma as a collegiate.
I was involved in and out of the sorority. Later on, I picked up the housing chair responsibility and left behind Triangle Chair after having it for a year. I got to do even more great things with the Housing chair position that I held throughout the rest of my college career.
Being involved with Tri Sigma was such a great experience as an undergraduate. I even won an award during my junior year of college and had so many wonderful experiences with my sisters throughout. Understanding that once I started giving myself and my talents to the sorority, I got those rewards back 10x.
What is your call(ing)?
Don't be afraid to get involved however you can within your sorority. It starts off small, but one interaction can have a domino effect that you won't believe. Will you push over the first domino? I sure hope so!
3. It's Not Four Years But For Life
I have left collegiate days behind me. This summer marks my first full year as a Tri Sigma alumna. The last lesson that I learned is that it's not four years, but for life.
Earlier this summer I had the privilege of going to Tri Sigma Convention as a national officer. It was one of the most reenergizing experiences I have ever had to my Sigma spirit. Being around women who have been in Tri Sigma for decades upon decades was such a beautiful experience. These women were not only Tri Sigma sisters, but they were active. They so looked forward to the every three years our sorority got together at our convention. For many sisters, they had been at 10+ conventions. As I was navigating my first convention, I couldn't help but hope I would still be that involved years down the road.
Not only was I energized by the lovely women I shared my letters with, but I was also energized by women I didn't share my letters with through a variety of empowering guest speakers. I left Chicago pining for my next Tri Sigma trip, and being a little upset that convention only happened once every three years.
I have gotten to know the Sigma story of so many amazing women over my time as a national volunteer. I have gotten to see the amazing things that chapters all over the country are doing. I am so proud of the letters I chose to rock and I still buy way too many Tri Sigma t-shirts. I bleed purple and having this connection with thousands upon thousands of women across the country is a magnificent experience.
You can choose to be done with your sorority after you get out of college, but what is the fun in that? What is the fun in abandoning your lifelong commitment and connection? There is so much good to come from being involved with your sorority after college. So many connections you can make. So many wonderful, beautiful souls to meet.
It just doesn't make sense to be done with your sorority after college.
The best is yet to come. Trust me. I have never felt more connected to my sorority, honestly. Even after I was super involved as a collegiate member. I get to be involved as an alumna in a way that I was never able to be involved as a collegiate. I get to do something I am passionate about every day by helping the sorority connect on platforms like Instagram. I get to see the very best parts of hundreds of sisterhoods all across America. It's a little Greek positivity bubble.
These three pieces of advice have carried me from my life as a potential new member to my life as an alumna. Honestly, I could use all of this advice at any stage of my sorority experience. If you are in a sorority, what is the best advice you ever received?