Last week on January 10th I celebrated my 4th year anniversary of signing my bid card for Sigma Sigma Sigma. I am continually obsessed with my sorority, even now as I have been a sorority alumna for about 8 months now (crazy I know!) Today I am sharing 10 things I think you should know before you join a sorority.
1. The Ranking Of The Sorority You Love Is Just A Number
Sorority rankings are going to happen. There are whole sites about rankings and your friends on campus will surely have their thoughts on what sororities are hot and which ones are not. At the end of the day, though, this is completely your decision. If you love the sisters, think that you fit in well with them, and y'all have a mutual love for each other–go for it. Don't listen to what other people say or think about the sorority you love. The only opinion that matters is yours.
2. Your Friends May Not Agree With Your Decision To Go Greek
Not everyone is going to love your decision to Go Greek. They don't have to though. Your decision is yours alone to make. You don't have to push Greek life down their throats or make them appreciate your sisterly bonds. Greek life isn't for everyone and if it's for you that is fine and dandy. Understand that your friends might not agree with your decision, but don't let this decision come between you and your friends.
3. You Need Friends Outside Of Greek Life
Sisters are great, but having friends outside of Greek life is pretty amazing too. You need that balance, and most of all you don't ever want to miss out on a potential friendship or connection just because they aren't in Greek life. Sisters are amazing, but sometimes you just want a break. You don't want your entire friendship circle to be made exclusively of other sorority sisters. Branch out, don't be afraid to meet new people, and get involved in other things.
4. Sorority Life Is A Huge Time Commitment
I'd be super lying to you if I told you going Greek wasn't a time commitment. Sororities and fraternities are probably the most time consuming registered student organizations on your campus. There is so much that you have to do, especially during your new member semester.
- New Member Meeting (At least 1 hour a week, every week during your new member period!)
- Chapter Meeting (At least 1 hour a week, every week! You may not have to go your new member semester, but most new members do)
- Volunteer Hours (You will probably be required to do 5-10 hours of volunteer/community service hours per semester)
- Library/Study Hours (Depending on your grades you will probably have to do about 1-10 hours per week; but this is study time so if you're studying already this will be easy to accomplish.)
- Mixers, Tailgates, Sisterhoods, Intramural Sports (The more you give to sorority life the more these events pop up and you can literally spend hours and hours on these things per week.)
Sorority life will push your time management skills to the limit. You have to be able to manage the time commitment along with your classes and other involvements. It can be a bit daunting, but your older sisters can point you in the right direction, plus I am always here too!
5. Sorority Life Is A Huge Monetary Commitment
Throughout my Undergraduate career I spent $3,390.57 on my sorority. Not to mention the various things that weren't billed through our billing system like my personal donations to our Sigma Sigma Sigma foundation, extra t-shirts that I bought on my own, Big/Little Week stuff (which I went through 3 times), and other events I went to that were sorority related. So all-in-all I roughly estimated that I spent around $5,000-$6,000 on my sorority experience while I was in undergrad. I still spend money even as an alumna through donations to the Foundation, paying my Sigma Sigma Sigma alumnae dues, and the fact that I am still obsessed with letter shirts and buy them all the time.
We didn't even have Greek housing when I was in undergrad at the University of Central Arkansas. If we had that I would have been paying substantially more for sorority life. So I paid a lot in undergrad. I am not saying this to scare you, but I am saying this because part of being Greek is paying the fees associated with Greek life. It's not easy, but I feel like it was worth it (although I am not going to lie, I'm kinda missing that money now that I've added it all up.) Greek life is one of the best experiences ever. To know that you are part of something bigger, support awesome causes, and have a group of people to do awesome things with is awesome.
I am not paying for my friends, I am however paying to keep my National Headquarters staffed; paying for a ton of awesome activities like Officer Academies, Leadership Experiences, Conventions, Prevention Institutes, and Volunteer Training; I am paying for activities and t-shirts from my local chapter; I am paying to keep a legacy going that was started so long ago and to keep our ritual amazing and beautiful.
6. Going Greek Will Give You A Family Away From Family
One thing is true, your sorority will become a family away from your family. It won't happen overnight, and you have to work at it, but with practice and going to events you will find some amazing people. Those people will support you more than you think you deserve and really help you grow as a person. Again, I am all about being realistic about this though: It's not going to happen overnight. This won't happen automatically, but if you are doing your best to reach out to your sorority sisters they will reach out too.
7. You Need To Learn To Appreciate Greek Life As A Whole
I feel like I need to shout this out at the rooftops. You need to learn to appreciate Greek Life as a whole. So many women snub girls from other chapters during formal recruitment or burn bridges with other sororities entirely. This is not Panhellenic behavior. There are better ways to show you are not interested in a sorority (ranking them last during recruitment continually) but while you are around other sisters during recruitment (even in sororities you don't want to go in) be nice and cordial. This will open up so many doors and connections on campus. We are all in this together and we are more alike than you think. You should praise sororities in other chapters, even if they don't do things exactly like your chapter would.
This is so important because you are going to meet a lot of different types of sororities. Even in your own sorority, different chapters do things differently, you want to make sure you are always appreciating the whole Greek life process, not just how your chapter does everything. You don't have to agree, but you don't have to be hostile either.
8. You Won't Like Every Sister (And That's Okay)
Sororities are huge! They are made up of so many members. Some chapters are upwards of 200 at some schools. There is no way that you will like every single sister in your chapter. This even happens in super small chapters. You don't have to like all your sisters. You probably don't like all the qualities of your actual sibling sisters. It's okay to have those thoughts. You don't have to hang out with every member of your sorority. You can be a floater, you can find a group of sisters you love and hang out with them, it really depends on what you want to do.
On the other hand, if it doesn't feel like a match, don't force it just because they gave you a bid. There is a difference between not liking a handful of sisters and hating being Greek with your sorority. You don't have to stay with a sisterhood if it's not what you wanted it to be. Before you make that rash decision though try to pick apart what it is. Do you just not like a certain sister, or is it the sorority as a whole?
9. You Will Find The Most Amazing Mentors
Sigma Sigma Sigma has given me so many amazing mentors to look up to in my collegiate life. I am continually impressed by the amazing things my sisters continue to do and I am so blessed with perfect role models, mentors, and people who push me to be a better Sigma Sigma Sigma everyday. Without all of these friendships and connections I definitely wouldn't be the Sigma woman that I am today. I wouldn't have the courage to volunteer for my national sorority or the courage to continuously try to do better things within Tri Sigma. My mentors are what kept me strong when I wasn't feeling like I'd found my place in Tri Sigma. So many amazing women to look up to that make me a better person each day. Now that I am a national officer that is growing even stronger.
10. Collegiate Life Is Just The Beginning
The interesting part about sorority life is that collegiate life seems like such a big deal, until it's not. The transition from collegiate to alumna was a bit hard on me. I didn't really think about it until those days when something would happen and remind me of collegiate life. For me that time came when I went to North Little Rock the weekend of move-in day for the freshman at UCA last summer. As I was leaving my sister's I realized quickly that on any other occasion I'd be going to Conway, instead of going back to my hometown with my parents for one more week before I left for my new school. This feeling also came when it was time for Recruitment and all my friends still in college had to deactivate their social media accounts and/or not post on them. It was so nerve-wracking waiting to get back our numbers, I had never had to wait like that.
I know this feeling will come again this spring as my sisters go through All-Greek Step Show in April and try to take home a threepeat (we are TRI Sigma after all.) I will feel that as we get more sisters from Spring Continuous Open Bidding, but I won't be there to hear all the news as it comes. Every blue moon when I am in class on a Tuesday night, I will think about the chapter meetings that used to dominate my Tuesday nights. I will miss it when they attend the Arkansas State Day that I won't be able to attend for the first time in three years. Lastly, I will definitely feel it on the Founder's Day celebration I will miss in April that I won't be able to attend for the first time in four years! Don't get me wrong, there are certain parts about collegiate life I am okay with missing mostly, but I do miss that constant connection.
On the other hand I realize that collegiate life is just the beginning. I realize that I get to celebrate Tri Sigma each and everyday and I am more connected to my sorority than a lot of alumnae women are. I am lucky for the position that I have and I am always trying to become better at my officer position.
What is one thing you wish you knew before you joined a sorority?