Wednesday, October 21, 2015

11 Reasons Why I Am a Sorority Girl

"But I've never pictured you as a sorority girl..."

      Until recently, most people would not have considered me a "sorority girl." In fact, upon announcing my decision to go through recruitment, I got a mix of different reactions. Some people were proud of me for putting myself out there, and other's were confused. "I never thought of you as a sorority girl." I have to admit that I also felt this way going into college; I believed the stereotypes about Greek Life, but I knew that I needed to try and say "yes" to more things in college and put myself out there, so I decided to go through recruitment. I went in with the knowledge that I could drop out if I didn't feel like the experience was right for me, and decided it would be a good way to force myself to meet new people. However, I ended up finding my family here at Randolph-Macon, and I am proud to say that I am a sorority girl. Now before you're ideas or thoughts on me change, allow me to explain myself. You might just even learn a few things you didn't know about Greek Life, or maybe you're like me and you can agree with some of my personal reasons to join a sorority. Regardless, here are eleven reason that I am a sorority girl (technically I'm a member of a Women's Fraternity not a Sorority, but that just doesn't roll off of the tongue so we're going to ignore that).

1. I Value Loyalty

Courtesy of AGD Theta Zeta
Whenever I am asked what I value most, I always reply with "loyalty." I am the kind of person that invests a lot of time into the people I care about, and I like when people do the same for me. I have had to realize over the years that not everyone feels that way, and I have grown to accept that, but as a member of my sorority, I know I can always count on my sisters. The other day, I had a sister ask me about my blog, and when I admitted that I had been lacking in the post department, she encouraged me to keep at it. Something as simple as that had a huge impact on my day, and really revived the way I looked at my blog. The thing is, these girls are my sisters, my family, and because of that I know they will always have my back. There is no way to be best friends with each of your sisters, but you know that regardless of time of day or location, if you need help, there will be a sister to come to your rescue.

My amazing sister-mom!

2. I Am Obsessed With Crafting

Regardless of your own feelings towards crafting, if you join a sorority you will come into contact with it. Whether it's making gifts for your sister-daughter (or little in some people's cases) or making a t-shirt with your letters, sorority girls will learn how to craft. Thankfully, I pretty much live on Pinterest. This may be the least serious of my points, but it does need to be mentioned (mostly because I have this amazing picture of the craft I did with my sister-mom and I literally just got back from doing a craft with my sisters, so I guess it's a pretty big part of my life...)

3. Service Rocks

Courtesy of Alpha Gamma Delta at RMC
    My parents have done a great job of instilling the importance of service in my life. Alpha Gamma Delta's personal philanthropy is the Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation which works to promote awareness for diabetes, helps sisters in need, and provides leadership training. Each sorority has it's own philanthropy and service projects, but overall Greek Life as a whole promotes service. Maybe it is just giving two hours of your time to collect money to donate to diabetes research, but that small act can make a big impact, and I firmly believe that's important. We need to work together to better the world, and of course that doesn't require joining a sorority, but it is one of the things that drew me to it. I don't think people talk enough about the good things Greek Life does, and honestly I barely knew anything about philanthropy in the community before I went through recruitment. However, each sorority is passionate about their cause and loves working together towards a common goal. Philanthropy night I got to make a bracelet to send to a child with diabetes and write a note of encouragement as well. I looked around at all of the other bracelets and notes, and realized that these tiny string bracelets were going to make a big impact in someone's life, and to me that's one of the greatest things about service. It can be as simple as a bead on twine and a few words and really make someone's day, and since Alpha Gam promises to do just that, I am proud to be a sorority girl.

4. A Caring Community

Usually when I feel down, I can almost guarantee that I will also feel like I am completely alone. I am not sure why, but my mind always convinces me that no one else has ever experienced the same thing I am, and no one could ever understand. However, as I have learned at my Alpha meetings, so many of my sisters have felt and experienced the same things as me. We have all felt insecure, we have all worried about a test, and felt the same way about a variety of different things. Whether it is the VP of Scholarship giving out "Hersheys for Hundreds" or just a conversation over lunch with one of your sisters, your sorority cares about you and supports you. We want to see each other succeed and be the best version of themselves they can be.  And that means no hazing! I think a lot of people have this idea that sorority recruitment is filled with hazing and other cruel rituals, but my sisters and I have pledged to never hurt a sister, because we're family and we love each other.  Your sorority sisters will be there for you no matter what (refer back to loyalty) and you will always be there for them. Sometimes it's just a run to Starbucks because you are about to pull an all-nighter, or maybe it's checking in on you after a big test. Sorority members care about their sisters, and that is something everyone needs in college. Regardless, I know I always have someone to get lunch or watch American Horror Story with. Maybe a sorority isn't for you, but make sure you find a solid support network somewhere on campus.

5. Scholarship
Courtesy of Alpha Gam at St. Joseph's College Instagram

At my school, students in Greek Life tend to have higher GPAs than their non-greek counterparts and are more likely to graduate. This applies to the majority of the schools across the US. The reason? All sororities and fraternities require a minimum GPA for members and the school requires a minimum GPA for the entire chapter to remain in good standing. We have required study hours depending on your GPA, academic families to help you study and talk about your classes, and study halls held at the house. AGD specifically strives for Pi, meaning any sister or whole organization that reaches a GPA of 3.14 is recognized for academic achievement. As a huge nerd, I love my sororities commitment to doing the best we can academically. Many people, including my parents, were worried I would get too busy and would neglect my grades, but that is the exact opposite of what my organization wants. As sisters, we want to see each other succeed, so why we would we set each other up for failure? Instead we work together, and I think that's pretty awesome.

6. The Spirit Level is Real

Every college student knows how obsessed a sorority girl is with her organization. Personally, I get my spirit honestly from my mom, who instantly bought me a "squirrels crossing" sign, when she found out I accepted my bid (our mascot is a squirrel). However, I think it makes sense. If you join an organization, you should be proud and excited about it. Sorority girls are constantly throwing what they know (the picture to the left was literally less than a month after I accepted my bid. Already so stoked!), wearing our letters, and bid day is a whole new level of spirit. We have songs we sing together, chants we shout at the top of our lungs, and our rituals that make us unique. I'm a former cheerleader, daughter of a former cheerleader, and a fan of any excuse to sing. Of course the match made sense! Even if singing and cheering aren't your things, there's something about being with your sisters that makes it worth it. When we chant or wear our letters, we become a part of something bigger than ourselves, a history (that will be mentioned later) of sisterhood, and a moment that has been shared by thousands of other women. So maybe you want to laugh because singing and cheering seem stupid or silly, but in the grand scheme of my chapter and the international organization, it's kind of a big deal that's been going on for a long time. 
Courtesy of

7. We Have History

As I stated above, many of the things a sorority does were started years before the current members were even born. On May 30, 1904, Alpha Gamma Delta was founded at Syracuse. Not everything we value was created then, but overtime we picked up the songs we sing, our rituals were written, and for over a hundred years women have felt the same sisterhood that I feel. That's pretty cool. My father loves history, so it was no surprise when I talked to him after bid day and he instantly spit out the year Alpha Gam was founded. For me and him, there's something powerful about history, and when you realize that, not only are you sharing these moments with your current sisters, but also the alum (Two of which I personally know, and that turned out amazing, so there must be something right about sorority life!), it makes everything feel more important. Getting lunch with your sisters isn't groundbreaking by any means, but when generations of sisters have been doing that, it really magnifies the situation.

Me and my favorite DZs (and Hannah, who's not in Greek Life... yet)

8.  Greek Life = Small Town

Personally, I come from a small town and a smaller high school. So even though my college is relatively small, it feels big to me sometimes. When I went through  recruitment, I met so many girls that I probably would not have met otherwise, including my future sisters. Amazingly enough, some of my sisters live twenty minutes away from my hometown, yet I probably would never have known that, had I not joined my sorority. But it's not just my sisters that I get to wave to as I'm walking to class. I see the Delta Zeta girls and the Kappa Alpha Thetas that I know, and even we share a bond despite our different organizations. My statistics partner is in Kappa Sigma, I have a few friends who've accepted a bid to Sig Ep, and the members of Theta Chi even brought us cookies the other day (which I'm now realizing I never got one....). We may not all hang out together, but we kind of know each other, and again we support each other. The sororities love working together under Panhellenic Council, and we attend other organizations philanthropic events, because we want to encourage each other. That's not to say we only associate together, though Greek Life has gotten a bad rep for that. Most of my closest friends are not involved in Greek Life (yet. Wait until they read this blog post, then we'll see. Kind of kidding...). My point is, Greek Life allowed me to meet and interact with people, that an introvert like me would never try and do on my own. I'm thankful for that.

This was posted on my Facebook wall when I accepted
my bid and it still cracks me up.

9. Life-Long Leaders 

There are so many different opportunities to take on a leadership roll in a sorority. These weekend, I'm going to a New Member Academy, where I'm going to learn how to do just that. As I've said multiple times, your sisters want to see you be the best you can be, and that might mean electing you to a leadership position. Not to mention, as your training to be a better leader with your current sisters, you also have a network of alumna who are willing to reach out and help you become the best you can be. Of course everyone has different strengths, and with the variety of rolls that need to be filled in a sorority, there's room for every personality type to find their niche. Maybe one day you'll be the president, a vice president, or in charge of the house. Regardless, sororities give you a chance to grow your leadership skills and learn how to work with others. Take for instance, Alpha Gam Alumna Karen McCullah Lutz who went on to write amazing movies such as, "10 Things I Hate About You," "Legally Blonde," She's The Man," and "The House Bunny." I want to be her when I grow up, and I know Alpha Gamma Delta is going to have the same positive effect on me as it did on her, no matter where I end up.

10. Diversity

Yes, we could do better at this point, and some work harder than others to achieve this, but regardless I want to point out that we aren't all the same. I know there is a need to improve this, but I also don't consider all of my sisters to be exactly identical people. We all come from different backgrounds, like different things, look differently, and that makes us stronger as an organization. We each have our own quirks and differences that make us unique, and I like being a part of that. One of my sisters and I both feel strongly about supporting Mental Health Awareness, and that brought us together. Some of my sisters actually know where my hometown is or live extremely close, so we bond over that. Other times, I only share being a member of Alpha Gamma Delta with a sister, and that's still great. These differences have taught me more about the world around me and shown me how to communicate and work with those who aren't like me, something everyone should learn. Our differences make us stronger.

11. Family Matters 

Maybe this just summarizes everything I've said above, but it has to be mentioned. The Alpha Gam girls are my family, and I'm so grateful for that. They encourage me, see the best in me, and are always willing to lend a helping hand. We study together, have fun together, and grow together. They're not perfect, but I love each of them all the same and hopefully vice-versa. I have sister-mom who welcomes my random messages about TV shows, an initiation class that encourages each other as we approach our test, and a whole group of women who say hello whenever they say me. I may still be a new member, but my sisters have made me feel right at home, and whether we're all trying to fit on the most comfortable couch in the world or in the study, talking more than studying, we're a family, and that's pretty hard to beat. Regardless of organization or school, I know my fellow sorority girls can agree that gaining a family is the best part.

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