It’s safe to say that my college experience would have been completely different if I hadn’t joined my sorority. I still don’t know if it was overall good or overall bad. It kind of feels like a wash. I don’t know if I think that my sorority enriched my life so much that it was worth everything I put into it. It started off great. I got my bid. Got my big. I loved the chapter I joined. But after four years of growing and changing, the chapter I left was not the one that I accepted a bid from in Fall 2012. The chapter that I graduated from was corrupt. The sisterhood was a façade. Our sisters were bullying each other while other groups on campus bullied us too.
Freshman year was amazing. I joined an amazing group of girls who I admired and looked up to more than I even knew was possible. My big was the coolest person I’ve ever met in my whole life. She and I didn’t really have much in common, but maybe that’s why we got along so well. What we did have in common is that we were both from out of state. So she totally knew the struggle I was facing when I didn’t get to go home to my family. My grandbig was a senior when I entered the chapter. She was on EC. She was the leader that I aspired to be some day. I loved almost every girl in my pledge class. We were small so we were tight. We stuck together through everything. Second semester of my freshman year, my big took another little which stung a little bit, but could having a twin really be that bad?
Sophomore year was full of my sorority. I lived with 3 other girls in my pledge class which was great. I held many positions including VP. I organized meetings and helped officers plan their events. I really enjoyed being on EC. I loved the responsibility, but the president at the time was constantly undermining me at every turn. She was a complete control freak and refused to let me do any of my work without her looking over my shoulder, but I understood. If I was president of this chapter, I might do the same, and I really hoped I would find out some day. I took a little my sophomore year. It was kind of an interesting scenario because my little was actually older than me, she just decided to rush as a sophomore instead of a freshman. She and I got along great! We had many classes together and we could enjoy each other in and out of sorority life.
Junior year is when everything hit the fan. First of all, I decided to take two littles, which I thought meant that I was doing something nice. This way two girls get their first choice of a big, right? Wrong. It just created a tension and a competition between those two girls for who could paint me the bigger canvas or who could write the longer Instagram caption for my birthday. I lived in an on-campus apartment with two of my pledge sisters and one other sister. When the third sister literally went crazy and threatened to hurt one of us, she moved out and one of my littles moved in. One of the littles in competition for my love. This didn’t bode well for ANYONE. I ran for president of the sorority that year and lost… to my big’s other little. To the girl who joined late, stole my big, and then stole the presidency from me. I accepted a different position and became the New Member Educator. Losing the presidency sent me into a huge downward spiral. I didn’t want to deal with any of it anymore. I didn’t want to live with my pledge sisters anymore. I was tired of putting up with their mess and their noise.
Eventually, though, I got over it. Senior year, I became the New Member Educator that I remember having as a Freshman. The one who is so peppy and responsible and inspiring and I initiated all but two girls who received bids. I took ANOTHER little senior year because the chapter that was once so full of life had become apathetic. Nobody wanted to be a big sister. Nobody wanted to put the effort in to have a position. Everyone just wanted to wear the letters around campus and not have to do any work. At a big school that is probably possible, but in a school as small as mine and a chapter as small as ours, everyone has to do a little bit of work to keep the chapter afloat. I lived senior year with the same girls as junior year – two pledge sisters, and one of my littles. Everything was fine until we all received our littles who were also the new members I was educating. These girls were brats. These girls were bullies. These girls had never made it out of middle school. They were all about spreading rumors and making petty comments behind everyone’s backs. One of my roommate/pledge sisters littles tweeted something so mean about me when she was upset one day that I almost dropped my sorority after eight semesters. After four years of the work I put in. After the amount of money I poured in. After all the presents I gave to my littles and roommates – to have someone PUBLICLY bully me ON SOCIAL MEDIA was the last straw. I reported the tweet she sent to our (adult) advisers who assured me that they took care of it. I know nothing of her punishment, nothing of what compelled her to attack me, and nothing of how to force myself to get over it. This all happened in May and it still keeps me up at night.
So as you can see, my sorority experience was less than ideal. I used to tell people that a sorority could be whatever you made it. If you wanted it to be rewarding, it could be but you would have to work hard. If you wanted it to be a cakewalk, it could be but you really wouldn’t get anything out of it. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. I worked very hard for my sorority and for my sisters and still got burnt in the end.
If you plan on joining a sorority, that’s great. You probably won’t have the same experience I did. But if you are on the fence and you aren’t sure that you really want to put so much time and money on the line to get scorched in the end, do some thinking and some soul searching. Plenty of girls make it through school without joining a sorority and they turn out just fine. Always remember – professional fraternities are always an option.