August 25 2016

Joining a Sorority Changed My Life


Let’s be real here, sororities have a pretty distinct reputation. I’m talking clicking fingers, blonde girls, low GPA’s, meaningless gossip and Barbie Doll physiques (only the hottest, of course). Thanks to Hollywood, the media, in general, and possibly a little bit of truth, this image has become universal — so much so that I, the clueless Australian, avoided joining a sorority at all costs in order to avoid losing brain cells and replacing them with high heels and tank tops.

One semester later, however, I turned back on my very stubborn word — “I WILL NEVER JOIN A SORORITY!” — and did just that; I joined a sorority.

5 months later and I can honestly say that impulse decision was the best decision I have ever made.

On a campus that was overwhelmingly large, excitingly busy and conspicuously fast-paced, it was easy to fall into a whirlpool of faces, names and classes I didn’t fully understand. Before I joined Greek life, my friendships were very trapped within boundaries — those girls in my classes whom I chatted to and sat with and texted about homework were strictly ‘classroom friends’ — we never got dinner, or watched movies, or explored LA together. This wasn’t intentional, and it wasn’t my fault — it was natural. The girls I lived with were friendly faces in the corridor, small talk in the bathroom and the occasional board game on a Sunday night, but that was all.

Once again, I continuously wished for more, tried for more, and found the same separation over, and over, and over again.

I nearly dropped out of college.
I nearly went home to Australia.
I was at breaking point, and I was lost.

Without sounding cheesy (although I suppose that’s hard to do here), the house that I joined, and more importantly, the girls in it, literally saved me from chronic pain and isolation.

The day that I joined, more than 30 girls sent me handwritten notes simply to say that they were excited to get to know me better, giving me their number in case I ever wanted to hang out or needed help. The day that I got my ‘big sister’ in the house, I ran through a set of clues that led me to a room where she jumped out from the closet and pulled me into a bear-hug, ecstatic to welcome me into her family, her friends, and her life.

Yet, you never realize how much support you have until you need it.

Just recently, I had the worst two days in a long time — everything was going wrong, my luggage from Australia was stolen, I said goodbye to my family, I wasn’t sleeping, and that night, I was forced to leave my apartment in LA at 11:45 p.m. — toothbrush in hand, slippers on feet — and find somewhere else to sleep for the night. In a flurry of tears and feeling completely vulnerable on the sidewalk at nearly midnight, I went to my sorority house.

When I walked in, no less that seven girls offered me their own beds to sleep in for the night, because they genuinely cared about my own wellbeing just as much, if not more, than their own. My ‘big sister’ laid on her bed with me and let me cry it out, before dishing advice and hugs until I felt at home, and came to the realization that, after everything that had gone wrong, I had a house full of girls who would willingly drop everything to help me in a time of need, in a heartbeat.

That is special,
That is rare.

Like I said before, I was skeptical. And I’ve also told you that now, in hindsight, I know for certain that finding these girls and calling this house my home has allowed me to rediscover confidence within myself, to rediscover what it feels like to enjoy challenges, and to laugh from the deepest, truest part of your body.

I’m not saying that sororities are for everyone, or that all experiences are the same — they’re not. People are different, and experience is relative.

What I am saying, to all of you high school seniors, college freshmen or even just girls curious about Greek life, is that you don’t know what you’re saying no to.

Give it a chance, give yourself a chance, to grow alongside your future friends for life. They’re there for you.  What have you got to lose?

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