An Open Letter to Anyone Thinking About Joining a Sorority
By Elizabeth Barrera
Joining a sorority is a pretty big decision to make, particularly because it’s not only a 4-year commitment (assuming you’re joining your freshman year), but one you’re agreeing to make for your lifetime as well. Becoming a part of the Greek community on your college campus shouldn’t only be an option to you because the letters are pretty, your prestige increases, and you gain new friends. If you’re doing it for the right reasons, you’re joining because you’re striving to make a change in your community and in yourself.
I didn’t know anything about sororities when I was a college freshman. All I was told by my high school teacher’s assistant was to check out Lambda Theta Nu. So my freshman year, I specifically looked for this organization when they were tabling the first two weeks of Fall 2011. I went to all their socials and events before going to the final informational.
I was living away from my hometown for the first time, so all the freedom of college came to me so suddenly, that my GPA dropped, resulting in my inability to submit an application (a reason I’m pretty embarrassed to admit to). Fast forward to my junior year in college and after hearing the hazing rumors, I decided to sit down with my roommate and discuss the pros and cons of joining. I went to numerous probates and gained clarification and insight from my roommate (current member). I then decided to finally submit my application.
In case you didn’t get the first hint, I didn’t join because I was peer pressured by my roommate. Nor did I join because “the letters were pretty” or I wanted to be popular. No. I joined because all the women in my organization were driven, passionate, and ambitious. “Can’t” wasn’t part of their vocabulary, just in the same way that it isn’t in mine. They didn’t allow men to define them. Nor did they allow machismo to break them. No. They believed that a strong woman breaks down social barriers created to destroy them. And they believed in developing others to do so.
That’s why I joined.
Here are a few tips if you’re looking to join a Greek organization on your campus. Do not join an organization if you do not feel passionate about it. Don’t join just for the letters. Join because you feel the fire inside of you when you’re being tested. Join because you know that you can contribute just as much to the organization as they’re contributing to building you. And join because you truly believe that both you and your organization need each other in one way or another to make that change.
Take all the time you need. There’s no shame in waiting until you’re ready and have done all the research necessary to ensure you’re making the right decision. And once you’re ready to submit your application, keep in mind that you’re tying yourself down to a huge time commitment that will embody resiliency - testing your confidence and endurance again and again. However, nothing worth your time will come easily, nor can it be bought. So once you’re being tested, remember all the sacrifices you’re making, and remind yourself why you’re making them. Whether it be for the post-grad network, the support system you’re gaining, or for the benefit of your personal growth - know you’re doing this for yourself and your community.
For me, joining a cultural sorority was one of the greatest choices I made in my college career. Particularly because I learned my worth as a woman, a professional, and as a minority in America. I learned that the color of my skin should never limit me or detain me from reaching my goals. During the process, I learned that I’m not as thin-skinned as I thought I was, and I learned that I was much stronger that what others saw me as.
You will be tested. But that’s where you’ll find the most beauty. You will learn to speak up and be heard, to listen without responding, and to be a rock for others to lean on when they’re feeling down. You will also learn that’s it’s okay to lean on others for support and that there’s no wrong in asking for help when you need it. You will learn the true meaning of sisterhood because you and the rest of the girls on your line will go through the same experience as you. You’ll learn to be there for one another, in both good and bad times, and you’ll realize that friendship and loyalty isn’t built in time but through each person’s character.
Joining my sorority was one of God’s biggest blessings for me. I defined my own character. I entered fragile and came out strong. And I learned the definition of love, trust, and passion. I can be biased about my organization, but if you’re an interest for an organization and don’t feel this way for them, then why are you joining?
Really think about your reasons for joining and remind yourself that everything in life requires dedication, commitment, and sacrifices. If you’re not willing to put in the work, then you won’t benefit from it at all. So the question is, can you take a challenge?