The Honest Truth About Being in a Sorority

We're taking a break from health and fitness over here today to share a peek into college life. When I was brainstorming ideas for the blog, I thought it might be interesting to share what it's like being in a sorority at an SEC school. But instead of just giving my two cents, I thought I would also enlist the help of some of my sorority sisters and friends in other sororities to give our experiences, tips, and advice. As a high school senior, I remember being so nervous and excited about joining a sorority, but also confused about what it really entailed, so if that is you, I hope you find this helpful. For reference, I am in the Gamma Iota chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Kentucky.

A special thank you to my sweet friends for taking time to write for me. I am so grateful to have found such intelligent, strong, beautiful women to call my best friends. This is a super long post, but I wanted to share each perspective as they are different.

Caroline, Kappa Alpha Theta (Atlanta, GA)
Coming to UK from out of state was a hard decision because I went out of my comfort zone and was going somewhere where I knew no one. I was terrified about going through recruitment and was afraid that no one would see me for who I was, I would get cut, and then I would be out of the sorority experience I longed for. No one knowing me and me knowing no one was the best thing that happened to me during recruitment. I was able to come in without any old reputations or stereotypes and be the true and honest me. Being a legacy was hard because I knew my mother wanted me to follow in her footsteps, and if I knew girls and listened to others I probably would of chosen that sorority. However, I decided to not listen to others and make the decision on my own… and it was the best decision! My advice to younger girls going through, would be to not let your old reputation or a sorority's reputation persuade you into making a decision. Just because your neighbor is one sorority, and “they are the best” doesn’t mean it will be the best for you! An open mind makes the world's difference. 

Erin (my Theta house roomie!), Kappa Alpha Theta (Lexington, KY)

Advice: Know coming in that sororities cost more than what is on the paper. On top of dues, there are T-shirts, Sweatshirts, and Philanthropy events that come out of pocket and they add up fast. This is important to talk about because no one wants to be blindsided when you get a bill, I know my dad was.
Pros: When you are on such a large campus it is nice to have a large, diverse group of friends. Joining a sorority is a great way to start college off with at least a few familiar faces. Coming in no one from my high school was in my sorority and it scared me not knowing anyone, but I never felt alone.
Cons: Rush is hard. You are emotionally and physically tired the whole time. I’m not going to lie, not getting asked back to a house you were really happy with hurts. It is extremely hard not to take it personal. But it’s hard from the other side. When a girl you want is going through recruitment you can push her really hard, but really you have no say. Just try to keep your head up, and always keep an open mind.
What I wish I knew coming in: You do not have to be best friends with everyone in your sorority. There are over 300 girls in most chapters and it’s okay to not get along with everyone. I wish I knew this going in because I was always too cautious to speak my mind. It’s okay to be annoyed and step away, there’s no harm in that.
Don’t expect to find your best friends right away. The first semester there is a lot of pressure to find your group and do everything together. During recruitment, everyone seems like best friends, like they are all so close. Don’t feel intimidated. Good friends take time, and eventually you will find your besties and you’ll look forward to the weekly tea times! 

Mary Kate, Kappa Alpha Theta (Owensboro, KY)
When I was going through recruitment, I was terrified. My best friend from back home had already gone through recruitment at her school and felt like she could coach me into one the best chapters on campus. I’m not completely socially inept, but I’m not the bubbliest girl you’ve ever met. I don’t dress like a mother stuck in the 90’s all the time, but I do most times. 
My advice to anyone going through rush is to stop and ask yourself what you want to be liked for and what you want to be noticed for. If it’s your Barbie-like style, then by all means, wear your Lilly Pulitzer and Jack Rodgers and kill the game, but if that’s not you, it doesn’t have to be. If you want to be remembered for loving Grey’s Anatomy even though you gave up after the first two episodes, go ahead and keep the act going, sister, but good luck because Grey’s fans are crazy. Although it can be a good conversation starter, there’s no shame in not owning a Netflix account. When you go through rush, you want to be remembered for YOU. The girl with the driest sense of humor, the girl who accidentally walked in wearing her UK flip-flips because she forgot her heels in her dorm, the girl who wore a bright blue jumpsuit when everyone wore a pink dress, the girl who’s majoring in Nature Conservation, or even the girl who talked about farting. (Erin did this during her recruitment, I don’t actually recommend this.) This was just a long drawn out way of saying to be yourself during recruitment or you won’t find the girls that make your sisterhood so special.

Maggie, Pi Beta Phi (Lexington, KY)
Recruitment and my sorority brought me so many great gifts freshman year. Things like making new friends, finding an individual place where I belong, getting away from the people I went to high school with, meeting all different kinds of people, and experiencing so much along the way. But sophomore year has been totally different, a lot of that new and excited feeling has worn off. I'm currently in a place where I feel lost in the shuffle, without that magical experience that's suppose to come with living in the house. I wouldn't change anything solely because of the joy it brought me last year, but my choices with my role in my sorority moving forward is still up in the air. 

Emma, Delta Delta Delta (Lexington, KY)
One of the biggest pros of being in a sorority to me is having friends all over campus wherever I go. I see people walking to class or eating near campus and saying hi to each girl makes the school seem so much smaller. If I could go back to recruitment, I think I would tell myself to calm down. You truly do have to trust the process because even though I did not get asked back to some of my favorite houses, the one I ended up in is the perfect fit for me. My advice for any girls going through recruitment is to chill out about the whole process, make sure you make friends with your Gamma Chi group, and talk with your roommate(s) about it all. They say not to, but when you are freaking out about everything, speaking to the person who is with you throughout recruitment always helped me. My roommate freshman year did not have a great experience rushing and got cut by the sorority she thought was home. It turned out that the sorority she got a bid from was meant for her all along. When we spoke about recruitment and the houses it really helped us understand, come to terms with, and figure out what we wanted. Another piece of advice I think is very important is to appreciate every house you visit and every girl you speak to. Not only will you maybe have class with some of the girls you talk to, but you really do make lots of forever friends outside your sorority.

My two cents:
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about sorority life is that the sole purpose of joining is the social aspect (ie Instagram photos, partying, etc.). While going to parties is fun and can be a small piece of college life whether you are involved in Greek life or not, being in a sorority is (or at least should be) about having the opportunity to serve your philanthropy (a specific charity/organization that your chapter will bring awareness to and donate time and money towards), participate in service, and have a set of standards and group of people that will hold you accountable as you grow and mature through college to become your best self. Being in a sorority does open so many doors for personal and professional opportunities and has given me a sense of structure and responsibility that I wouldn't have had otherwise. While, it is so easy to look at Instagram and get caught up in the superficial and sometimes petty nature of sororities (drama and pettiness are inevitable when you're in a group of over 300 girls), look at this as an opportunity to find a group where you can totally be yourself. If you put aside expectations and perceived reputations, you will find the right fit for you. I feel it is really important to not cheat yourself of that time and experience just because of what other people think.

While this post was meant to be general advice, there are a lot more topics we can go deeper into if that is something you are interested in. Don't hesitate to send me a message on Instagram with topic ideas or any questions at all. 


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