From the singing and clapping by the massive front door as a welcome ritual to last minute formal dress shopping frenzies to bursting over the news that you got a Little, being in a sorority is full of unique—and to the outsider, eyebrow raising experiences.
When I first joined Alpha Phi as a freshman in college, I was asked multiple times by old friends from my high school days if I was sure what I had got myself into. They asked questions about what the process was like to join a sorority; they commented with rolled eyes about the stereotypes and challenged me to explain my choices to them. They were curious if it was a party culture and demanded to know if it was “like the movies.”
Now, after being an active-member in Alpha Phi for four years, I can openly laugh at the ignorance of these conversations, because being Greek is nothing like that. Being Greek isn’t partying every single night of the week, although it is being willing to drop everything and get to your sister’s side any minute of the day with a warm hug and a Diet Coke when emergencies come up. Being Greek is more than a perfectly organized Lilly Pulitzer planner, color coded by function. It’s having a sister there you can call for help when your math homework is confusing. Being Greek doesn’t mean using daddy’s credit card to pay for a third Starbucks of the day; it means raising money—thousands and thousands of dollars—for the Alpha Phi Foundation and for women who suffer from heart disease.
Being Greek is a chance to meet people—people who want you to succeed on campus and in life. When I joined Alpha Phi, I was involved on campus at a very minor level. I met women in my own chapter who urged and pushed me to join organizations that fit my talents, my passions and my dream-career. They encouraged me because they were already involved; they brought me to meetings for different organizations and eagerly welcomed me into more than just Alpha Phi. I finally felt like I had a place on my college campus and I had room to grow. And, more than my campus, I’ve formed a sisterhood with more than just Alpha Phi. At an airport, it’s not uncommon to casually strike up a conversation with another woman waiting to catch her flight proudly wearing Greek letters. I know in the future that I will proudly meet others who were members of the Greek system in my work environment, and see that they are lawyers and doctors, and watch them on television.
As a member of the Greek community, I’ve heard it all. The good, the bad, and the mean. I’ve responded with boldness towards opinions from others. Being Greek is more than a club or an organization that is only four years, it’s for life.
Julianne is a member of the Beta Sigma chapter at the University of Utah.To read more about her, click here.