I was what every freshman girl in college was: new, bright-eyed, and looking for friends. Although my campus was relatively small, I wanted to find my niche. I had grown up being surrounded by strong women in dance and cheer-leading, and I wanted to find a home away from home with just those kind of women.This is why I decided to go through sorority recruitment. Looking back, this is still one of the BEST decisions I have ever made! Coming into school, I had leadership skills that were there but needed to be developed. I was afraid of conflict and lacked self-confidence. The thought of talking to someone I barely knew was terrifying. Today, the remnants of that young girl are gone. I am a leader, bold, confident, and can have a conversation with anyone about anything. In short, my sorority experience prepared me for the real world more than anything else I have ever been through. Here are the 17 reasons why:
1. Communication Skills
What better way could you possibly learn to communicate with different types of people than in a group over 100 very diverse women? Throughout my four year membership, I was held accountable for communicating through email why I could not be at events to our standards board, had to work with people who had very different leadership styles than me, and had to learn how to tailor how I phrased things to make sure that my message was conveyed effectively.
2. Team Building
Sororities are all about team building and sisterhood. Two of my favorite things about my sorority were how competitive we were, and our weekly “sisterhood circle.” Our competitiveness to win fraternity events and excel on campus brought us closer together. Our weekly sisterhood circle (we would literally stand in a circle together, and each person had a chance to talk about a conflict they were experiencing or something great that had happened to them) have each of our insight into others lives.
3. Conflict Resolution
I don’t think it’s possible to have a group of 40-100 people( much less women) without some conflict. Since sororities are based around sisterhood, you are pushed to resolve conflicts effectively for the sake of sisterhood.
5. Chances for Leadership
If you want a leadership position, all you have to do is apply or ask to join a chairwoman’s committee. The confidence I gained holding my first position, parliamentarian (aka the bouncer for meetings) encouraged me to continue to seek out leadership positions and join various committees. All sororities aim to build strong women, and developing leadership skills is part of that.
6. Time Management
The most valuable lesson I learned from my sorority days was time management. In any given week, I would have 2-8 mandatory events, work, full-time class load, and somehow work in a social schedule, physical fitness, eating, and sleep. On top of that, I was required to maintain my GPA above a certain level to be able to attend fun sorority events like formal, complete 25 philanthropic hours each semester, and was required by the Panhellenic Council at my university to be involved in an organization outside of my sorority. To say that sorority women are masters of time management would be an understatement.
7. The Value of a Dollar
While I will fight the argument that sorority women “pay for their friends” till my last dying breath, sorority membership does require a financial commitment. Dues can range anywhere from $400-$6,000 depending on where you go to school, and I can confidently say that the majority of sorority women pay for their membership (and sometimes even tuition on top of that) by themselves. On top of your commitment to pay your dues, at times you have to pay for mandatory purchases, and of course, you want to buy every cute T-shirt your merchandise chair whips up. It adds up, and you can bet my sorority taught me the value of all the money I had to spend vs. the time and effort I had to put in.
8. Endless Networking Opportunities
The majority of our nation’s presidents, congress, judges, and CEO’s are alumni of fraternities and sororities. In my chapter alone, one of our advisors/alumnae was named the top “long term investment adviser in Texas” last year. We have other alumni who own their companies, are on the boards of various organizations, and who are very well known within the community and the state of Texas. These women are always willing to help out a sister whether it’s a job, internship, or a recommendation letter. How could you not want a powerful force of women behind you?
9. Finding Your Niche
I can confidently say that without my sorority, I would not have been able to out what inspires me in life. After holding the merchandise and social media chairwoman positions, I knew that not only did I poses a knack for writing, but I was pretty darn good at design and that I was a social media superstar. This led me to shift my focus from pre-med to marketing, and it led me to a career path that I love! Plenty of my women go into sorority life with either no real leadership experience or career path, and because of their sororities graduate as confident career driven leaders.
10. The Value of Helping Others Through Community Service
During my collegiate years, my sorority gave me the chance to serve various organizations like The Special Olympics, the Unicorn Center, The S. June Smith Center, Military Heroes, The American G.I Forum, Wounded Warrior Project, ALS Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network, Breast Cancer Research, The San Antonio Food Bank, and countless other organizations that help our community. In fact, in recruitment, I chose my sorority based mainly on their dedication to people with developmental and physical disabilities. I’ve sold food on campus, panhandled in the freezing rain and humid heat on the streets of San Antonio, supported my sisters in pageants, danced for 18 hours in a dance marathon, danced for hours at a Halloween party at the Unicorn Center, played watermelon foosball, and got to hand the Special Olympics of Texas a $25,000 check (money we raised in 3 days by the way). I wouldn’t have had a single one of these amazing and rewarding experiences without my sorority.
11. You Gain A Network of Loyal Friends
When they say “you’ll meet your bridesmaids and best friends,” they are not lying. Out of my ten bridesmaids, 4 of those women are sorority sisters. Not only do they have the same values as me, but they have also been there through my best and my worst, and they are going to be fabulously and wildly successful women in their rights. Knowing that these friendships that I formed will be a constant throughout the up’s and down’s of my life is empowering and comforting.
12. You Expand Your Social & Cultural Circle
Contrary to popular belief, sorority women are not a group of cookie-cutter blondes who love to party and are out for their MRS degrees. My sisters are some of the most dynamic and diverse group of women that you will ever meet. They opened my eyes to their cultures, ways of life, thought processes, political opinions, and anything and everything else you can imagine. Because of my sorority experience, I am a more open, understanding, and culturally educated woman.
13. Holding Yourself and Those Around You to a Higher Standard
Being a part of a sorority means upholding the values and standards of your organization. Thanks to mine, I was taught early on the importance of keeping your social media professional, being a woman of poise and purpose, and treating others with respect. I was also taught the importance of holding my sisters accountable to those same high standards (especially my “little sisters”). When you graduate and get a real job, you are required to uphold the values of the organization, and I can tell you that sorority women don’t have problems adjusting to that.
14. Encouragement of Lifelong Learning and Growth
While every sorority has their own creed, values, and aims- we all have one thing in common, we want our members and sisters to grow during their collegiate years, but also take what they have learned and continue to grow in the real world.
15. Building a Professional Wardrobe
“On Monday’s we wear pin attire”- every sorority woman ever. Dressed in a badge of membership is special and to be able to wear your badge and attend sorority chapter meetings you are required to dress in business attire. Thanks to my collegiate years I’m the proud owner more business suits than Hillary Clinton owns pant suits.
16. Being Part of Something That’s Bigger Than Yourself
You learn quickly in a sorority that you cannot be selfish, stubborn, or stuck in your ways for the group to thrive. At the end of the day, this organization and it’s health means more to you than petty arguments, differences of opinion, or your gain.
17. Building Conversation Skills
I could write a whole book on how participating in formal recruitment with your sorority makes you an all around better individual. First and foremost, it teaches you how to have meaningful conversations with complete strangers, people you don’t particularly like, or people you would not normally ever have conversations with. It teaches you couth, how to be a better listener than a speaker, and how to read people’s body language to gauge how they’re feeling. Recruitment is everything. After I had unlocked the key to talking to random strangers about anything from their pet turtles to traumatic life experiences, my confidence skyrocketed, and I became one of the best recruiters in the chapter (hair flip emoji). How is this relevant? Sorority women know how to rock interviews and land jobs and internships because conversational skills come second nature to us.