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Sorority Life: You Get Out What You Put In

Sorority Life: An Alum Looks Back
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Way back in the day, I was an active member of the Upsilon Chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau at the University of Central Arkansas. And I loved it—most of the time.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you it was like a fun recruitment video every single day because it absolutely wasn’t. There were times when one of the girls would really piss me off and I didn’t want to go to an event because I was tired or stressed or whatever. It wasn’t all cute t-shirts, parties, and hugs.

Would I do it all over again, though? Hell yes. Are there things I would do differently? Absolutely.

Hindsight is 20/20

Now, I said I was an “active” member. Technically, yes. I went to chapter meetings each week and paid my membership dues each semester. But sometimes I checked out personally and emotionally. Actually, I was pretty checked out the entire spring semester of sophomore year and fall semester of junior year. I honestly don’t remember why I was so disengaged in the social aspect of the sorority, but I was.

And now that sorority life is several years in my rearview mirror, I wish I hadn’t been. I missed countless opportunities to become closer to some of the girls and meet the members of other sororities and fraternities. To this day, when someone asks me if I know so-and-so from Greek life, I don’t have a clue who they’re talking about and just say, “the name sounds familiar.” It doesn’t.

Being so disengaged in Greek life is one of my biggest regrets from college. Now I tell anyone going Greek to make themselves be social, no matter what the occasion is. I should have gone to every single philanthropy event, pep rally, and just-for-fun sisterhood event on the schedule.

I was told when I pledged that you get out what you put in, and that is so true. I didn’t start to get a ton out of the sorority until I was all up in it.

Girls Will Be Girls

Of course, sorority life comes with a few challenges. It’s a large group of girls, after all. There’s going to be some drama and everyone’s going to get worked up over it. Yeah, it’s a little annoying, but it blows over and things go back to normal. Plus, sorority sisters know to have each other’s backs. Come boys, clothes, or chapter executive elections, your sorority sisters know that your relationship is more important than anything else.

That’s the thing about joining a sorority: You’re cemented to those girls. I know it sounds silly, but if you’ve ever played team sports you understand. You’re a group—a squad, if you will. One person’s struggle is everyone else’s struggle. You help each other, support each other, and fight for each other when needed.

My best friends to this day are from my sorority, and they know me better than anyone else (except my parents). That’s not to say there aren’t times when we bicker and annoy each other. We’re still human. Nonetheless, they’ll be in my wedding (if Prince Charming will ever hurry up and introduce himself), be my kids’ “aunts,” and probably be with me on a beach catcalling hot, young men when we’re all in our eighties.

The Life Lessons

Most importantly: I learned so much from being in a sorority. I learned a lot about politics of course, but also about friendship and bravery and making an effort. Even the lack of certain things, like socializing, taught me the importance of socializing.

When you’re in a sorority, you do things you probably wouldn’t do otherwise, like joining certain clubs or helping out in fundraisers because your sisters are, and it helps you grow as a person. It expands your horizons. It shows you how to plug into a community. These are skills that have been priceless in the post-college world where new friends aren’t the easiest thing to come by.

I also learned time management, how to chill out every now and then, and how to cope with stress. (Which can all be achieved with a good planner to keep track of everything going on.) I gained valuable experience in high-emotion situations (ever been in a room of 60+ girls when plans get changed?). I made connections with people who are still a daily part of my life (I even work with a sorority sister).

So yes, the entire experience was worth every dramatic event, hectic schedule, and dollar. I’m proud to be an Alpha Tau. It’s a pride that everyone should at least test out before say never would they ever.

My time in Greek life helped make me the independent person I am today. It gave me my best friends. It forced me to stop living in my comfort zone. And it gave me a whole hell of a lot of memories to reminisce on with sisters when we get together. You won’t understand if you never experience it, and trust me when I say, don’t knock it ‘till you try it!

Follow Terra on Instagram: @terrabrown3

Last modified on January 6th, 2017

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