Bright green foliage in one picture catches my eye. Campus was in full bloom back in May. Fourteen young women in black robes are piled in around a sign. But to me, they’re not just fourteen young women. These are my sisters. I think about the one who is married, and the one who was without power in her apartment this morning. The one that I danced around a dorm room with and the one that I used to see as competition. I think about the ones who have been setting up their classrooms to teach and the one who moved to the east coast after graduation. I lived in close quarters with these women. I spent countless Sunday nights and Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Fridays with them.
When I joined Delta Zeta I barely knew some of them. But they welcomed me with open arms and open hearts into their sisterhood. They shared their lives and joys and sorrows with me. They gave me friendship and acceptance and love and understanding. I found not only tolerance for women who I may not have spent much time with before, but love and appreciation for them as well. All of these ladies have overcome their own challenges in life, all of them are passionate and hard working, and I never would have known that without joining Delta Zeta. My time in a sorority taught me all about interpersonal relationships. It taught me to see value in other people. It taught me to build other women up, not tear them down. Delta Zeta taught me courage and let me practice it with a supportive community there to back me up. And just look at how many honors stoles there are in that picture! These ladies taught me integrity – to take pride in my work and to be the best I possibly could be. And to them, I will be forever grateful!
Just yesterday I saw the most heartbreaking article pop up on my timeline. It is titled Why I Didn’t Rush. And every single point the author made was filled with judgment and disdain. So although, I feel that I have made my point clear above about what a great experience my collegiate days in Delta Zeta were, I would like to address her article further. My problem with her article was not that she did not want to join a sorority or that she was vocalizing it. My issue was that she said some really negative things that were so contrary to what I experienced. So here is my critique:
“1. I Knew I Didn’t Belong”
The author says that she knew she did not belong because of what clothes she wore, because she doesn’t drink, and because she didn’t want to pretend to be anything. I think many women don’t think they belong in Greek life. I really do. And that’s because they have this idea of who they are as an individual and who a sorority will make them become. But we always say: “Individually Unique, Together Complete!” Because in Delta Zeta, we’re not all “rail-skinny”. And if you are, that’s great! And in Delta Zeta, we don’t all go to Zumba and wear wedge heels. We do whatever activities we want, we join whatever friend groups we want, and we support each other unconditionally. To those who feel they don’t belong – in Delta Zeta Pi Chapter, everyone belongs.
“2. Sorority Moms”
Oh goodness gracious, would my sisters’ moms be offended. Thank goodness the author said that not all sorority moms are like she has depicted, because I don’t think any of ours are. They are small business owners and accountants and overall hard working individuals. They don’t look down on other people and I think that’s why they raised us to be the women that we are.
“3. The monayyyyyy”
I get this. Money is a valid reason to be wary of joining a sorority or fraternity. However, there were scholarships and other ways to make it work. We always did our best to help each other out in this area. I had sisters who supported themselves entirely through college. So I get it.
“4. College was a clean slate”
Heck yes it was! And just like you, miss author, I was a dork in high school, too! Honors classes and theater don’t necessarily emulate popularity. And in college, I continued down my dorky little path, sorority sisters in tow! We certainly were not rich and happy all the time. Do you know how many of my sisters suffer depression or anxiety? Times would get really tough. All the more reason to have each other. Sorority life should be authentic and real friendship, not fake smiles and fake friends.
“5. The social gatherings were a ‘nah'”
I am as introverted as they come. And so is my big. And we would often times sit on the side or in the back of meetings and gatherings of our sisters for comfort. But we were never forced into mixers and formals. Sometimes, I hid in my room and watched Parks and Rec and never came out, while my roommate watched Bob’s Burgers in her bed and didn’t come out. Just because you see us all together in those settings does not mean that that’s all we do.
“6. The process of rushing”
Ay, yo girl, rushing is not one size fits all. I didn’t rush with the rest of the freshman either! I went through sorority recruitment as a junior in college, with other upperclassman and I already had a base knowledge for the girls in each sorority. I went to two parties, where the girls laughed with me because I revealed during a game that I didn’t brush my teeth that morning. And had I had a headache that morning, I probably would have said, “Sorry I didn’t come tonight. What’d I miss?” Because that’s what you do when you miss meetings.
“7. The stigma”
And here you are, perpetuating the stigma. *Sigh* Well, if you must know, you and your friends probably have some kind of stigmatized reputation on your campus. People probably see you in the cafeteria and make a snap judgment of you guys, too! But I am here to tell you that because of an alumna of my sorority, I got my first job after college AT A CHURCH. They did not say, “Oh, she is a DELTA ZETA sister? That’s not good.” Instead, they were excited and trusting. The alumna and her husband let me live with them and they are the reason I am where I am now. Sororities are a great way to network!
“8. Time Commitment”
Oh, do I get that! And I had sisters, including myself, who prioritized other things above Delta Zeta. And sometimes that conflicts with the women who prioritize Delta Zeta the highest. But my theory is: You will put your time where you want to and nobody is going to change or dictate that. So if you don’t want to be in a sorority because of the time commitment, then the reality is you just don’t want to be in a sorority. If you don’t like the time commitment of a romantic relationship, then really you just don’t want a romantic relationship. The things that you want will take your time and you’ll be fine with it. It’s that simple.
I never once looked down on my friends who did not join a sorority, because I was them for two years! And I also don’t think that those outside of the sorority should look down on those who made a decision to join one. Don’t knock it from the outside ’til you’ve tried it.
To the young men and women who will moving to campus any time now: GOOD LUCK! College is what you make it. Remember why you’re there.