As my final undergraduate year approaches, I constantly find myself reflecting on the memories I have made here at West Chester.
Through the good, the bad and the incredibly embarrassing, I know that there was one part of my experience that taught me the most.
That experience was through a sorority.
I know what you are thinking: This is just another article about how great sorority life is. I am here to say it is not. This is not about how amazing or great, terrible or terrifying sorority life is, but rather about the true, actual account of my reality as a sister of Greek life.
Like most of the undergrad population, I started out my freshman year like the contestants on “Naked and Afraid,” vulnerable and completely terrified. I soon began to make friends with my roommate and people across the hall, hoping to form forever friendships.
A few weeks into the fall semester, girls in our hallway began to hang signs on their doors with strange letters that had no meaning to me with cutesy ribbons and pretty decorations hanging off of them.
My friends and I would sit in our rooms and pick fun at the girls who had the decorations on their doors and how snobby we thought they were. We would joke that we could never handle that many girl friends and have that many events to go to.
As the semester went on, I met many sorority women in my classes and began to see them for who they were and not their affiliation. I grew jealous of the fun T-shirts and accessories they sported around campus and the formal dresses they sported at the end of each semester to their date function.
Throughout the year, I contemplated many clubs and organizations on campus, but could not find the right fit. By the end of freshman year, I thought, “Maybe I could do it.”
After an entire summer of contemplation, I decided to take the plunge and register for fall recruitment.
Again, vulnerable and scared of what was to come, I finally received an email explaining the process and assigning me my recruitment counselor. Shortly thereafter, I got a text asking a group of us to come to the upcoming “Meet the Greeks” information event.
Not knowing any girls going through the same process at the time, I decided to brave it out alone. I walked into a crowded, loud room and felt more alone than ever. Everyone seemed to know each other or had someone to talk to. I quickly turned around until I heard someone call my name.
Jenah was my recruitment counselor and she had recognized me from my Facebook profile. We immediately hit it off and drifted into the sea of talking, laughing and smiling women.
I told Jenah my concerns about never having so many girl friends before and wanting to focus on my academics. She assured me that being in a Greek organization would not only develop friendships of all kinds, but it would also enhance my grades.
After the long and rigorous two weekends of recruitment were over, I finally belonged somewhere. I found an organization that I enjoyed so much I wanted to spend the next three years putting all I had into it.
Joining a sorority was hard at first. The first day was overwhelming, exciting and terrifying at the same time. I went home and seriously thought about what I had gotten myself into.
I continued to stick with it and eventually met two girls I became attached to. We would give each other rides to evening events, walk together to sisters’ houses and gossip about the latest drama in the new member class.
Soon it became clear to me that what Jenah said was right. My academics grew and I was developing friendships of all shapes and sizes. A sisterhood is a friendship like no other. Instead of having to deeply understand and know each others’ personalities, we had the ability to undeniably respect each other without any words ever spoken.
Although the sisterhood falters quite often, it teaches you that we are not all the same. We act differently, we deal with life differently, and we love differently. It teaches you the hardships of a hierarchical system and how to receive what you have rightfully earned.
Most importantly, a sorority teaches you that you will not love everyone you meet. It teaches you tolerance and maturity to confront the toughest of situations. It teaches you that any organization takes toughness of skin and confidence in yourself to succeed.
Erin King is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at EK800454@wcupa.edu.