Greek Life

True Life: I Wanted To Be Elle Woods

Ever since the day I started my freshman year at my all-girls high school, I knew I wanted to be in a sorority. My best friend and I used to sit around during passing period and think about what sorority life would be like - if we would live in the houses or not, who our bigs would be, if we would ever be lavaliered into our favorite fraternity… every stereotype you could imagine for a sorority girl, my best friend and I dreamed about. Then, the unthinkable happened - we left for college. All of a sudden, the dreams and the jokes about where we’d end up were a reality. Since my school had deferred recruitment, I watched all of my high school classmates join sororities and lived vicariously through their social media accounts. Thetas, Gamma Phi Betas, Pi Phis, Zetas, Alpha Phis, DGs - you name it, my high school classmates had it covered. I watched the snap stories, saw the Instagram and Facebook posts, read the tweets of the girls I had spent the last 4 years with, as they were getting bids, and then bigs, and quickly acclimating to their newfound sisterhood. And here I was, still out of the Greek Life loop. I hated it. I wanted to be Elle Woods. I wanted to live in a house with all of my sorority sisters, deck everything in glitter, have a Big who became my best friend, become the top fraternity’s sweetheart, and wear the most revered letters on campus. I wanted to become the epitome of a Sorority Girl.

Going through recruitment was NOTHING I had expected. I didn’t love it, I cried after the first night, I was exhausted all week, my cheeks hurt from smiling and my feet from standing, and all I really wanted to know was what group of girls I was going to run to on Bid Day. I wanted that adorable Bid Day picture to post, to finally catch up to my classmates and have letters to wear and be able to “throw what I know” in my new profile picture. I wanted it all. But it’s not that simple. And nothing turned out the way I expected it to. And that is the most beautiful thing about being in my sorority. When I ran down the steps, holding my blue balloon, and jumped into the arms of a girl I had fallen in love with before and during recruitment, I didn’t cry. I didn’t have glitter showered on me, and I didn’t automatically become best friends with every single girl in my pledge class. Fraternity boys were still just as terrifying and kinda gross as they had been before I was affiliated, I had no clue who my Big was going to be yet, and all of a sudden, I had a million different rules I had to follow in order to stay in good standing for my chapter. Like I said, nothing I had expected. But everything I never knew I wanted.

The whole “Legally Blonde”, Elle Woods, everything is pink and happy and bubbly 24/7 is not real. It’s just not. Not every sister loves each other at all times. We don’t sing or chant everything we say (tbh most of the girls don’t even know their cheers until Greek Week or Recruitment practices come around). We have food at basically every event - and there’s never any left after we’re done.

All that being said, there are a few of the stereotypes that are alive and well in my life. And I’m proud of them. No matter what happens, I know my sisters have my back. I 100% could text any girl in my sorority and ask for help, to grab lunch, or for basically anything and I know they would help me. 95% of the time, you will catch me wearing something Zeta-related with a pair of leggings or running shorts. I am beyond passionate about our philanthropy and I advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness like it’s my job. I hold a position - sign chair - in my chapter, and while I might complain about how much work it can be, there is nothing I love more than the feeling of finishing a banner and knowing we did well. I have become best friends with a lot of guys in the fraternities on campus and its fabulous, but I am in no way their sweetheart or probably ever going to be lavaliered by any of them. But I have a group of guys who I trust and I love to spend time with, and that is almost better in my opinion. My big is 100% my best friend. She is the one who holds me while I cry, takes me to Cookout at 1 am on a Tuesday, laughs for hours over something stupid that happened that day, and listens to my endless ridiculous stories. She’s my roommate, my best friend, my mom, my right hand, my support system, my shoulder to cry on, my person.

I never joined my sorority thinking that I was going to become a better person in all honesty. I joined because it was what I had always knew I wanted. But now that I’m in, I understand why going greek is so incredibly popular all across the United States. I have 200 sisters who have my back at any moment in time. I have a family away from home. I have a new passion in our philanthropy. I have been given multiple incredible leadership opportunities that have taught me so much about myself. I have become a more mature, responsible, polished version of me.

Looking back on freshman year me, I’m appalled that the only things I truly cared about in regards to joining a sorority were the things I saw in movies or the superficial things I had expected. I can honestly say that I have become a stronger, more well-rounded, passionate person and I’ve only been a sister for one full semester. If you gave me the option now to join a “picture-perfect” sorority or to stay where I am, with my imperfect, goofy, constantly hungry, beautiful, amazing sisters, I wouldn’t even think twice about saying “I’ll stay right where here, where I belong.”

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