Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another Perspective on Sorority Life

For many out there, rush season is in full force, and pledging has just begun, so sorority life has been on my mind. When I started college, I had a very narrow view of what it meant to be in a sorority. I saw the stereotype and knew that I wanted no part in any of it.

But, I soon found myself surrounded by a group of women I looked up to and cared for in a way I never thought possible outside of my family. Our road to pledging was far too long and hard to explain in a blog post, but what I got out of it is what really matters.

sorority sisters at a community serviceI've written before about how it helped me find my voice, but it also helped me become an activist - which I consider a critical part of my identity. I always had a compassionate personality and tried to find a solution to everything, but it didn't really translate into activism until I became an Hermana (sister). I then had the opportunity to find causes to work for and come up with creative ways to help. I got to advocate for what I believed in - women's rights and literacy - and get my message across to others.

And, of course, I got the love of my Hermanas. I've met intelligent, successful women who are always willing to lend a helping hand. We are supportive of each other and work together towards similar goals. It is hard to explain to people outside of our organization what it means to us, and it's even hard to explain to other Hermanas the unique connection we each have to our org. Thankfully, we don't ask too many questions.

picture with sorority sistersI've mostly given up on explaining the ins and outs of Greek culture to anybody outside. There are things that just can't be understood if you're on the outside, and it isn't worth it to try. But I do hope to get another perspective out there. It's a shame so many other women have to live through the stereotype, and I wish they could have had an experience that challenged, empowered, and changed them the way my process did for me.

What are your experiences in your organization, or as an outsider?


Original Designer Woman said...

I never joined a Greek Sorority but always wanted to especially the AKA's but my opportunity to do so failed. There were AKA's @ Pace University and I had planned to join until I saw the behavior of a few of them and it totally turned me off. Kanye West had been scheduled to perform at our school and the evening he did those soro's were acting ridiculous and very rude to the other girls in attendance. I had determined that I didn't want to join them AT ALL.

But now @ Hunter College I found some very nice org's to join and the girls are friendly.

And I can't wait!

Anonymous said...

I was a member of a sorority and it really was a pivotal moment in my life. I learned leadership and acceptance and it was filled with incredibly strong activist women who showed me how to care about the world around me. My sorority sisters are working in Guatemala, teaching in China, working for non-profits and other things that I find amazing. I went to a smaller school so that might have had an affect in the type of greek life that was prevalent.

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