Sororities: Are They Right for You?
By Kimberly, age 19, California
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
On four year college campuses there are many different things a person can do to get involved and to be active in their school, including being in a sorority. It is a change to open up your surroundings and meet new people and be a well-rounded college student. It doesn't seem as though people go to college just to get an education. They also go to find out who they are, what they want in life, and to meet great people and have amazing experiences.
At my school, California State University at Northridge, there are so many different clubs and activities that a student can get involved in. The activity I have chosen to dedicate my time and heart to is joining a sorority; right now it's a matter of finding the right one for me. Since I am not yet a part of a sorority there are aspects I do not understand about them. But one of the things I am familiar with is the need to find one that fits a person and their likes and dislikes.
People have this misconceived notion that sororities are nothing but parties, drama, drinking, cat fights and "just hanging out," like we all see on television and in the movies, but from personal experience it is way more than that. The main considerations in choosing if you want to be part of a sorority are whether or not: 1) there is one that has something you're interested in, 2) you have the money for it, and 3) you're dedicated enough to want to be part of an organization. Let's be honest here, sororities are not for everyone, and that's totally fine, but if you're interested in it, pursue it.
There are so many different types of sororities - culturally based ones, gender based ones, academic ones, and so on. When choosing a sorority, something that is very important is whether or not you feel comfortable with the girls, because if you can't be yourself around the girls then most likely it isn't the one for you. A person is able to find this out by going through the selection of sororities at the school via the National Panhellenic Council, the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations, or the National Multicultural Greek Council, though some sororities are not associated with any national organization.
Right now I am actually going through the process of trying to decide which sorority chapter I want to be a part of at my school, and there are many things I am taking into consideration when trying to figure it out. These are things you should consider if you want to join one:
1. Whether you feel comfortable around the girls (or, "sisters").
2. Whether you can afford it. (Sororities have different prices and payment plans.)
3. What kinds of philanthropies the sorority is involved in. (Philanthropies are what the sorority volunteers donate time to and help raise money for, like Breast Cancer, the Head Start program, St. Jude's Hospital, etc.)
4. Whether the sorority is national or only in the state your school is in. (This is helpful to know because it might have an impact on fees, and it may be important to you to know that you have sisters all over the United States or the world, in case of travel or moving.)
5. Whether you have the time to dedicate to a sorority. (This is one of the main issues, because if you don't have the heart and dedication to pledge, or you're not really sure, then pledging for a sorority is not the best idea.)
6. But don't take the process too seriously. Just have fun with it! Learn and branch out. It's supposed to be a fun thing, not something too serious.
There is a difference between rushing for a sorority and pledging for one, which people seem to confuse at times. Rushing for a sorority means going to events and getting to know the sisters to see if you like them and what their sorority is all about. Whether the rush events cost money depends on the sorority because some of them pay for the rush event, while at others you pay a fee for the whole process.
Pledging happens once you have decided what sorority you want to be a part of. It's a process in which you find out more about the history of the sorority and do things to show them your dedication. If there is a match (a.k.a. "mutual selection"), a bid is extended, and after this starts the pledging process. Some, if not all, pledging is very secretive, meaning that you really won't know what kind of stuff you're going to have to go through until it is time. Pledging may take up to six weeks, depending on the sorority. From what I have gathered, sororities do this to ensure the bonding experience, preserving the legacy of the sorority.
I hope that, if you're thinking about joining a sorority in college, you'll remember that it can be a fun experience to network and meet different people. Even if you don't pledge for one, it is still fun to hang out with other girls at your school to find out more about an organization, because you never know - it might just be one of the most amazing experiences in your life, like it has been for me thus far!