Living in rural Wisconsin does not a glamorous life make. I go to a school with less than a thousand students, the nearest Target is over 30 minutes away and you can’t get food after 7 p.m. With mostly cows as our neighbors, Greek Life doubles as one of the most prevalent and best ways to occupy our time.
I came into college never entertaining the thought of joining Greek life. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with a gaggle of chanting girls who all wear the same outfit. After a month of spending time with these ladies, though, my mind had completely changed. They remembered my favorite TV shows, said hi to me whenever we crossed paths and always invited me to eat with them. I felt loved and included for the first time since getting to college. I never thought that I would feel so comfortable and welcomed in a group like this, but here I am a couple years later, eating, breathing and sleeping in sorority life. Everyone says their sorority changed their lives, blah blah blah. Well, I’m that girl too.
But, here’s the thing. Close your eyes and imagine a sorority girl. Whatever you picture, I can guarantee I’m nothing like that, and not many actual girls in sororities are. For instance, I have a genuine fear of large groups of girls. I’m not skinny, I don’t have tons of money to pay for unlimited t-shirts and matching outfits, I don’t party and I’m not dating a frat boy. I don’t think I could be further away from that stereotype. My family doesn’t understand it, either. Whenever I go home they constantly tease me for “throwing what I know” in every photo, no matter how many times I explain how much more it means than photos and hand signs.
My sorority couldn’t stray any further from the typical formula, either. For one thing, my chapter consists of 31 girls instead of the normal, big chapter of 200+. Social media forever labels sororities as paying for your friends, cult-like groups of girls who all dress the same and parties every night. I can confidently say that I do none of those things. We pride ourselves in upholding high standards every day and making overall good decisions for whatever we do.
Hardworking, goofy, cute, charismatic and loyal sum up the type of girls I chose to become a part of. They bust their butts everyday to balance school, sorority functions, volunteering, social lives, sports and work. Contrary to popular belief, partying remains at the bottom of our priority list. Almost everyone would rather volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House or participate in a fraternity’s philanthropy bag tournament than go to a lounge party.
While we don’t have a super fancy house or a house mom, we do have almost a whole floor of a dorm building to occupy. I know what you’re probably thinking. Big whoop, right? But having our own floor means we get to live together for our entire time at college. Yelling becomes perfectly acceptable, as well as shushing whoever is yelling because it’s 11:30 p.m. and you’re trying to sleep. Usually by winter or spring break we all need a break from each other. After a couple of days though, we start counting down until we reunite. To be honest, my favorite pastime has become sitting in the hallway and doing homework, eating snacks or just talking for hours. Sometimes I leave my room to go to the bathroom and end up sucked into a three-hour conversation about childhood nicknames.
Sometimes, though, going to a small school and being in a small sorority proves to be difficult. Girls gossip and not everyone always gets along. But these women also show you some of the most heartwarming compassion and spirit. After a hard night, I once came home to a sweet note from a sister and some chocolate. This semester when we had a sister who was sick with mono, we all made her cards and drew her pictures.
In the end, I don’t want you to think that this is the best way to do Greek Life. It’s the best way for me. It’s not perfect, but I wouldn’t do it any other way. I can name every one of my sisters and tell you some quirky habit or fact about her, too. My sisters encourage me, support me and make me want to be a better person every single day. After two years of being involved in Greek Life, I have had several leadership positions I never thought I would. I’ve gained confidence in myself and my sisters validate me.
So here I am, loud and clear. I’m your not-so-typical sorority girl, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.