Growing up, I saw joining a sorority as a pivotal part of the college experience. My mom, grandma and older cousins all took part in Greek life. They talked about it so highly and always reminisced on the memories and friendships they made. My mom talks about all the trips she planned with her sisters and how she met her bridesmaids in her sorority.
So, when I received my acceptance letter from my future school, I immediately registered for rush.
Rush, a commonly used term in Greek Life, means the week to learn about all the different sororities and, in the end, you receive a bid from one. My mom took the preparation time very seriously. She emailed all her friends who joined sororities in college and told them about me. I spoke with alumni from every sorority and requested letters of recommendation from them. I also spent hours stalking each house on Instagram and watching their videos on YouTube.
Rush week consisted of running across campus in heels, lots of hairspray, talking to hundreds of initiated sisters and plenty of rejection. Every night, I called my mom and gave her the load down of the day; my emotions felt all over the place. Each call, she told me a bunch of clichés, such as “trust the process” or “everything happens for a reason.” When the week ended, I received my bid. I didn’t end up at my top house, but I still gave it a chance, repeating the mantras my mom told me throughout the week.
I ended up loving the sorority.
Immediately belonging to a group on campus made the transition between high school and college a lot easier. I met so many new friends and the sisters helped me with my classes and finding my way around the school. It also gave me ways to get involved in the community.
However, as I advanced in school and started thinking about my future, I joined other organizations and looked for other opportunities. My schedule started filling up and I found myself running out of time to do everything. Eventually, I needed to leave something to create a more balanced lifestyle. After a lot of reflection and advice from my friends and family, I decided to disaffiliate, or drop, my sorority. This thought made me feel anxious. I worried that my friendships might end, I might feel left out from events or struggle with meals since I wouldn’t receive a meal plan anymore.
Eventually, I bit the bullet and officially dropped.
The dropping process meant I needed to reach out to the sorority president to explain why I wanted to leave. I re-typed the text over and over again, never wanting to press send. When I finally sent it, I quickly turned off my phone and placed it across the room. Anxiously, I sat and waited to hear my text notification go off. I dreaded this moment because I felt like she might think I hated her or the sisterhood. When the reply finally popped up on my home screen, I tensed up. However, after reading her response, I felt a calmness wash over me. She reassured me that she understood and that I will always find a home within the organization. She put my nerves to rest and I felt more comfortable in my decision.
At first, I felt awkward. The executive board removed me from the Facebook groups and group chats. This didn’t come as a surprise because I didn’t need to know the announcements in the group. These groups constantly notified my phone over the past years, the silence felt strange.
However, the awkward phase and feeling clueless about the happenings grew normal.
I also felt a strong feeling of regret after I dropped the sorority. Even though I chose to leave on my own, I still grew nervous, thinking that I made a mistake. Once I disaffiliated, I knew I may not rejoin or join another sorority. This terrified me. I felt like I closed a door, and it immediately locked. Eventually, I grew to remember my experience fondly but continued looking towards the future. Change scares me but also teaches me valuable life lessons.
Stepping outside my comfort zone seemed like the biggest challenge and lesson I faced throughout this experience.
I never realized everything my sorority did for me, such as cooking my meals, placing me in a group of friends and giving me activities to do. Once these disappeared, I needed to take matters into my own hands. I taught myself how to cook meals, something I never knew how to do. Cooking turned into one of my favorite hobbies and stress relievers, allowing me to put my nervous energy into something productive. I also started making new friends within other groups. I expanded my circle and still kept my friendships with the women in Greek life.
Finally, I found more time to focus on my future. Since my schedule cleared, I take more difficult classes and work on expanding my resume, focusing more on my professional goals. I know this might sound dramatic, but dropping my sorority seemed like a life-changing decision. I didn’t want to miss out on all the amazing things I hear my family talk about, but I felt like my time came to an end. Facing change seems scary, but now I see it as something to learn from. I definitely don’t regret my time in Greek life, but I feel confident in my choice to leave and start the next chapter of my life. If not a Greek-affiliated group, joining any campus organization helps make college a more enjoyable experience.