Prior to my sophomore year in college, I never thought in a million years I would ever be a sorority girl. Every time I saw girls on campus wearing their letters, I envisioned their lives to be like scenes out of the movie Legally Blonde.
My freshman year of college I joined CNU’s dance team and loved it! I had a close group of friends that I attended dance practice with every single day. A few of the older girls on the team were in a sorority called Gamma Phi Beta and they didn’t appear at all like the bimbo characters in movies. One of the girls even invited me to a sorority recruitment event and I obliged out of curiosity. I went to the event where I sat with a bunch of girls and ate ice cream and realized that maybe joining a sorority wouldn’t be so bad. The following summer I was cut from the dance team, I wasn’t devastated, I kinda of knew, with my limited dancing talent, I was in way over my head to be on a college dance team anyway. But the sting had yet to hit me.
It wasn’t until I returned my sophomore year of college that I realized, how much I relied on my dancing family at school. Suddenly, I was very lonely. It also didn’t help that my best friend and roommate had transferred to an out of school state mid-semester. Suddenly, joining a sorority didn’t sound so bad. I went ahead and went through formal recruitment that spring and was thrown into the whirlwind of meeting people and trying to pick a sorority in just a few days. But in the end, I picked Gamma Phi Beta and it was the best decision of my college career.
Suddenly, I was welcomed into a sorority family with a big sister plus g-big, ggbig and countless cousins (it gets complicated explaining our family tree) and I moved in with a sister. The dynamic of my life at school changed and suddenly I didn’t know why I was so hesitant about the entire idea.
Going through formal recruitment the next year on the sister side of things was thrilling. Naturally as a journalist, I love meeting people and learning people’s personal stories. At recruitment, I was like a kid in a candy store. I got to meet hundreds of potential new members and learn their stories. I got to be on the sister side twice before graduating and in retrospect formal recruitment has taught me skills that help me with my career.
I mean that, because recruitment is like a crash course of speed dating and networking…. you are trying to find out if these girls are a good match for your sorority and they are trying to figure out which is a best fit for themselves. In order to do so, you have to learn very quickly how to become a good judge of character and connect with people in a short amount of time. I’ve found that as a television reporter, I have to do the same process in my day-to-day routine. I have to quickly make connections with complete strangers all of the time. They have to trust me before they will allow a mic to be clipped on them and have a camera pointed at them to spill their story. I also have to constantly be judging people’s character to determine whether they are telling me the truth or not.
Formal recruitment has also taught me how to “speed network”. For instance, I was at a big government meeting in one of my assigned cities the other day. Suddenly, the room broke for lunch, so the city leaders broke off into groups and began mingling. Rather than just sitting with the other journalists, I saw the situation as almost a recruitment event where you have to maximize your time by talking to several different people, all the while making connections with each person you speak to. So I worked the room, I moved from group to group, shaking hands and connecting with city officials I already knew then I moved on to those I didn’t know and introduced myself. I walked away from the meeting that day, grateful for my sorority experience and the skills that it taught me.Not only do I have life lessons I learned from my time as a collegiate member of Gamma Phi Beta, but I also have friendships as an alumni that will last me a lifetime. Although, I live far away now from many of them and sometimes struggle to keep in touch, I hope they all know much I value our friendships and sisterhood…truly to the moon and back.
So maybe the moral of my story about sororities, don’t knock the idea until you try it, it may teach you much more than you could ever expect.