Firstly, I didn’t join a sorority that has been on my campus for ages. I joined a colony (which is hard work); a sorority just coming to my university. Along with around 90 other women, I struggled to help my sorority establish itself on our campus.
My situation is a bit unique. I started at my university at the age of fifteen while still in high school. When I graduated high school at sixteen, I started at my university full-time. I was young, and I was still developing my sense of self and what I valued. Sorority life wasn’t right for me at that time, but I was interested. I began to research the sororities at my university. I found a couple that I liked, but I wasn’t ready to join.
In general, sororities choose their members based on shared values, interests, cohesiveness with other sisters, and what each sister could bring to the organization. I was too young with too few life experiences to share with the members, and my age was probably a liability (though I’ve never confirmed this). I hadn’t developed a strong sense of values, and I hadn’t had much leadership or volunteer experience. More importantly, I didn’t know why I wanted to join a sorority. I just wasn’t ready.
My birthday falls over the winter, so I didn’t join a sorority when I turned eighteen. I didn’t join during my eighteenth year because I spent a semester abroad. So, it got to be the fall of 2013. I was nineteen, and Delta Zeta was colonizing at my university. This time, I was ready. After researching the organization, I found that my experiences led me to similar values. I connected with our Creed, which speaks of social justice, friendship, love, family, service, and scholarship. All of those things I valued already, and the Creed of Delta Zeta gave me a format to express my values.
I started hanging out with the other potential new members (colonizing looks very different from formal recruitment), and I absolutely loved them. We all share similar interests (volunteering, Harry Potter, food, etc.), and they were all academically driven.
I also had my “why.” Delta Zeta has a strong alumnae presence, especially where I live. Joining a sorority is a lifetime commitment, and I wanted a sorority where I could stay involved after graduation. I wanted a sisterhood with strong-willed, independent women who care for one another and for others. The more time I spent with Delta Zeta, the more I knew it was right for me.
The last reason I wanted to join is because Delta Zeta was colonizing. They were new to my campus, and they needed women to help create a lasting sisterhood at my university. My university’s slogan used to talk about leaving an impact, and this was my biggest chance. In the past years, I worked to help others. I did a lot of volunteering and leadership development. I did what I could to leave an impact, and I could use those skills and lessons learned to help make Delta Zeta a powerhouse at my university.
After joining, I was encouraged to help lead. I was selected as Secretary, which gave me the chance to help prepare a new-to-uni executive board for leadership while setting up my position to be taken by the next Secretary. I helped to edit the bylaws and created an attendance system while in my position. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t an easy year, but I am so proud of the sisterhood my sisters and I helped to create at my university.
My joining wasn’t a “Hail Mary” or a last-ditch effort to do something (trust me, I did a lot) or find sisterhood before graduating from university. I joined because the time was right, the organization was right, and the members were women I will be proud to claim as a sister for the rest of my life.
It’s not the right choice for everyone, but Delta Zeta was the right choice at the right time for me. That’s why there are tons of sororities–so we find the best choice.
My time as a sister didn’t end when I graduated. I joined Delta Zeta as a senior because I knew there was a lot I could do before I enter the flame eternal. As it was said to me before I became a sister… Choosing a sorority is like getting married. You get to dress up in white, make promises, have good times (and bad times), but in the end, you are bonded to these people for the rest of your life, and that’s the best part.