Picture this: you’ve gotten into your dream college and you have always been interested in joining sorority life.
But, this style of living is foreign to many, and most of us understand only bits and pieces from what we have learned from movies.
Before you decide to become a part of this lifestyle, read this guide.
What exactly is a sorority?
Sororities are national organizations located on college campuses around the U.S. There is also a congress called the National Panhellenic Conference, which has 26 national and international sororities.
Sororities are built on a foundation of sisterhood, where a group of women share a residential space. Your sorority life will be driven by engaging in charitable events, throwing parties, and just hanging out together.
While living in a sorority can be a fun and enriching experience, you have to commit to the identity and values of your sorority.
Why should you join a sorority?
There are plenty of accommodation opportunities available to students. You can choose to live on campus, or to rent a place off-campus. While the entire process is exciting, it can also feel isolating and lonely.
You’ll be thousands of miles away from home, and among strangers. Sorority life is like living in a huge family, which can help you adjust to your new routine as an international student.
You’ll find the emotional support that every freshman needs, and you’ll gain friends for life.
How do you join a sorority?
Joining a sorority is a lengthy and competitive process. You have to sign up for rush week, where you’ll be invited into each sorority house. As a rusher, you’ll meet sorority members and figure out if you fit into the sorority.
During rush, you’ll also be asked to perform tasks, attend parties, and discuss why you want to join a sorority.
Use the time to ask questions about the sorority and see what activities they engage in. Do they do community service? Do they throw parties often? Make sure to also inquire about the traditions and rules of the house. Your living space should be comfortable for you.
Sorority life means finding people with similar interests and sharing a space with them. But it is also important to find a diverse space to live. An important part of university life is coming out of your shell and befriending people you usually wouldn’t have met otherwise.
After due consideration, you can submit your ballots to the rush board. You’ll then be notified about which houses you have been selected to. After this, you can pledge and go through initiation to become a member of your preferred sorority.
What can you expect during hazing?
If you’ve been selected into the house of your choice, your next step is to pledge. Go to the house and get ready to be hazed. You’ll be given a set of tasks and chores, and once you perform them, you’ll be in the sisterhood.
Most universities have strict regulations around hazing. Your hazing should be limited to chores, doing embarrassing tasks, and having a laugh. All of the “tests” given to you should be in fun.
There are some instances when hazing does get out of hand. You may be asked to perform degrading tasks that overstep your boundaries. You may be asked to drink alcohol beyond your capacity, or go without sleep.
If this happens, leave immediately and report the incident to your university. No harm should come to you. You cannot share a living space with people who do not respect your boundaries.
What are the nuances of pledging?
Pledging is often a complicated process. You might be asked to take an exam, as you have to learn about the history of the sorority, its achievements, and its values. You’ll actually have to study and memorize these details.
After pledging and hazing, you’ll go through an initiation where you formally become a part of the sorority. Here’s where the fun starts, you’ll become privy to all the sorority secrets, and find sisters for life.
What do you do in the sorority?
The whole process seems time-consuming and exhausting, but it’s worth it. Once you join the sorority, you’ll be pushed to become the best version of yourself.
Sororities usually have a minimum GPA requirement, and you’ll be put on probation if your GPA falls below that. This means that you can also form study groups with your sisters and help each other out.
If you want to give back to the community, your sorority is the way to go. You’ll be expected to throw charity fundraisers, and organize car washes and other events to raise money. All these activities make you an important part of the community that graduate schools and employers actively seek out.
Your sorority is also an excellent opportunity to make connections that can be beneficial in life. You can make professional and personal connections on and off campus facilitated by your sorority.
What are some of the downsides of sorority life?
Sororities can be expensive. Apart from tuition and living expenses, some sororities also charge per-semester fees. There are also additional costs of sorority merchandise and attending formal events. So, if you’re on a tight budget, sorority life may not be for you.
Attending university is very hectic. Balancing an academic program with extracurriculars is exhausting enough without having to live up to the expectations of your sorority. However, if your academic program is not too rigorous, sorority life has its perks.
Peer pressure is a threat in sororities. Most of your sisters will throw and attend parties and you’ll be expected to, as well. With attending parties, you may feel an obligation to consume alcohol, smoke, and in extreme cases, even engage in drugs. If you have a weak willpower, or you simply don’t like to drink, you might want to steer clear of the sorority life.
Joining a sorority is like joining a legacy. Some sororities have existed for decades and are very well-known. People will immediately recognize you, and you might even connect with older members in the most unexpected places. If being in a big family and experiencing American life with them is what you want, sorority life is your way to go.
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