As I am starting my last fall sorority recruitment season of my college career, I am becoming more reflective of my experience as a sorority woman. I have some of my best moments in my college career with my sisters, and also some of the most frustrating concepts to conquer surrounding the stigma of being a “Sorority Girl.”
First, we are Sorority Women. We are the largest group of education women in the entire world. Sororities were created to help women empower women to greatness within our education and beyond. My sorority was founded based on the sole concept of life long friendship, regardless of any religion, race, ethnicity, orientation, and identity. Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII) has been my place, it is where I can be myself and grow with my sisters while also learning from leadership positions I have held throughout my collegiate experience. Freshman year I was the secretary on our Leader’s Council, granted it was a smaller position, but I was the only freshman to take on an LC position. I am proud of being an AOII and I consistently turn to my sisters for advice and guidance, and I have participated in all opportunities possible to help further my organization and the Panhellenic community as a whole. I am the first in my family to be in any Greek organization, and it was a skeptical situation at first. They knew the very typical sorority story line, but when I told my mom about my interest in AOII she soon figured out that this was much different than what she had previously thought in the past about Greek organizations. She saw our values, how we give back to the community, and the life long commitment that came with being in this organization. It was like a home away from home and I knew I needed this.
Now as I enter my last year I am diving in to think about how my sorority experience impacted my college life. Freshman year, everything was very new and exciting. I made some of my best friends while I was a freshman and those bonds still hold true today. Sophomore year and into Junior year, I decided to take on a large scale leadership position and was elected Vice President of Finance for the Panhellenic Council. Now you may be saying, “Kelsey, what is all of this?” No worries, I got you. So there are individual chapters of sororities, such as Alpha Omicron Pi, Kappa Delta, Chi Omega, etc., that make up the Panhellenic community. Panhellenic is the governing structure that all sororities fall under, and at each individual school there is a Panhellenic Council that oversees all the sororities on campus and then reports up to the International level of Panhellenic. I was part of that council that oversees our chapters on campus. It was a great position, and I was able to look at our community as a whole and see where we succeed and where we could improve. I was very connected with all the chapters on campus and felt this great affinity towards the mission each organization set for themselves. I learned to appreciate leadership to an entirely different level of integrity and respect for each chapter and our entire community. Each woman who is part of this is here for a reason, and that is to empower each other to keep being an amazing, beautiful, strong, and intelligent members of their chapter. I see the value of having a group of people that believe in the same mission and share similar ideals as one another because it brings about this sense of belonging and affinity towards not just your own future, but also your sisters’ future. When you are part of a chapter and a community, you suddenly realize you are part of something greater than yourself. I found my place in this community, and I am proud to call myself a sorority woman everyday. It has become part of my identity.
This identity of being a sorority woman is not always easy to carry around. As women we are consistently striving to do better. It may seem like we are just out of reach of our goal, and once we achieve it, then something else becomes just out of reach, and so on and so forth. We set these expectations for ourselves to attain the unattainable, and even though we may hit this mark, there will always be this question, “Was this enough?” and then it turns into this question, “Am I enough?” We can raise thousands of dollars for our philanthropies, we can recruit the most amazing women, we can juggle our school work, life work, extracurricular work, sorority work, future work, and still think that we are not hitting this mark. This mark keeps getting higher and higher I have noticed, all the while we are expected to keep our hair on point, speak confidently, have fun, but not too much, good heavens if we loose control, get good grades, be social, but not too social because nobody likes that, dress well, look good in letters, be involved in both the chapter and around campus, annnnddddd be an adult just 24/7 while also being a student. This is the expectation we set for each other and we have to stop. We are human and mistakes happen. This is what we think we need to be, and we need to start realizing that who we are right now, is good enough. We as sorority women are the best of the best, and we have to start believing this fact. We are not offered to be in our chapters just for kicks, we are chosen to represent a legacy of women who came before us, to progress our organizations forward, and to keep on being the amazing women we are.
Women are brilliant, beautiful, intelligent, confident, unique, individuals, and for me, being in a sorority has empowered these attributes even more. As a senior in the role of Vice President of Administration in AOII, I strive to continue this dedication to empowerment, loyalty, and respect to all my sisters. I want my sisters to share their successes and achievements, yet also share their worries and burdens because that is what having a strong sisterhood is for. We bring each other up, and motivate each other to keep exceeding the expectation. I am consistently inspired by my sorority sisters and I am so proud of all that we do. Being in this extended family is an amazing bond that will continue for a life time because this experience does not just stop after college. It will continue for the rest of our lives. My friends and I continuously send each other pictures of what we will be like when we are grandmas, and not just because it is funny, it is true. I may be off to go around the world, yet I am consistently going to have my roots planted right here always welcoming me back with some Alpha love.