All corny quotes aside, being in a sorority could very well be the greatest years in a young girl’s life. For me, it wasn’t about wearing matching bows, it’s wasn’t about oversized frat tanks, and it certainly wasn’t about who had the biggest house. It was about much more than that.
It was about sitting at the table for lunch and staying until dinner. It was about going out in masses simply because you enjoyed each other’s company. It was about supporting one another in more ways than one. It was about growing up together and finding ourselves through late nights, road trips, and everyday life.
From the outside looking in it could very well look like a big show with perfectly timed walkouts, rehearsed smiles and a flawless appearance. A show that continued to hear someone scream “liiiiiiiiittle” at every bar, entertaining chants that no one really knew the words to, and of course the infamous sorority poses.
But from the inside, it truly was anything but phony. Looking back now, while cradled in nostalgia, I think about the nine simple life lessons that being in a sorority has taught me that every girl could take to heart.
1. Everything Is More Fun With a Friend
There were many times when a simple errand, coffee run, or spontaneous walk turned into an adventure you didn’t foresee. Getting through that kickboxing class was so much easier when you had your friend to laugh with about how you messed up the routine. And you always had someone to go eat with, whether it’s the restaurant you’ve been dying to try, fro-yo for your lazy days, or the pizza at 3am.
2. No Boy Is Worth Your Tears
Between the frat boys, the graduate students, and the unaffiliated, there would always be a boy that would break your heart in college. How lucky were you to have more than a handful of sisters right there ready to spend hours watching Friends while you vented the same story over and over, or go out and be your wingwomen to prove to you that there were many options out there. But mostly, you had all these girls there to remind you your worth, that you deserved better, and that you were far more special than you even realized.
3. You’re Never Too Old To Play Dress Up
From dressing as a Serta sheep, to a secretary, to a gold digger, to a cowgirl… The options were endless. Being in a sorority allowed you to basically celebrate Halloween multiple times a month; and who doesn’t like Halloween? The entire process from laughing for hours for outfit ideas, to finding the cheapest way to make your costume happen, to then laughing harder at the finished product made of tin foil and bubble wrap… Let’s be serious, girls, we mostly dressed for our friends and hardly ever the boys.
4. Drinks Always Taste Better When They’re Free
Whether it’s the mystery Kool-ade at the frat party or the 21st shot on your 21st birthday, the drinks always tasted better free. Your wingwoman taught you how to flirt your way into a bar tab, how to rally together for the 10am game days, and how to cure the hangover the next morning by bingeing on reality TV and chips. (But that hangover always hurt a little less when you know you spent nothing at the Ladies’ Night before it.)
5. A Network Is Better Than No Work
Whether you’re looking for a job, a recommendation or just a place to crash when you need a vacation, you have a web of friends across the globe. Whether they are your pledge class or your alumni, you share a bond with a network of women who would very well submit your resume or offer you their couch. These connections could change the course of your future by getting you your dream career or that one last adventure while you still know what vacation days are.
6. You Can Never Take Too Many Pictures
You can complain when there’s always the girl in the group that wants to take a picture of every moment (guilty). But you will thank this girl when mornings, months, and years down the line, you have an endless photo album of hilarious photos to laugh about, and sweet ones that bring a tear to your eye no matter how much time has passed. You truly can capture an emotion, a memory, and an experience in a photograph. So, thank the girl with the camera, because you’ll forever have a digital tapestry of the best years of your life.
7. Story Time Is The Best Time
For four years, you had your best friends there for every moment you had a story — which turned out to be daily. You would all listen to each other for hours and laugh about every “you’ll never guess what [blank] said,” and “I can’t believe I did that.” Whether it was lunch, dinner, the living room at 4pm, the library, walking on campus, or really anywhere since there was always a sister somewhere. They were endless ears with whom you could share you memories, because sometimes just sharing a story with friends is far more memorable than the story itself.
8. Sisterhood Is Real Thing
What is a cliché word to some, it a sacred word to many. It’s the smile that convinces you you’ll be okay. It’s the shoulder you can cry on. It’s the spontaneous dance sessions that leave you giggling uncontrollably on the floor. It’s trusting in each other with our hearts, our secrets and our collective futures. From rituals to philanthropies to intramural sports, none of those things truly mattered, but the essence to any and all was supporting each other through it.
9. Always Say Yes To Everything
It may seem like you have all the time in the world when you’re in college, but as someone who is now far removed, I see how quickly time really flew. So take advantage of it. Take advantage of every single situation. Say yes to everything — not to please anyone but because soon you won’t be able to cram 12 girls in the back of a pledge’s pick up truck on the way to the game, to go have a girl’s night, or to take that random road trip three hours away just for the hell of it. Seriously, take every opportunity and make every opportunity. Because there are few other times in life that you can be as spontaneous and free-spirited as now. And these are the girls you want to have the stories with to tell years down the road.
Sometimes people come into your life and they completely change it. They change it in the way they make you laugh. They change it in the way they can get you to stop crying. They change it by making you comfortable in your own skin while you run around the house with only a robe and a story. They make you see yourself in the mirror and have the confidence you couldn’t find on your own.
Sometimes you walk into a house of 100+ strangers and you find a home. A home that will challenge you to find yourself through the past of thousands of alumni that left their memories as whispers in the walls. Sometimes you find a family — one that protects you; has fat nights with you; and overanalyzes every college-life problem with you, from whether to go to class that day, who to take to formal, or who you really want to be when you grow up.
I can confidently say that who I am has been impacted by the girls I called my sisters, my friends, my family, and my life. I am blessed and lucky to have met each and every single one of them. I will take the lessons I learned from within that house and carry them with me through life. I’ll do this knowing full well I still have all these women to fall back on, because college may only last four years… but true friendship lasts a lifetime.