What It’s Really Like To Be In A Sorority

It’s no secret that I’m not a very family-oriented person. I wish I was and I’m absolutely jealous of those who are, but that’s just not me. I’ve had a fucked up idea of family ever since I was a kid. I felt abandoned- left to be raised by my grandparents.

This is why the idea of going Greek fascinated me. Sisters to call your own and big Greek letters to show for it? Those people looked like they were important, like they belonged. I wanted to belong.

I moved to New York in 2012 not knowing what I wanted to do in life. I was working at Urban Outfitters for about a year, waiting to get in-state tuition for CUNY. I was never a school person, but the opportunities that came with college couldn’t be passed up.

I told my bright idea to my friends at work. They laughed.

“Sorority girl? That’s not what we think when we think of Arielle.”

That was kind of true.

I think to some extent it’s still true, although a lot of my sorority might disagree. But if there’s one thing I know about myself, I’m not a quitter and I don’t half-ass shit I choose to do.

So I rushed, pledged, and crossed in Fall 2013 for a sorority called Delta Psi Sigma. Honestly, I liked it because it was intercollegiate, and the sisters I met didn’t seem like stuck-up bitches, like the vibe I got from the Asian sororities rushing people at my school. (Sorry, but it’s true).

It was the only sorority I rushed, but after the first rush event, I knew I didn’t want to look anywhere else, although I did reach out to other sororities before the semester started.

Yes, pledging was hard and I definitely cried about how much I wanted to quit, but I didn’t and here I am.

But being a part of a sorority isn’t like what you’d expect. Most of the time, it felt more like Sorority Row rather than House Bunny.

There was so much unnecessary drama, back stabbing over boys, shit-talking – everything I thought sisterhood wasn’t supposed to be about.

But I realize that people don’t always get along and it’s just the kind of thing that happens when you put a bunch of girls together. Girls who are taught by media and social structure that they’re supposed to be catty and bitchy their whole lives. Throwing some letters on it and calling it sisterhood won’t change that.

It still discouraged me. It made me question everything. I started distrusting anyone and everyone. I stopped believing in myself.

As a “neo” (or a new sister), I was super gung-ho about wanting to do everything in my sorority and making it bigger and better than it ever was, but after having so many expectations fall flat and shit on my face, I gradually just stopped showing up.

After being in the sorority for only a year, last spring, I distanced myself as far as possible from it and drowned myself in other relationships: with a guy, new friends, coworkers – anyone was better. Everyone seemed more real. I soon cut these sisters off.

It was such a dramatic change from going so hard for the sorority to not being there at all, that when I started to come back out for social events, frat guys would ask if I had disappeared because of a boyfriend and sisters would thank me for coming out to support. It was so strange to me because being at every event was just something I always did, it was never something I was appreciated for.

I was reminded by my little sister that good intentions were still alive. Not everyone had a hidden agenda to stab you in the back. And I soon started attending functions for her; because I had made a commitment by taking her on as a little and I wasn’t going to fuck that up because other people fucked me over.

I feel like I’m never going to be as enthusiastic and excited about being in a sorority like I once was, but I do realize 3 things now:

  1. There are real, meaningful relationships that I’ve formed because of the sorority, and they are ones that I don’t want to lose.
  2. Just because I have to call someone a sister, it doesn’t mean I have to trust them. It also doesn’t mean that because I don’t trust some people, I have to cut everyone else off because of it.
  3. I’m still not a quitter and I will still won’t half-ass things.