A Heartbreaking Letter From A Girl Who Couldn’t Afford Her Sorority


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Dear Sisters of a Chapter That I Couldn’t Join,

First and foremost, above everything else, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for opening your house, your hearts, and your sisterhood to me. Being with you wonderful people for even the shortest amount of time is a blessing that I couldn’t have imagined. Through you I’ve met some truly wonderful people. As a PNM, you don’t fully know what you’re getting yourself into when you decide to go through recruitment. The screaming, and singing, and beating on the door. It’s all a whirlwind. It’s a race to Bid Day, because all you really want is to find your forever home among forever friends.

One of things you really don’t know is how much a sisterhood costs. I loved you, and your house, and all the reasons you called the place home. I loved how your kitchen was as cozy as your moms’, and your chef let you play among the pots and pans, even when you definitely should’t have. I loved how you spent time on your sisterhood retreats, becoming as close you could possibly be. I loved that your philanthropy meant something to you, and that it touched you in ways you hadn’t been expecting. I loved all of it. And I wanted it. More than that, I craved it. I wanted to be the little you loved forever, the big you looked up to, and the sister who you laughed and cried with.

But that beautiful home, those retreats to tie you in the bonds of sisterhood, and that amazing charity, they add up: to more money than I had. More money than I ever anticipated needing.

Nothing prepared me for that very first meeting, when the president of the chapter I loved shattered my dreams. She stood up there and clicked over the slide with a financial breakdown of the cost of your sisterhood. All of the guides I had read up on for recruitment and Bid Day had told me what to wear and how to act and what topics to avoid and how to rank. But none of my research had prepared me for the moment when I sat, staring at a line of numbers containing a decimal in place I didn’t think a decimal belonged. Maybe a number or two to the left, sure, but not there.

I knew going into recruitment that a sorority was an investment. Our school didn’t publish specific chapter finances publicly, and the chapters didn’t say exactly how much each house cost, but they gave ballparks. I guess I just thought we’re playing in a minor league, not the MLB.

Dropping wasn’t an easy choice. It’s hard to stare something you love in the face and realize you can’t have it. I want to thank my sweet Rho Gammas, who held me when I cried, even though they had returned to their chapters, their families, and friends and didn’t have to be there for me anymore.

I want to thank the girls in my pledge class, who understood why I had to leave. Why I couldn’t become a sister to them, simply just a friend.

Most of all, I want to thank the girl who preffed me. We met by chance on the second day of recruitment. I had messed up and walked in too early. I wasn’t supposed to talk to you. We weren’t supposed to be together. But fate had us in it’s hands. Talking with you, laughing with you, meeting all of your sisters. That’s what turned me on to your chapter. I went into recruitment as an only child, and you showed me what real sisterhood looked like. Running into your arms on Bid Day was like a dream come true. It was like every cliché out there, but I didn’t care because I felt like I was in heaven. Throwing what I barely knew, taking a zillion pictures, wrapping ourselves in the flag. I would have loved to have been your little. I would loved to have been your sister. Leaving you was hardest of all. We both pretended to not see the other cry when I walked out the door for the last time. But when you held me so tight and promised to text me later anyway, that’s when I knew I was leaving something special. Thank you, most of all, for being my friend.

Being in a sorority is a privilege. It takes time, commitment and, unfortunately, money. We like to pretend it’s open to all, when the reality is, it isn’t. My scholarship got me to school, but it couldn’t get me into a chapter. But, in my short time there, you showed me that being a sister means being a part of something real. The joy you all have isn’t fake. The love for each other isn’t forced. Sororities are about being the best you can be, together.

So above all else, thank you. Thank you for showing me what sisterhood, friendship and being the best woman truly means. Thank you for the opportunity.

Everything you want in a sister, sorority or biological - funny, hardworking, pretty but not in an super obvious way. Essentially, a funnier Elle Woods who is constantly having a bad hair day. Questions, concerns, videos of dogs and coupons for Thai food can be sent to totalsistermove@gmail.com

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