Sororities pride themselves on, well, sisterhood–forming lasting friendships with girls, because you share something wonderful. What nobody ever tells you is that sisterhood doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes time to form friendships and to get close to people. It’s much easier for some girls to find their place than others, which can make people feel how this girl does:
I really need your advice. I joined a sorority at the very beginning of the school year, and it’s taken until 3 weeks until school ends for me to realize–I want to drop out of my house. Our pledge classes are much bigger than a normal one (75-80 girls), and everyone is extremely clique-y. I had a “group” at the beginning of the year, but I distanced away so I could try to be friends with more girls in my pledge class. Since then, many of my friends have transferred, and I realized that everyone has formed a clique around me without me even realizing it. I now dread house events, worried that I won’t have anyone to go with, and it’s making me seriously depressed watching everyone hang out and post pictures and go out together while I’m left alone. I never wanted to have to drop, but the year is almost over and I still haven’t found my niche in the house, and I’m afraid that I never will with everyone being so exclusive. What should I do?!
This is a problem that is far too common. When you go through recruitment, you meet tons of girls who are filled with excitement and love for their sororities, and once you join, you’re anxious to have that closeness, too. You will. But for a lot, a lot, a lot of girls, it does not happen within the first year, and that can really make you feel like an outsider in your own home.
I know, because my little was just like you. Luckily, she and I were very close, but she’d confess to me pretty regularly that she felt I was the only person she had in our sorority. My friends were nice to her, but they were still my friends in my pledge class, and she wanted to have that on her own. She tried to drop 100 times throughout the year. Of course, I had slightly ulterior motives, but I told her each time not to make a decision until she went through recruitment as a sister. She listened to her mama, and now she finds herself meeting up with her pledge sisters in New York City, where she lives, stopping by the sorority house every time she visits school, and, of course, having an unhealthy obsession with her little.
Why does recruitment fix the feelings of alientation? Let’s discuss. I feel that part of the problem with new members in sororities not getting close isn’t a lack of hazing, but the fear of most sororities of being accused of hazing. We can’t force our members to go to anything, and when you’re coming from a place (high school) where you always had someone to go to everything with, it’s really intimidating to go to something by yourself. So, sometimes, new members choose not to go. When they see other girls (who might live together in the dorms or have classes together) who seem to automatically be obsessed with each other, this deters attendance even more. It’s natural to sort of form cliques with people you are forced to interact with–and it’s not an exclusivity thing. It’s an “it’s impossible to be best friends with 80 girls” thing. Nevertheless, the result is that a lot of girls feel left out.
And I do mean a lot of girls.
Trust me, in a group of 80 people, you are not the only one who hasn’t found your niche yet. Think of the cliques within your organization. Are there two main groups? Maybe three? That very clearly doesn’t encompass all 80 girls. There are probably at least 30 girls in your pledge class who feel the exact same way you do. Maybe some are close with their bigs and latch onto them at events, like my little did. There are probably more girls who you haven’t truly noticed, because they’re not going to things since they don’t feel like they’re truly a part of something yet. They’re there, I’m sure of it.
But it’s been a whole year!
Not yet. I know it sounds silly right now, but you haven’t had a full year as a member until you’ve gone through recruitment “on the other side.” Believe it or not, that’s a game-changer. In a way, it’s a sorority’s “hazing period.” You are forced to be in a room with each other for 10 or more hours a day for two or more weeks. You are going to be sleep-deprived. You are going to get yelled at. You are going to have blisters. But through it all, you’re going to have to talk to people. When you do, you’ll realize how much you have to talk about. Every single year I went through recruitment, I came out of it with at least two new really great friendships with girls I still feel extremely close to now.
You may have heard older girls talk about it, but you will never know the true, magical sisterhood feeling that comes from recruitment until you go through it. Working together to recruit new members and trying to get them excited about your sorority will make you excited about it. You will form new relationships, undoubtedly. There are 80 girls. You haven’t had a chance to even try to bond with them all yet. Recruitment gives you that chance–the opportunity to get to know not only PNMs, but your sisters, too.
If, come Bid Day, you don’t feel at least a little bit closer to your sorority and excited to find a little, then you might consider whether or not you really want to be there. But until the new girls are initiated, you haven’t really been there a year. Just give it a little while longer. I truly believe it will make all the difference.