When I started college, I’ll admit I was more excited to be in a sorority than I was for probably every Christmas put together. I envied all of my older friends who had joined sororities. They had flooded my social media feeds with pictures of seemingly perfect girls with their perfect hair, perfect bigs, and basically perfect lives. Annoying, right? Yes, absolutely. Did I want to join the ranks of these real life Barbie dolls? OH, HELL YEAH. I could finally be one of those girls and have the picture perfect life that would make college the best four years ever. Before I knew it, I was living the Lilly-wearing, letter-throwing, hair-flipping, sorority girl dream. I felt wanted. I felt included. I felt happy. There is no better feeling than knowing you have a support team who will be there through thick and thin–scratch that–forever.
However, “forever” is a little short-lived. In the midst of college and growing up, life happens. Responsibilities shift, we get jobs, relationships change, and life isn’t as simple as it once was. Yeah, for some us, that means having to do the unthinkable. We have to become GDIs–even the term leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Whether it’s because you couldn’t get your grades up, because you’re having a tough time in life, or because you simply can’t afford it any more, there are girls who find themselves disaffiliating. And suddenly, you’re stuck back on the outside looking in. Except it’s worse, because those girls were supposed to be your best friends. No one wants to lose her letters. It’s like a bad breakup after which you know you’re never getting back together (like, ever). To put it plain and simple, it sucks.
That support team that once promised an everlasting sisterhood is now slamming the door in your face. Return your novelty. Remove your letters. Hand in your badge. You can almost hear the “K BYEEEEEEEEE” tone in the midst of it all. There’s nothing to cushion the blow. Just pack your bags and get out of town.
This is where we are making huge mistakes in the Greek system. This is why sororities get labeled as the mean girls of the world. This is why we’re seen as exclusive, stuck up cliques.
We claim that joining a sorority means having someone there to pick you up when you fall. We claim that a sorority is “not four years, but for life.” The last time I checked, the phrase was not, “Not four years, but until you’re not rich or smart enough anymore.” When the going gets tough financially, academically, or emotionally, these values of sisterhood need to be upheld the most. Don’t get me wrong, I understand and fully support that there have to be standards to maintain membership, but we shouldn’t treat our disaffiliated members like we don’t know them, like they never belonged. Because the way I see it, we’re acting like they’re dirty laundry we don’t want to air, a mistake the chapter made who needs to be erased. We try to make it like they were never there to begin with–and for something that was supposed to be forever, there’s something really morbid about that..