A woman with crinkled hair and dark eye makeup staring into the distance

When I was searching for colleges in high school, Greek life wasn’t even a consideration. Instead, I was laser-focused on qualities like campus location, class sizes, majors offered and national ranking. I never could have imagined that I would end up rushing or how impactful and lasting the Greek life experience would prove to be—both during and after college. 

Before going through recruitment, I knew next to nothing about what sororities were like aside from what I had seen in movies. In other words, I pictured lots of parties, singing, clapping and pink. What I soon learned is that sororities are often just as varied as the opinions and preconceptions people have about them. While there are some near-universal similarities (including the aforementioned singing and clapping), each individual chapter is unique and can differ quite a bit from school to school.  

Sororities are often just as varied as the opinions and preconceptions people have about them.

As a result, Greek life is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Participating often requires a sizable time and financial commitment, as well as adherence to certain standards. As an Alpha Phi at Pepperdine University, I experienced both positives and negatives. As a whole, however, Greek life changed me for the better. 

In fact, looking back, I’ve come to credit countless valuable skills and lessons to going Greek. Aside from the obvious benefits of being part of a supportive sisterhood, sororities also offer incredible leadership opportunities, philanthropic involvement and social training. As much as I hated recruitment training, for instance, learning how to converse with countless strangers with poise, confidence and command prepared me to succeed in job interviews, career management and other post-grad situations. 

On a personal level, I also met and learned from caring, dedicated and inspirational women who modeled excellence in scholarship and service. They challenged me to be the best person I could be. I found a group of women who held diverse dreams and desires, but who shared similar interests, values and ideals. I made lifelong friends, while also learning to respect and value those I didn’t get along with as well. 

I made lifelong friends, while also learning to respect and value those I didn’t get along with as well. 

Greek life, like anything in life, is often whatever we choose to make of it. While I found some of the stereotypes to be true, I remain surprised at the rich opportunities and growth I discovered beneath the pink, sparkle-covered surface. No two sororities are the same. In the end, each has the potential to provide an experience that can be tailored to fit our individual dreams and goals. 

Were you in a sorority in college? How did the experience impact you? 

Image via Aki Akiwumi, Darling Issue No. 20

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  1. I initially joined my sorority Theta Phi Alpha as a networking opportunity and it ended up being one of the most amazing experiences. I learned things about friendship and leadership that do not parallel to those same experiences in clubs. “Learning to respect and value” those who I did not like was probably one of the most beneficial lessons I learned:

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