My sorority helped me find my individuality

If you would have told me four years ago that I would be president of my sorority, I would have laughed in your face.

Four years ago, I would have never even fathomed taking on a leadership position, let alone the three I have had since joining my sorority. I was the girl who never raised her hand in class, even though I knew the right answer, who would have something to say in a conversation but let everyone talk over me, and the girl too depressed to leave her dorm room.

Three years ago, the president of Alpha Gamma Delta at the time called me and told me the social chair had stepped down and that she thought I would be a wonderful fit for the position. I was in my first semester sophomore year of college, only had been part of the sorority for a year, not quite sure what I wanted to do with my life or whether I even wanted to come back to San Francisco. Somebody else saw my potential that I always knew deep down that I had but was too scared to do anything about. I always had a quiet confidence, and AGD allowed me to make that confidence loud and proud.

There’s a reason all but two presidents of the United States were a part of a fraternity and 85% of Fortune 500 executives were members of Greek life. Being a part of an organization that provides you with networking opportunities, teaches you the importance of volunteer and philanthropy work and sharpens your leadership skills is a blessing, not a curse.

When you hear someone say they are in a sorority, like many other people, you might think things like “dumb and shallow,” “party girl,” “hazing” or “pays for friends.” Getting a bid to a sorority does not have to do with your looks. Sure, we attend parties, but who doesn’t in college. Hazing is illegal, so no, we don’t do it, and yes, we pay dues, but we most certainly do not pay for our friends. 

Illustration by Jared Javier=

Illustration by Jared Javier

I pay for the opportunity to travel to various destinations across the country and attend leadership conferences where I have created a network of incredibly talented women who will help me build my future career. I pay for the opportunity to stand in front of 100 women every week and inspire them to step outside of their comfort zone and aspire to take on officer positions like I have. I pay for the opportunity to help my sisters put on the largest philanthropic event on campus that both promotes campus unity and raises money for juvenile diabetes research and awareness.

While I have gained lifelong friendships and hilarious and crazy memories that I can tell my kids someday, I have gained so much in myself. The women I have been surrounded with in the past four years have shaped me into such a better person. While I still have bad days and am human, I am nowhere near as depressed I used to be. I jump at opportunities that are presented to me, instead of second guessing whether I am capable. I’ve learned communication and leadership skills that will help me when I enter the adult world.

I have created connections with so many diverse women and men from not only my sorority, but the other organizations on campus, of different races, sexual identities and socio-economic backgrounds. I have learned about others and in turn learned so much about myself.

After four years in my sorority I now embrace my individuality, I speak my mind with confidence, I believe in myself and see the potential in others. I stand tall, I smile and laugh more than I ever have; I let people in instead of pushing people away. I am open-minded and eager to learn about other people’s backgrounds and life stories, I embrace challenges, and most of all can graduate next year knowing I made the most of my college experience and it is going to benefit my future.

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