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It’s not all door chants and cringey stereotypes .

When you first hear the word “sorority,” it’s typical to think of partying, fakeness and superficiality. Many assume that every Monday night is a surface-level “Bachelor” viewing party, while every other night is at frat row with a guy that’s probably not husband material. “Sisterhood” is thought of as just as word rather than a pillar of the organization, and you might think that if you’re not blonde then you might as well not rush.

Although popular movies like “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising” and “Legally Blonde” depict Greek life as artificial and lacking depth, my experience has been exactly the opposite. Although stereotypes are formed from some truth and some sorority members do conform to such expectations, it’s more common than not for those standards to be false. At least in my experience, girls in sororities have been some of the most genuine people that I have ever met.

Going through the rush process is very difficult, and I’m not going to lie about that. At my college, rushing consisted of five days full of countless conversations, door chants, blisters from high heels and emotional breakdowns. I was placed into a small rush group with about fifteen other girls under the leadership of an older Greek student called our Rho Gamma. On the first day, each rush group is required to visit each house, and I became accustomed to the five-minute conversations that usually started out with “What’s your major?” Walking past all the houses, I was surrounded by beautiful women and forced into feelings of self-doubt, insecurity and utter anxiety.

There were so many times that I wanted to quit rushing, and the stereotypes of sororities continued to haunt me in my decision process. I don’t drink, so did I even belong in a sorority? I wasn’t tall, blonde and tan, so would any house even accept me? The Greek system’s general reputation of judgment and superficiality caused me to question my choice to go through such a long and draining journey.

Yet, as the days went on, I came to realize that stereotypes don’t apply to everyone. Of course, there were some houses in which the deepest conversations were about “Friday Night Lights” or Coachella. However, there were a handful of sororities in which I talked about my family, passions, service and even my religious beliefs. I was surprised by the amount of kindness that I felt from the majority of the girls I talked to, and I began to change my opinion about Greek life. Maybe the movies were wrong.

By the fifth day, it comes down to two houses. This day was called Preference Day, since you make your final preference on a sorority. When visiting the two houses, you typically spend time with a member that you had already spoken to. I beamed at each house when I realized how much the two girls remembered me and genuinely enjoyed my presence. The conversations lasted about forty-five minutes and were able to be more meaningful. I still remember telling one girl about how much I wanted to make a difference in the world, since, as the philanthropy chair, she also had a passion for helping others.

Both houses ended their Preference Days with sentimental testimonies from their sisters, causing me to cry at each one. At one specific house, I cried from being overwhelmed with the amount of love and genuine care I felt. Eventually, that sorority became mine, and I have never regretted being a part of it since.

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Yes, sororities have a bad reputation at times. Some parents cringe when thinking of placing their daughters in Greek life, fearing that their little girls will be corrupted and hurt. Female college students even hesitate when considering to rush, as they fear that their sisters will be fake and untrustworthy. Yet, I am here to say that rushing and being in a sorority was no doubt the best thing that ever happened to me.

Some of those “countless conversations” in the rush process were actually with some of my best friends and most inspiring mentors. The random girls in my rush group became part of my core friend group, even though none of us are in the same sorority. As loud and catchy as the door chants were, the dozens of smiles and energy made me feel loved and appreciated. All of the stress, nervousness and confusion I felt when ranking houses and struggling to feel good enough were in a weird way worth it.

“Sisterhood” is not just a word, and it’s not a concept that sorority members disregard and ignore. The word is actually a lifestyle, and my experiences are testaments to that fact. There’s something different about being “sisters,” as cheesy as it may sound. In each house, there is an unconditional love and appreciation for everyone, and that is extremely rare to find. When I walk into my house, I’m greeted by warm hugs, friendly smiles and contagious laughs; I’m greeted by my people.

In college, it’s hard to make great friends so fast, but Greek life allowed me to meet my best friends during the first week of school. Not only was I able to find a place where I belonged, but I was also able to gain an incredible support system and family. In a school with over 30,000 undergraduate students, I was able to make a big college feel small. During rush, my Rho Gamma asked us to choose a couple qualities that we wanted in our future houses. I chose authenticity and joy. I can say with absolute certainty that I have experienced both characteristics in several houses along with my own.

I don’t drink, but I’ve never felt pressured to; in fact, a handful of sisters in each sorority are sober at events to take care of their other sisters. I love deep conversations, and amidst common belief my sorority has allowed me to have intellectual and meaningful talks. I never thought I would ever be in a sorority, but here I am today saying that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Kaitlyn Peterson


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