I know what you may be thinking—judging by the title, this article is going to be some sorority-bashing, bitter account of one girl’s bad experience in a sorority.
Actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t want pity because Greek life didn’t necessarily work out for me in the way I’d hoped it would. In fact, I have an enormous level of respect for the work that I’ve seen Greek organizations put forth. Because my university is private, Catholic, and in the northeast, the emphasis put on joining Greek life is nowhere near that of a public Southern institution. Yet, it still maintains a definite presence on my campus—one that convinced me to participate in formal recruitment at the beginning of my second semester as a freshman.
Contrary to the varying opinions that I’ve been exposed to, I enjoyed the recruitment process. The so-called “girl flirting” and the idea that we potential new members (PNMs) were essentially selling ourselves weren’t notions that I found myself buying into. I simply saw each new encounter as a conversation waiting to be had. I met wonderful people throughout that week, and tried to assure myself that I’d end up in whichever sorority was “meant to be” for me. I was relieved at the end of the week to have been offered a bid from one of the few that I’d favored from the beginning.
At this point, if you’re thinking that the title of this article has no relation to this story, you are correct. Why would I have “dropped out” if I was perfectly content—or so it seemed? There’s the caveat. I was a new member of a sorority that I’d loved during recruitment; however, as the weeks continued on, I found myself unprepared for what Greek life entailed. I was overcommitting myself to something that I didn’t have the availability to put my time towards. I found myself falling behind in terms of getting my schoolwork done ahead of time (as I’d habitually done before), spending time with the friends I’d made earlier in the year, and, because of these constraints, becoming unhappy. Nothing at all was wrong with the sorority that I chose to align myself with, and that chose to align itself with me. The fact of the matter is this: I was just not ready. I dove too deep into a process that I respected, but could not give the energy it deserved.
Now, I am by no means anti-sorority. Because I’ve become increasingly involved in other organizations that my university has
to offer, I feel content where I currently stand. So, to put it simply, yes—I am a dropout. I withdrew from a Greek organization weeks before I was scheduled to be initiated. I won’t, however, let this define my college experience. It was something of a trial run for me, in retrospect, even though I initially thought it to be a commitment I’d stick with forever. Now, I feel as though it was absolutely the right choice to make at the time. It was certainly tough—but in no way since have I felt stigmatized as “the dropout”.
If you’re reading this and find yourself in the same predicament I was in earlier this year—to drop, or not to drop?—I’d advise you to try out a few things. First—think it out. I remember talking to my mom on the phone for an hour venting all of my thoughts, positive and negative. This is similar to something else I love to do—make a list. Pros and cons…it’s as simple as that. Look at what you’ve written, or remember what you’ve thought about. A little self-reflection goes a long way. Who knows? You may realize that you’re willing to stick it out. I’ve definitely encountered girls who were unsure at first if Greek life was for them. Eventually, they stuck it out and now find themselves active members of their sororities. Finally—and this may be most important—don’t think of what others will say or believe if you decide to drop out of your sorority. Something I had to come to terms with was the fact that I was making this decision for me and no one else. Be sure that it’s what you want. In the end, that’s all that matters.