By Chandra Chakravarthi
I never thought I would join a sorority. Truth be told, I had such a negative perception of them based on what I had seen on TV and in the movies that the very idea of Rush made me shudder. Little did I know how quickly that opinion would change after attending my freshmen orientation. Most people, including my friends, chose to attend universities outside of our hometown, whereas I chose to remain here. The prospect of having to start over didn’t freak me out, but I knew that if I wanted to find those “lifelong friends” that people say you make in college (that I had already made in high school), it became apparent that joining a sorority would probably be the easiest way to do that. It was definitely a nerve-wracking, but equally exciting thought for someone who used to cringe at the idea of being in one.
I think when you’re going through Rush and even after you are initiated into a sorority, it’s hard to envision anything other than parties, formals, cute t-shirts, tailgates, and late night sisterhood activities. Occasionally, you would hear people talk about it extending beyond school, but I don’t think that truly resonates until after you graduate and are living in the real world.
It’s surprising to me how many women and even some sorority sisters of mine don’t realize that being Greek isn’t just another college activity. I learned quite quickly after graduating that it can still remain a part of your life in some capacity if you choose to let it. You’re paying quite a lot of money to be a member so why not take full advantage of it?! You’ll see that the benefits of remaining involved even after you graduate are well worth it.
1) It helps you maintain your current friendships and gives you the opportunity to make new friends.
Who can forget how easy it was to make friends back in school? I think most post-grads can attest to the sad reality that it’s much harder to make friends once you’re out of school. I think it’s especially hard to form solid female friendships. Being connected to your town’s alumnae group is probably one of the easiest ways to meet people and reconnect with sisters who you may have lost touch with. You’d be amazed how simply having that in common can serve as a foundation for a friendship. And if you find yourself relocating for a job or for school, one of the easiest ways to settle into your new hometown is to join that city’s alumnae group. Also, being active gives you something to look forward to each week and/or month since your social calendar might be slightly less full once you’re out of school.
2) It is an excellent networking tool already at your disposal.
When you’re in the chapter, you might sometimes hear sisters touting the networking benefits of being Greek, but on some level, it’s hard to fathom life beyond college. Sure, you’ll be thinking about how to attain that dream job, but have you thought about how being connected to a sorority can help you land a job? Or that it can help you find a mentor who you can provide you with career advice? Or that you could even be a mentor for someone? Get connected with the alumnae group through social media. LinkedIn has especially been useful when seeking career advice, job leads, and finding a roommate. When I was in school, I did an internship at my sorority sister’s magazine and remained in touch with her even after I graduated. She remained a dear friend, and now she is one of my co-workers. She was the one who recommended me for my current job. It’s incredibly beneficial being part of a network of women that could potentially help you move forward in your professional life. Sometimes having a connection makes all the difference in the world.
3) It allows you to remain linked to an organization that probably played a significant role in your college life.
Of course, being a post-grad sorority woman is a totally different experience from that of a collegiate member, but I think maintaining that connection reminds you of all the memorable times that you hopefully gained being a member of a Greek organization. As an alumna, it’s really interesting to watch your collegiate chapter’s dynamic change over the years. Plus, if you keep up with your chapter’s activities on social media or you volunteer at Rush, it brings forth all types of nostalgia.
4) It’s an experience that is worth putting on your resume and bringing up during your job interviews.
If you were an active member if your sorority and held a leadership position, that can often times provide you with relevant job experience. It can especially come in handy when you are a recent graduate with “not enough work experience.” We’ve all been through that, haven’t we? You’d be surprised at how many valuable skills you probably picked up while being Greek.
5) You’ll have memories for life and will continue to make new ones.
Sure, you have those wonderful, hilarious and perhaps many memorable moments you’d like to forget, but it’s way more fun reliving them in story form. You’re paying a lot of money so why not continue to make memories that tie you to this sisterhood that you joined during what some might call “the four best years” of your life. Imagine being in your 70’s or 80’s and receiving your 50-year pin for being a member of an organization for that long. That’s a pretty cool accomplishment in its own right. Having that common thread with thousands of women across the world is pretty amazing if you think about it.
There are plenty of professional networking organizations that you can join as a millennial. However, being a part of a sorority is still quite unique on so many levels. Sure, it’s definitely not for everyone (I never thought it would be for me) and that is totally fine. You do you. If you are a member of one, just remember you’re a part of this network of strong, inspiring, and powerful women who are passionate about bringing change to the world, but who are also willing to binge-watch a show with you or talk about relationship woes over a glass or bottle of wine. Look at Taylor Swift and her squad. It’s something akin to a sorority sisterhood in the way they are all so very different, each one pursuing their passions, but all the while they are incredibly supportive of each other. When you find yourself a part of something like that you need to cherish it and hold onto it well into your twenties and beyond.
Chandra is southern born, hailing from Alabama, but is convinced she is a big city girl at heart. She might be guilty of using the word “y’all” too often and appreciates the awesomeness that is grits. She likes to work out, but only because it allows her to eat pizza and chocolate guilt-free. She is always willing to marathon the Harry Potter movies or watch a classic film. One of these days when she is making more money, she hopes to be world traveler and wants to set foot on all seven continents.