Our slogan is “Realize your potential” and I realize how this has been my driving motto since I joined my sorority. Yes, I’m a sorority girl. No, not a multicultural latina sorority I joined a Panhellenic sorority Alpha Xi Delta at Rochester Institute of Technology during my sophomore year.
I don’t typically share where outright that I was in the sorority but the more I think about it I realized that it has shaped who I am. I also did not join a Latina sorority because it wasn’t a fit for me. I found my space when I walked into recruitment night.
I was terrified to talk in, I stood down Greek row surrounded by these beautiful houses and saw a house full of white girls. I was terrified I was definitely not gonna fit in, and I didn’t fit in with the latina girls cause I was not “latina” and i “talked white”, so where was I gonna fit? My engineer friends were cool but they didn’t get my girly things. Then I walked in and instantly was welcomed, I looked around and spotted some latinas and knew I was safe. Latinas that sounded like me. And the white girls didn’t make me feel unwelcome, instead, we laughed for hours about the silliest things.
On bid night a group of girls showed up at my apartment with a poster and celebrated me. They welcomed me and that night as we were introduced to our pledge sisters they said: “look to your left and look to your right, these are the women will be the women that stand by you on your wedding day and the most important days.” I rolled my eyes but 10 years later, these words were the ones I could think of when I saw my best friend get married remembering the first time she even mentioned her now husband. Then laughing and reminiscing with friends from our sorority who had been there the day we met.
The truth is, I can’t tell you who most of the people in my sorority are and I don’t keep in touch with everyone. I have a hand full of women I stay in touch with and my best friend I constantly forget was my sorority sister because she is my best friend – she is my person.
I did, in fact, stand by her on her wedding day. She’s stood by me in my darkest days and we’ve cried, laughed, and been there for each other. I did, in fact, find a friend for life.
Sorority life taught me the importance of sisterhood. That despite anything you have going on, any qualms you have, in the end we have each other. That even if I haven’t spoken to a sister in years, I know when I see her we’re rooting for each other. It taught me the importance of community. Of having a support system that will be there for you. That on the days we would come crying home cause a trash man hurt us or we had a rough day someone was there to hug us and eat ice cream with us.
Sorority life taught me leadership. It taught me how to be part of an organization. How to budget, how to run an organization and be part of a team. Most of these girls in the picture were on the executive board. I learned what it meant to be part of something bigger than me. To organize meetings, to lead a team of 60 women. I learned to deal with different personalities and handle it diplomatically. I learned how to also balance our lives from professional to personal and remember we’re all going through something. This overall taught me how to run operations at a startup (let me tell you running a team of 60 college women is way easier than white men in tech).
I learned the importance of always connecting with others. Recruitment taught me that, learning to find something we can all relate to and connecting potential new members to a member. This taught me to bridge connections in my everyday life, it taught me to network, and it taught me to be open to meeting new people when I travel
Overall I really learned how to always be realizing my potential, to keep going to keep pushing. That even when you feel uncomfortable you will have a team ready to push you on, to laugh with you, hold you, and then celebrate.
If I would have let my fear of being the only brown girl in the room I really would have never meet these amazing women. I wouldn’t have been able to realize my potential. And I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to become the best me, I probably wouldn’t even be sharing today all the experiences I’ve had since then.
Have you joined a sorority? I’d love to hear your experiences if you have let me know below! Bonus points if you’re an AXiD 😍