I have been a member of the greatest sorority since April 19, 2008. OK…maybe I’m being biased, but I do feel that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is the greatest sorority. That’s I why I chose to pursue membership while I attended Mississippi University for Women (the W). I know there are a lot of people out there who have feelings about Greek life, which is understandable. It’s not all about stepping and partying. However, like most things, being a member of a Black Greek Letter Organization (BGLO) has its pros and cons.
1. Making connections
One of my favorite things about being in any organization is making connections. These are people you can call on for help or advice. For example, a soror who attended Mississippi State tweeted asking if anyone knew any biomedical engineers. I told her I knew some people in engineering and I’d ask if that was their specialty or if they knew anyone. I have no issue helping people anyway, but since she’s a soror and someone I know pretty well, I was definitely quick to help. While in undergrad, I attended programs, retreats, conventions and more. I met sorors from other schools and states and added them on Facebook or other social media pages. I have connected with and received help from my line sisters, other sorors, and members of other Greek organizations. Who you know can help immensely.
2. Community service
Here’s something you can add to your resume and LinkedIn. Doing community service makes you feel good while helping others and can even be fun. I enjoyed working with kids and teens, cleaning up Columbus, Mississippi, playing bingo at nursing homes and more. Knowing we made someone’s day was awesome. We didn’t do because it was a requirement. We did it because we wanted to and enjoyed it.
3. Leadership opportunities
Just like with community service, leadership roles within an organization look good on your resume or LinkedIn. You don’t even have to be president of your chapter. Being the treasurer or secretary or on a committee is also important. You’re helping the chapter run smoothly and you stand out instead of just being a member. Over my two and a half years in my undergrad chapter, I was chaplain, vice president and head of a committee. These roles helped me with public speaking, interpersonal relationships and leadership.
1. “You’ve changed.”
It’s annoying to hear that you’ve “changed” from people you knew before you crossed, especially if it isn’t true in the negative way most people mean. It’s true that you change, but it’s usually for the better. My grades went up, I stopped being so shy and stepped up in the organization as well as in my classes. The twelve young ladies I was on line with helped me become a better person so of course I changed. However, I do agree that there are some people who change for the worse. There are people who let it go to their head and stop hanging with their friends completely. There are also people who only join to party and don’t participate in community service or other chapter programs. There are people who are rude to every prospect for the organization and push people away from asking questions or joining. I hate it, but some people are stuck in those ways.
2. Financial and time commitments
It’s no secret that going Greek takes up time and money. Financially, you pay an amount to join then pay dues every year after that. The initial payment is usually pretty hefty but it goes to several things such as the organization itself, the chapter you’re joining, your line shirt, jacket, food, gifts and any other costs that may come up while you’re on line. After that, your yearly dues are much smaller. You will also need money for other events and traveling so I recommend saving those refund checks. And yes, being Greek is time consuming, especially if you take a leadership role. It’s also time consuming if you’re in a smaller chapter, like I was. This is a good time to learn time management skills and see how the whole work-life balance thing works before you enter the “real world.” Get a calendar or planner or use the one on your phone to keep track of important dates and deadlines. If you’re the president or head of a committee, delegate tasks and ask others to help you.
This is a hot topic! I won’t say too much about this one, but I will admit that it happens. It’s very unfortunate how far some people go to make someone else miserable. I can understand being stern with a pledge (sort of like a parent or teacher), but I’m not cool with beating someone down.
I hope these pros and cons have cleared up some misconceptions or questions people have had about Greek organizations. If anyone has more questions or wants to connect with me, please feel free to contact me!