This weekend I took a trip back to my college town and just like all the other trips before, since I graduated in 2014, it felt like no time has passed.
My sorority hosted an alumnae brunch so I got to see my friends as well as meet some of the younger, new girls in the sorority. It was so great being in our local bar, surrounded by different generations of Phi Sigma Sigma ladies. Seeing the sorority grow yet remain the same is so cool and so weird.
I pledged my sorority back in 2011, as a college sophomore. I didn't have the greatest freshmen year and was rejected from the sororities in the spring semester. I was counting on a bid from one of the organizations on campus because I had such a tough time making friends. When that wasn't the case, I considered transferring.
I didn't want to be at college without a sorority, I felt like that made the college experience; I'm not saying you CAN'T be at college without Greek life because you 100% can. I have a lot of friends who enjoyed their college experience to the highest degree and weren't part of Greek life. However, looking back now, I am so glad I stayed at Iona and went out for recruitment again in the Fall.
I got a bid to all the sororities I was rejected from; oh what a difference a few months can make. At Iona and at a lot of other small schools, it's easier to get a bid in the Fall semester because the freshmen aren't allowed to rush, so it's a smaller group of girls. Standing out amongst 40 is a lot easier than 100.
What happened next changed my life. I was part of this huge organization who held such a standard on campus. Within my sorority I started to take leadership roles and I said that I could see myself being on the executive board some day.
Socially, I had 50 girls on campus that I was able to have lunch with, go out with, and hang out with whenever I wanted. I had a pledge class of 4 girls who I loved with all my heart, and a big sister who I looked up to so much. My social life had changed drastically and it felt good to have a place of belonging.
Throughout my life I always had big groups of friends. In elementary school, I was super close with my entire class and then in high school, I had a group of 10-15 girls who I called my best friends. I went to an all girls' high school and being surrounded by all those girls all the time really made me feel confident and right at home.
That's why I had such a hard time in college. It was weird not having a set group of friends immediately, but that's what Phi Sigma Sigma gave me.
It may sound weird but I really cared and loved all the girls in my sorority. Did we have drama? Sure we did but not as much as you'd think. If anything, the drama was over our sorority budget or where to have formal. It was never anything that ended friendships or threatened the sisterhood.
Eventually, I became Vice President of the sorority and that changed everything. People respected me and I had power. That sounds horrible, but I mean it in the best way possible. I made changes in the sorority and people, till this day, look up to me for it.
I gained leadership skills, I was able to speak and hold my own in front of a room of 70+ young women who had very different opinions on everything and made it known. I was able to be helpful and problem solve. I planned events and dealt with our advisors. My leadership in my sorority, and in school because I was on our Greek Council Board as well, helped me in ways I still don't think I realize.
I always thought I could be a leader but didn't know until it was happening how much I was fit for a position like this. I loved it so much I'm an advisor for my sorority at a different chapter at a different school.
When I graduated, I was really depressed. My anxiety came back and I missed my friends. It was really hard on me and even now, I still get sad thinking about how I'll never have what I once did. Senior year of college was truly the best year of my life and I look back at it so fondly.
Weekends like this weekend, when I go back and don't know everyone in the room but somehow they know me and I feel a connection with them, that's what my sorority always meant to me. It was forming a bond with all these girls who joined for the same reasons I did and even though I just met them, we have this connection and it's something really special.
Walking down the street with my best friends, and seeing my college campus across the street, nothing has ever really changed. I'm the same girl all those years ago, I just have a full time job and different responsibilities.
Do I wish I could go to a fraternity party every weekend, sit in class and wake up at noon? Of course I do. I'd give anything to go back to my college days because weekends like this remind me of all I've left behind.
The good thing is, it'll always be my home and no matter how much time passes, it's still so incredibly special to me.