September always reminds me of new beginnings.
I still fondly remember my first year of University, attending Carleton University in 2007 (Go Ravens Go!). Being born and raised in Ottawa, I already had my friend base and had one of my best friends in most of my classes (love you Hodder!). This didn’t prompt me to venture outside of my comfort zone and meet new people.
It was only at the beginning of my second year, after moving out on my own, that I felt like it was important for me to meet some more people and expand my network. Get the typical University experience, as they say.
Cue Greek life and my sorority, Xi Delta Theta.
Now in hindsight, I couldn’t imagine my University years, or even my life as I know it now, without going through rush, pledging, becoming an active member and now holding the title of alumna.
Unfortunately, fraternities and sororities get a bad rap.
Even now when I mention that I am a part of one, people ask A LOT of questions and low key judge me. People automatically think of partying and often refer to movies like House Bunny and Sydney White. But what people don’t think of or see are all the benefits one gets when they invest their time to joining a Greek organization.
Here are the things that Greek Life gave me and that most people don’t think about.
During my active days, the common sentiment of the active chapter was that they joined a sorority to meet new people. Learning how to network and small talk with people was one of the biggest skills that I learned through my active years in Xi Delta Theta. There is something about trying to make prospective members feel comfortable as well as trying to uncover their personality and what they like to do, that allows one to more easily build connections.
After you graduate, this skill is huge. All the loose connections you made during your active years will serve as avenues you can explore to land different career opportunities or even reach out to for support or guidance.
All the career opportunities I have had have been directly correlated to my network and my ability to tap into it when needed.
What many people don’t understand about Greek organizations are that they have a leadership hierarchy. Think President, Vice President, etc. These positions turn over every year and the active chapter votes who they want to hold these positions. This allows members to learn how to present themselves, their platform and to flex their influencing skills. Once elected, they are tasked with running the organization, all while being a full-time student.
After you graduate, leadership skills come in handy. Being able to take charge on a new project or initiative – or even deciding to start your own venture. Knowing how to lead other people helps you to propel your career to new heights.
I can’t speak for everyone, but during my time in University, I worked to pay my way through school and live on my own. What a lot of people don’t realize is that there is a time commitment to being in a Greek organization – it isn’t partying all the time. Our organization had a minimum attendance required (which at the time was three events per month, as well as weekly chapter meetings on Sundays) as well as a minimum GPA to attend social events. This meant that members needed to learn how to prioritize working, attending class, studying, and yes, even partying.
After you graduate learning to prioritize your life is vital to your professional success. Now that I own my own house and have a family, my time management and prioritizing skills allow me to work full-time, run my household, have time to work on myself as well as hold down a side hustle (aka. writing for this blog).
Speaking of the GPA requirements, this encouraged our members to learn how to study more effectively. Having sisters in higher years who may have taken courses before allowed members to have study buddies. Members encouraged each other to excel in their academics. In my final year, I won the award for Highest GPA.
Learning shouldn’t stop when you graduate. Learning to love learning is an important skill for lifelong development – be that career or self.
Mentoring is a huge part of Greek life. You may have heard of the term Big or Little and scratched your head at how stupid it sounded. Bigs are super important during your time in the sorority. They act as your guide for things you should and shouldn’t do. They encourage you and are excited to watch you grow. At the same time, when you finally have the chance to get your Little (or Littles), you understand how much joy it brings you to watch another lady succeed and to encourage her development.
After graduation, you look for the chance to mentor others. Giving others guidance and helping them navigate things you have already been through, becomes commonplace.
Learning how to work with others
“But like are you friends with everyone in your sorority?” is a question I get often. The short answer is no. Just like any group of people, there are people with whom you click and those with whom you don’t. However, at the end of the day, they are still your sister and you must respect and work with them. Being in the sorority allowed me to learn how to accomplish this as well as prepare me for how this will play out in the real world after I graduated – office politics anyone?
Interested in checking out what Greek life can do for you?
If you’re in Ottawa, you should check out the following sororities:
Local and National Sororities
Alpha Pi Phi (Carleton University)
Delta Psi Delta (Carleton University)
Nu Sigma Pi (University of Ottawa)
Omega Phi Sigma (University of Ottawa)
Sigma Beta Phi (University of Ottawa)
Tau Sigma Pi (Carleton University)
Xi Delta Theta (Carleton University, University of Ottawa and Algonquin College)
National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Sororities
Alpha Omicron Pi (Carleton University)
Alpha Phi (University of Ottawa)
Delta Delta Delta (University of Ottawa)
Delta Phi Epsilon (Carleton University)
Kappa Beta Gamma (University of Ottawa)
Phi Sigma Sigma (Carleton University)
Sigma Gamma Rho (Carleton University)