Some (Unsolicited) Advice for New Sorority Members

I had a completely different post planned for today; however, over the past week, I’ve been seeing posts in my various Kappa Delta Alumnae Facebook groups about recruitment week as they prepare to welcome a new generation of women into their hearts. Yesterday, the active members of my sorority cheered as 55 women ran toward the house that would be their home for the next four years.

Every update I see fills me with memories of my time as an active member. Though I love my post-college life, sometimes I wish I could be a freshman and do it all over again knowing what I know now, seven years after it was my turn to get a bid. I thought I’d revisit this time and pass along some wisdom to the newest class while reveling in nostalgia with mine.

(There are also a lot of photos of baby Kelly to laugh at. I had to pull these off of my college laptop which miraculously still works, albeit sluggishly.)

You may not have gotten a bid for the chapter you really wanted, and that’s okay.

Bid day 2012. The theme was something relating to Twitter. We were very topical. 

Bid day 2012. The theme was something relating to Twitter. We were very topical. 

My heart sank when I saw that it was my third choice on my bid card, but by the end of my tenure, I could not have seen myself anywhere else. The women in each house know where your best fit is. You may think you know the only place you’ll be happy, but they’ve spent years together, and you’ve only glimpsed a few hours-worth of time of their sisterhood. You were selected for the house you were because those women saw that they had a you-shaped hole that you alone could fill.

Try everything, even if it’s outside of your comfort zone.

We decided to go bowling after formal. Oddly, the out-of-my-comfort-zone part was the actually going to formal - not the bowling-in-my-dress part. 

We decided to go bowling after formal. Oddly, the out-of-my-comfort-zone part was the actually going to formal - not the bowling-in-my-dress part. 

I was never much one for big house parties (too much of an introvert), but I’m sure glad I went and experienced a few. At the beginning of college, I hated Husker football, but sitting in the student section with my fellow KD’s ended up being one of my favorite things about college. I dreaded networking with alumnae at events, but I’ve pulled out a few of my contacts for help post-graduation. I could go on, but you get the point. Try things.

Let loose and relax – it’s so much more fun that way.

Hot tip: If you let yourself just chill out, you'll have about 9,000 pictures of you upside down on a couch to pick from. You will appreciate this later. 

Hot tip: If you let yourself just chill out, you'll have about 9,000 pictures of you upside down on a couch to pick from. You will appreciate this later. 

I really struggled with this freshman year, and I wish I could go back and change it. I thought I was too cool to cheer loudly, share my secrets, give hugs, sing unabashedly, and act silly. I spent a year living in my shell and missed out on developing stronger friendships with many girls in my class. Luckily, many of them opened their arms later and let me join in the fun, even if I was a little late. It’s okay to be passionate, and it’s a heck of a lot more fun.

It won’t always be easy and fun, but remember in those moments how much you’re getting in return.

These women turned me into the Husker-football-loving freak I am now. 

These women turned me into the Husker-football-loving freak I am now. 

There are going to be moments when you’re frustrated that you have to work at a philanthropy until 2:00 AM when you have a business law test at 7:00 AM the next morning. You’ll get annoyed that you have to buy a t-shirt that you think is ugly. You’re probably going to get pulled into some drama or other that you wish you could distance yourself from. If you’re an officer, you are going to have to make calls that make some girls mad. Yeah, it sucks sometimes, but at the end of the day, I promise that you will get so much more than you give.

You’re now part of something that some people will never “get”.

Formal night with the best friend a girl could ask for. Our dates didn't stick, but we sure did. 

Formal night with the best friend a girl could ask for. Our dates didn't stick, but we sure did. 

But you will, and that’s what matters. There are those who never went Greek and think the entire system is totally stupid and archaic and that you’re crazy for being part of it. I’ll tell you right now that you’ll never convince them otherwise. But it doesn’t matter.

You just found the women who are going to be your best friends. Four years after graduation, I call my sisters first when I need advice, have news to report, or just need someone to hang out with. There’s a woman who I know will make me laugh, one who I know will offer to come pick me up in the middle of the night when I’m in a tough situation, one who helped me to restore my faith in God and continues to do so, one who I look up to as my role model, and one who I feel fiercely protective of. I could go on. It’s likely you won’t keep in touch with everyone, but those you do will become part of the reason your heart beats.

Welcome home, new members, whatever chapter you may have joined. You’re in for a ride. It will have its ups and downs, but I promise that when the train pulls into the station, you’ll wish for nothing more than to ride it again.

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