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sorority Q&A: what to do when chapter rules are overbearing…

Q: I am feeling really stuck. I am in sorority X and think of dropping almost everyday. I am 23 years old, much older than your average sorority girl, and I can not handle the “mandatory this,” “watch what you post,” “no drinking pics,” etc. I’M FREAKING 23. I know being in a sorority comes with rules, but I literally feel like these younger girls are trying to tell me what to do.

I was put on academic probation for below .02 below the minimum gpa, but yet my university still has me in good standing. i just feel like the longer i stay in this sorority the more resentful I am becoming and the more things I find wrong and annoying.

What should I do? I’ve made some really good friends already (I rushed in Spring) and I’m scared of being shunned if I drop, but I literally can not take this seriously. I find it corny, overbearing, and annoying to have to answer to sorority X and everything it expects from me. I mean, I have to send PROOF if I miss chapter! What am I? 12? HELP!!!!!

A: Sororities have LOTS of rules! Some chapters are more strict than others, but everything you describe sounds normal. Chapters have to keep their members in line, avoid legal problems, side step bad publicity and stay in good standing with the college administration. Any negative behavior can cause a media firestorm as you’ve probably witnessed every time a sorority sister wears the wrong costume, or posts the wrong photo. The rules come from national headquarters, not just the young girls in your chapter. Sisters can get snotty and power mad, but they are trying to enforce the standards which your organization insists upon. 

There has to be a line somewhere for GPAs and member behavior. You are getting agitated because you’re stepping over that line and then freaking out when you “get in trouble.” The #1 way to avoid all this stress? FOLLOW THE RULES! If you don’t post drinking photos online, don’t get low grades and don’t miss chapter meetings, guess what? No agitation, no anger, no anxiety, no problems. Peace can be yours if you just stay on track. Your sorority wants what’s best for you and being more disciplined is a very useful trait in life.

I don’t know where your intense rebellion comes from, but if you will get past your stubbornness, you can still remain loyal to your initiation vows. Think of it this way ~ when you are employed in your career one day, there will be lots of rules. You will have an entire company handbook to follow. Younger managers may boss you around. You will be told what to do, where to park, how to represent the company image, who you can or cannot date within the organization, what you need to wear to work each day, and much more. I recommend you think of your sorority experience as a training ground for real life!

There is no such thing as total freedom, unless you want to just hang out and sit on your sofa all day. Your professors expect you to perform, coaches and bosses have rules, clubs and organizations have standards ~ you can’t escape it! It has nothing to do with your age. When you’re 60, your much younger boss will demand you attend a company meeting. Even families “make” you do things. It’s called DUTY.

Escape from your controlling sorority will give you more freedom. You can do things alone and you’ll have no behavior guidelines of any kind. I can guarantee you that will loose the sorority friends you’ve made if you turn your back on your sisters. And for what? So you can post inappropriate pictures on Instagram? To sit and eat ice cream instead of going to chapter? Everything has a price. Enjoying the blissful parts of sorority life come with responsibilities (and yes, some annoyances.) 

Also, when you join greek life as an older PNM, there may be some extra agitation. Change your ‘attitude’ towards sorority standards, and I believe this could be a REAL growth moment for you! Getting along with other women in any organization is challenging. If you turn this around, you will have learned soooooo many life lessons. I believe it will be a tremendous blessing for you in the future. xoxo :)

"Discipline yourself to do the things you need to do when you need to do them, and the day will come when you will be able to do the things you want to do when you want to do them!" ~ Zig Ziglar

"I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty." ~ John D. Rockfeller, Jr.

I'm so conflicted& upset I don't know what to do. I got into my last choice chapter. I've tried it out & I've met a few nice girls (6/a lot) but I really don't see myself connecting with others since we're so different. They're a bit weird/quirky. Their chapter really doesn't fit the "sorority image" which is what I actually wanted. I know I should leave before initiation (I already let them know I can't) but I feel guilty and sad. I had a big assigned who seemed great but it's not what I want:(

Asked by
ashleyssmile

Sometimes it’s very hard to tell when a chapter is truly a mis-match and when it has potential to be rewarding. It can take a year or two to feel at home and grow to love your sisters if you start out from a low level on bid day. I think your conflict comes from your sorority not having the “image” you wanted. They also don’t fit your “self-image.” If you can’t get past that, then you are probably right to leave. That doesn’t mean things will be better when you’re not greek any longer, or better if you rush again next year. There are no guarantees for future happiness with the chapters you didn’t make a match with the first time.

Sometimes a ‘nice’ sorority is perfectly acceptable and a beautiful place to grow emotionally. You have made friends and even like your potential big. I think that’s amazing! If only you could look past some of the superficial judgements, you might be able to continue your membership. No one adores every member of their sorority! Some sisters can’t stand each other. So if you are looking for total harmony, you probably won’t find it. A smaller group of good friends within a chapter is common. You are feeling sad, because you will be leaving some friendly girls who could become close sisters, if only……..

Let me share a sorority story ~ A friend of mine is currently active in a sorority. I’ll call her Tory. Last year she was sobbing and crying on bid day because she got a bid from a sorority she didn’t want (her 3rd choice after Pref.) Tory’s top pick didn’t come through and the girls in her pledge class are really not her type. After several good cries, she stuck it out and a year later, she’s just starting to appreciate her chapter more and beginning to feel at home. She’s still not crazy about her pledge class, but she has made good friends with her older sisters. And when she sees how “rough” it’s been on her friends who got into the “top” chapters, she appreciates her nice chapter more. She knows now, had she gotten her #1 choice, she wouldn’t have fit in and she wouldn’t have been totally accepted.

The chapter where Tory accepted a bid has turned out to be the ideal place for her after all. It took over a year for her to realize this. She is getting more involved at her own pace, her feelings have grown and she now says "I’m glad I’m a XYZ." Most importantly she has finally developed pride for her organization. She didn’t let one group of girls in her chapter stop her overall opinion from improving. She made the best of things and in return has grown to appreciate her sorority much more. After the bid day from hell, you would never guess this could happen. But it does!!

Soooooo, if you decide you can ~ get past the quirkiness of some of your sisters, you can readjust your expectations, you can enjoy the members you do like, you don’t want to forfeit your greek membership and you’d rather avoid an uncertain future recruitment…. let me assure you it IS POSSIBLE to bloom right where you are! Giving your sisterhood a chance is an option. Please just think about it before you depart!  xoxo ;)

sorority Q&A: dealing with the worst phrase in greek life!

Q: was thinking about rushing next fall but some people are telling me that joining a sorority is just paying for friends. Any advice?

A: That phrase drives me CRAZY and it’s so inaccurate. I don’t know why it has been attached to greek life in particular and not all the other activites and clubs it could also apply to!? Many, many endeavors in life include bonding/connecting with other humans. Most organizations which provide fellowship need to charge dues to operate their club or team. Sororities are no different. Someone has to pay for the functioning of the group. The concept of joining a collection of members, and paying dues in a “society” or “association,” is as old as time! Greek life should not be singled out as odd in this regard.  

Greek membership involves lots of events, materials, meetings, socials, housing, meals, trips, clothing, gifts, jewelry and other expenses that must be paid for somehow. Like any other active group, a member is paying for the ‘necessities’ and ‘benefits,’ not just for meeting other members. Friendships are made through participation, just like belonging to a wine club, or a softball team. 

For anyone criticizing sorority life with the “paying for friends” phrase, please counter with some of the activites THEY may belong to and ask them if they are “paying for friends” when they attend their church group or professional club! Most people can’t help but belong to a few associations and end up making friends there. Here are a few examples: 

  • Paying for Church Friends: If you are a church member and contribute to the collection plate every Sunday, then you are “paying” for your church friends, dinners, choir, education program, staff, maintenance and social activities. 
  • Paying for Community Friends: If you belong to the Junior League, National Charity Legue, hospital support group, children’s museum guild, environmental club, humane society, rotary club, or any other local club where you pay dues and socialize with other people while volunteering, then you are “paying” for friends in the community. 
  • Paying for Sports Friends: If you join a gym, yoga class, swim team, cheerleading squad, competitive volleyball team, or any other type of paid athletic endeavor, and you make friends while you exercise/compete, then you are “paying” for your sports related friendships. 
  • Paying for Professional Friends: if you join a professional organization related to your career, use a job networking system, remain active in your alumnae group, join a career guild, or chamber of commerce in order to meet people, further your career and enjoy activites with fellow professionals, then you are “paying” for social and professional advancement and relationships.  
  • Paying for Recreational Friends: if you pay to join a golf club, racquet club, beach club, resort club, dining club, wine club, foodie club, book club, quilting club, travel club or any other group dedicated to leisure activites and fun, then you are “paying” for the pleasure of meeting people who also enjoy the same free time pursuits.  
  • Paying for Romantic Friends: if you use an online dating service, attend singles events, hang out in a pub/bar eating and drinking while hoping to meet someone, or take someone out to dinner and the movies, then you are “paying” for love and romantic connections.

Why join a sailing club when you can go boating by yourself? Why join an art appreciation group when you can visit the art museum on your own? Why join the watercolor club when you can sit alone in your room and paint? Aren’t you just paying for friends with the same interests?

As you can see, almost everything humans get involved in ~ which have dues/payments + plus social interaction ~ can be called "paying for friends." All other special interest clubs, societies and teams are the same as sororities in this regard. 

It’s true a person can attend college, or live in a city, with NO membership in any organizations. They randomly meet people through attending classes, (which they are paying for) or working in their career field. For some people that’s enough. But others prefer group activites and seek additional opportunities to meet like-minded friends! There is nothing wrong with that. Greek life helps so many girls find success and love away from home. And as many sorority sisters say “If I’m paying for friends, then I’m not paying enough!” xoxo ;)

sorority Q&A: stopping and starting sorority membership…

Q: My parents just broke the news to me that they wouldn’t be able to support me financially as a new member due to the high new member fees as well as other financial obligations that are due in the following week. I’m completely heartbroken and unsure as to what to do. What do i do come fall/spring recruitment? How do i get past the awkwardness that i’m sure will arise when i go through recruitment again and go to the same chapter house? How can i ensure my being picked to my top house next time? What do i do in the meantime and what if i get a bid for a chapter that was different than the house i got a bid on this time? Is it normal to drop for this reason before initiation and will the sorority put this against me next recruitment?

A: I think you are being a bit unrealistic in thinking you can drop out and then right away rush again! The higher new member fees will be there with any chapter you try to join. Most families don’t have financial challenges just for one week and then suddenly become wealthier. To dump your chapter and plan on paying all the fees in the future doesn’t make sense. If it’s possible for your family to eventually pay, then I strongly urge you to stay where you are and find a way to meet your obligations. Here are some things to consider ~

  • Dues can be paid monthly, not all at once. They can be paid on credit cards to spread out the impact. If your parents can pay for your membership in just a few weeks, or when you re-rush, I am hopeful they can spread out the payments NOW by paying in installments. There are ways to avoid having too many expenses in one week/one month and still keep your sorority membership. 
  • Speak with your chapter financial officers and see if there is a custom payment plan that can be set up for you in the short term. Maybe they will work with you in meeting your new member obligations. And paying the balance in a few weeks when your parent’s are able. It’s worth asking before you just drop out.

I understand that not everyone can afford greek life. But I don’t understand how you can suddenly afford it next fall? (You will have to wait 1 year to rush again.) If you’re able to re-rush then it seems logical that there is a way to maintain your current membership. If you drop out because you cannot meet your financial obligations, you will be a “high risk” PNM the next time. Sororities rely on members paying their dues. Your family should have been advised about the fees when you accepted your bid. Your current sorority would most likely not take a chance on you again. Other chapters may shy away from you as well. It’s not a good idea to leave with pie-in-the-sky notions of stepping right back into a house a year later. You will be an older PNM, a risky choice and the odds will not be in your favor.

It’s Ok to drop out of a sorority if you can’t pay. But sorority membership  is not something you stop and start depending on how the wind blows. I really encourage you and your parents to take the long view in this. Try hard to get through the next few months, under the condition that you can afford it for the next 4 years. You should have one more honest conversation with your parents before you drop to make absolutely sure they can’t swing it somehow. Maybe they don’t understand that sorority affiliation is not like a book club, where you can just leave and come back. If they know you are being put at a big disadvantage, they may find a way to help. 

All that said, if there is no other solution but for you to leave your chapter, there may be a way to join a sorority again in the future. I just don’t want you to depart lightly, thinking it’s no big deal! I strongly encourage you to get a part time job and help pay for your dues. If your family’s finances improve, you have a job and things are stable ~ you may be able to successfully rush again. Never say never. If that scenario can be avoided it would be wonderful, but if not, make the best of your new situation. xoxo ;)

"In the face of uncertainty, there is nothing wrong with hope." ~ Bernie S. Siegel

What happens if we aren't totally happy with our bid? Do we try and stick it out and see if a connect grows or should we leave?

Asked by
graceand-flowers

I believe it takes more than a few weeks for true bonding, feelings, friendships and everything else involved in sorority life to grow. Nothing is totally perfect. There is no such thing as being 100% happy with anything. I don’t mean to be depressing, but expectations should be tampered with a little realism. Your university isn’t totally flawless, your boyfriend is irritating sometimes, your team looses games, girlfriends forget to call, your parents argue, your car just broke down, etc.. ~ that’s LIFE!! 

If you have been invited to join a generally nice sorority, with no major problems, with decent sisters and enriching traditions, then you are in an excellent spot. You have been given the “blueprint” for an amazing greek experience, but YOU have to build the house! You must fill in the blanks with your participation, volunteering, socializing, hard work, good times, smiles and laughs. All of that takes about 4 years to complete and lots of energy on your part. 

What does leaving accomplish? The end of greek life most likely, unless you want to go through recruitment again in a year and hope that the sororities where you didn’t make a match the first time will change their minds about you. Not a very desirable option. The grass is not always greener on the other side. The chapter that you wish you joined may be filled with cliques, troubles, higher dues, standards problems, infighting, drugs ~ who knows? You can’t tell if your membership would have been better or worse elsewhere. There is no way to travel two paths at one time. 

I highly recommend that you evaluate the opportunities you DO have and determine if your sorority is a place where you can grow. Try these “WOULD I BE BETTER OFF?” questions and hopefully they will help crystalize your thoughts……………..

  • Would I be better off with the friends, roommates, big sister and other sisters available in my sorority ~ or in non-greek life?
  • Would I be better off with the socials, parties, exchanges, mixers, formals, semi-formals and retreats in my sorority ~ or in non-greek life?
  • Would I be better off meeting other greeks, hot fraternity guys, competing in greek games, marathons, fundraisers and helping the community in my sorority ~ or in non-greek life?
  • Would I be better off getting resume boosting leadership positions, teamwork experience, managerial skills, people skills and interpersonal improvement in my sorority ~ or in non-greek life?
  • Would I be better off receiving encouragment to study, motivation to maintain a solid GPA, sisters to study with, academic awards and recognition for a job well done in my sorority ~ or in non-greek life?
  • Would I be better off living with sisters, eating meals with sisters, traveling with sisters, taking a little of my own one day, experiencing the rituals of my sorority and learning what it means to be loyal and true ~ or in non-greek life?

If you ask yourself these questions and you honestly prefer life outside your current chapter, then it’s perfectly Ok to leave greek life. You may not try recruitment again, but sorority membership is not for everyone. Just make a wise choice based on the realistic benefits and drawbacks. Of course I personally hope you stay in your sorority! xoxo ;)

big/little problems: what to do when big & little fall out…

Q: What advice can you give for a big and little not speaking? The big in question posted a photo on Instagram with a racial slur. The little who is responsible for monitoring all social media asked her to remove the comment. The photo was fine, just not the comment. It was only after the chapter president agreed it was racist the she removed the photo. They are both on Exec. They have not spoken to each other for two weeks now. I am the mother of the little. I want to text the Big and say something, but part of me wants to stay out of it. I want them to resolve it on their own. But I am afraid the more time passes the harder it will be.

A: Friendships are tested when one sister is in a position of “authority” over another. This same thing could happen when a big/little is supervising academic requirements or standards behavior and has to deal with a negative situation involving her partner. When a little has to take discipline action with a big, (or vice versa) hurt feelings are bound to happen.

Rather than you stepping in and speaking with the big, I think it would be better to have a heart to heart with your daughter and brainstorm ways to break the ice. Her big is feeling betrayed, embarrassed and targeted. And a sister-to-sister approach is probably best. On top of everything else, if the big sister suddenly got a text from her little’s mom she would feel even more persecuted. These are some approaches to discuss with your daughter and see if one of them might work ~ 

  • Ask another sister, who both big and little love and respect, to step in as mediator. Get all three girls together in a neutral location to work things out. 
  • Have your daughter extend an olive branch such as big basket of cookies, an apology note and an invitation to sit down and talk. Even though she did nothing wrong, sometimes the ‘bigger person’ has to make the first move, apologize anyway and get the ball rolling towards a reconciliation. 
  • Sometimes if a face to face meeting is too much, a letter from the heart can be helpful. Your daughter could write a genuine, loving letter to her big expressing all the things she loves and admires about her, how she misses her and how she wants this upset to blow over. By being humble and caring, it may reach the heart of her angry big.
  • A painted canvas with a ‘faithful” sisterhood saying on it and a note left on the big’s bed would be nice. A bouquet of sorority flowers tied with ribbon and a kind note is another idea. Any gesture of loyalty and compassion - without incrimination - should touch the hardened heart of the big sister.

If after several honest attempts at smoothing things over, she still remains defiant. then there’s not much else your daughter can do. She will have to ride it out and hope time and/or life events will change things in the future. But I would encourage her to be humble and TRY to mend fences before giving up completely. I hope it works! xoxo ;)

"There are no mistakes, save one: the failure to learn from a mistake." ~ Robert Fripp

 

big/little problems: not getting the Little you wanted…

Q: I’m taking a little this semester and I’m super excited about it, but the little that I got is not the one that I was wanting. I’ve talked to her and hung out with her, but she’s kind of shy. I don’t see our personalities meshing very well. I don’t really know what to do because I don’t want to be that big who gets a little and then never talks to her. But I also don’t see myself giving it my all to be her big.

A: You DO know that you have free will and you can CHOOSE to do the right thing? You can be a good person in spite of your feelings. That’s what sisterhood, loyalty and commitment is all about. Strong character shines when the situation is less than perfect, not when everything is sunshine and roses. You say you have the potential to be a terrific big sister, but you are choosing not to do that. All because this particular sweet and shy (probably overwhelmed) new member is not your first choice little. Uhhhhh… I am almost speechless. But not quite!

 YOUR NEW LITTLE: 

  • She may take awhile to warm up to people. She may not be quiet once you really get to know her. She could just be intimidated in new situations. 
  • You and your sorority voted for her to be a sister for life, so there is something wonderful about her personality.
  • She NEEDS and deserves a loving big who will treat her as a special person, show her the ropes, spoil her and guide her. It’s not her fault she was matched with you and not the other little. 
  • Shyness is not the same as being mean, rude, gossipy, back-stabbing, or other seriously unpleasant personality trait. She could be much, much worse. 
  • Time, familiarity and the security of being big/little helps most shyer girls come out of their shell. Given the chance she will probably blossom. Feeling loved and accepted works miracles. 

✬ YOU: 

  • Please give your new little a chance! Imagine what would happen if you went ahead and DID all the awesome things you want to do as an ideal big. What if you acted like you got your #1 choice? What do you think the result would be if you treated her just like a little you’re crazy about? Do you think your relationship would be more positive if you were generous, attentive and totally lovable towards this sister? 
  • How you act and how you feel inside does not have to match. Sometimes you are obligated to do certain things because it’s the right thing to do. From doing your sorority duty many blessings will come. If you give to your new little you will be doing the right thing. If you choose to ignore her and don’t do much ~ guess what will happen? Only unhappiness and negativity will be the outcome. Being cheerful, involved and giving is sooooo much more fun. Take the high road and you will be happier too. 
  • This is an ideal opportunity for BOTH of you to grow. You are now learning that you don’t always get exactly what you want in life. Your personal challenge is to make the best of it. Your little will hopefully learn to be more outgoing with your help. If you are a salt & pepper match, it can be a good thing. She can help you be more generous of spirit and you can help her become more empowered. Look for ways to compliment each other.The best of friends are often opposite in several ways, but they balance each other out. What can you learn from your little? What can she learn from you? How can you enrich each other’s lives? 
  • Not every big/little bond starts with A+ compatibility. Many big/little pairs don’t know each other well and some are complete strangers. You have 100% free will do make this relationship either the best it can be, or a complete failure. Your little will be looking for you to set the tone and take the lead. What kind of big do you want to be remembered as? What do you want your little to say about you years from now? How you were selfishly disappointed in her and didn’t give her the time of day? Or, how you took her under your wing, were nicer to her than any other sister and even though your personalities were a little different, you took the time to make her feel completely loved and accepted in her new sorority? You are the author of your own life script. Which story do you want told about you? 

✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ ✬ 

Hey again! One question that might be a bit of a curveball: how do I move ahead after not getting a bid, and all my friends did? They're all in the house I wanted. :( And Im trying my best but I feel a little stuck and a lot-tle rejected.

Asked by
chainmetoyourheartsdesire

I know you are in a tough spot. First, you should accept that you WILL feel terrible for awhile. There’s no getting around it. You need some time and space to heal your wounds. Your ego has taken a beating and it’s Ok to give yourself a mourning period. The unfortunate things that happened during rush are difficult to get over. Give yourself the green light to just be plain sad for awhile. 

After your heart has healed a little…. then you can dust yourself off and look into other activities on campus. The last thing you want is to sit in your room being pitiful, while your friends are busy with greek life. So you must find other avenues of involvement. Join a few clubs, check out other greek organizations, play a sport, start a new hobby, take a part time job ~ anything that will take you to a new place mentally and physically. You need a fresh start, new non-greek friends and something different to occupy your mind. The best way to get over your set-back is to launch a new adventure as soon as you are ready. Your college journey has just begun. You’re just going in a different direction than you thought.

Even though you are starting on a new track, you don’t need to totally turn your back on your sorority friends. You may decide to rush again next year and you will have amazing connections in the house your friends belong to. Don’t “wait” for that day, but if it comes, you will have an advantage. For now, even if you feel rejected inside, you must put on a smile, move forward and not wallow in your unhappiness. Act as if everything is going to be alright and it will come to pass. You have no choice but to carry on. Maintain your dignity, and you never know where you will be this time next year! xoxo ;)

Get up one time more than you’re knocked down.

rush talk: seeking the perfect chapter…

Q: I dropped formal recruitment last spring because I felt like the only houses left weren’t good fits for me. I just went through fall recruitment and had an amazing time at one of the houses, however I wasn’t offered a bid. I don’t know if I should go through spring recruitment again because it feels as if the only one who wants me to join a sorority is myself!

A: Not so! There WERE several sororities who want you as a sister last spring, but you don’t want them in return! I honestly believe you are being a little bit picky. Every PNM likes certain chapters during recruitment, but many sororities are amazing when they’re putting on their rush “show.” That doesn’t mean they’re a good match for you. The less flashy chapters can be super nice too ~ but you have to give them a chance. I’m not sure what you’re looking for that you couldn’t find in the sororities who were still inviting you back last semester?

In ANY & ALL chapters you can find the following: 

  • Friends who become Sisters
  • Fun social events with fraternities
  • Fun social events with sisters
  • Interaction with other sororities in the Panhel
  • Activities with the entire greek community
  • Fundraising for good causes
  • Volunteering to help the less fortunate
  • Eating meals, living and laughing with great girls
  • Creating crafts, decor, themes, and other fun artistic projects
  • Recruiting new members 
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Learning, education, conventions, awards, etc…
  • Academic support 
  • Public relations and marketing experience 
  • Very meaningful rituals and ceremonies 
  • ETC… ETC…

In other words, every chapter does basically the same things. You can have the total greek life package in any of the sororities you are rushing. You can grow closer to your sisters, bond with members in other chapters via the Panhel Council and use your membership as a stepping stone to more involvement on campus. At some point, it’s in your best interest to join A chapter, if not your dream sorority. There is a big greek world waiting for you if you are a little more flexible. 

If I were you, I would prioritize and say “going greek” is more important than 2 years of repeated rushing to get the best/ideal sorority on campus. The sororities make the ultimate decisions, and they see you differently than you see yourself. The rush system works amazingly well. But compatibility is not always evident until a few months after bid day. You have to give a “nice” chapter a chance.

Perfection is impossible. Your continued search for it is stopping you from getting on with your sorority days. I hope you will rush one more time next spring and open your heart to a sisterhood where love can build. Blossom and grow with the sisters who invite you to be a part of their lives. xoxo ;)

"Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly." ~ Robert Schuller

"Too many people miss the silver lining because they’re expecting gold." ~ Maurice Setter

Hi SororitySugar, I'm in a bit of hard decision.I had plans on dropping from my sorority due to me joining the military in a few months, not getting the experienced that I had hoped for, and the cost of dues. My chapter had bid day today and seeing all the new girls that joined has my rethinking my decision of dropping. Just thinking about not meeting those girls makes me a bit upset about my decision and I don't know which to do. Any advice?

Asked by
ilikedembuns

Totally dropping your sorority is a HUGE decision and one you cannot come back from in most chapters. It is the most drastic step you can take. Sorority membership is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, and just when you think you’ve had enough, you see all the happy faces of your sweet new members and it changes your heart! 

If there is any way you can manage the dues for a few more collegiate years, you will be an alum member for life. When you join the military, if it takes you off campus, maybe your dues can be adjusted. I don’t know your military schedule, but you should ask your chapter leadership about it. 

Each year in your chapter brings new opportunities and new adventures. If you can find a way to get more “out” of your chapter, you will be happier and more fulfilled. Membership doesn’t have to be the-most-amazing-experience-ever to be worthwhile, enjoyable and satisfying.

Make a list of 3 things you can do to elevate your experience this semester. If you are military minded you should relate to setting an objective and implementing the steps needed to reach your goals. Your mission is to target 3 areas that would make your membership more valuable. That might be taking a Little, joining a committee and attending more sisterhood socials for example. Then outline what you must do to reach those goals. See if making a dedicated effort will change your mind about totally disaffiliating. 

Also make a list of ALL the things you would miss if you departed. Your big, hanging out together, greek week, recruitment, spring formal, etc.. Include all the things big and small that you like about being in your sorority and the greek community. All that goes away if you drop out. Sometimes the smallest things are worth hanging onto. The pride in being greek, the commitment you made and the sisterhood you dedicated yourself to at initiation. Those principles mean more than the day-to-day routine of being a sister. Re-think, re-group and revive your sorority spirit! xoxo ;)

"For every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward." ~ Jim Rohn

"You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction." ~ George Horace Lorimer

big/little problems: avoiding a family nightmare…

Q: It is almost time for me to pick my potential big. The sister that I absolutely adore is a junior and already has one little who is also a junior (she rushed her sophomore year). I have talked to both sisters- the big definitely wants to take on another little and is ecstatic over the fact that it could be me, but the little does not agree and does not want a twin. The little has even gone so far as texting me multiple times and telling me that I need to find someone else to be interested in and that I am wasting my time. Help!

A: Aghgghg!! WHY do Littles get so possessive about their Bigs? More often than not, having 2 littles is a fact of life in sororities. The numbers just work out that way. Or the chemistry between bigs and new members sparks and they want to pair up. When actives are recruiting, they are bound to make more happy matches. Sisters, PLEASE be kind, welcoming and remember your creed when it comes to family additions. There is no size limit on the number of wonderful friends a girl can have. New members need nice bigs. This is reality. The entire family can benefit from more lovin.’ 

Maybe you read my recent Q&A post on the best friend of a Big driving the Little completely away. In your case you are being forewarned. It will be no surprise if things go from bad to worse if you choose this big sister. The other Little is in the wrong and she is basically blackmailing you, but it is what it is.

You have a few choices, some better than others: 

  • Go ahead and request your favorite Big. If you are matched with her, prepare for battle. Things will be rough. Any girl who would text you multiple times trying to warn you off, is not going to go take it laying down. If you are determined and can weather the stress, drama and unhappiness ~ go forward. But it will not be warm and fuzzy ever. Go in with your eyes wide open.
  • Don’t list your favorite Big at all. Make sure you don’t get her as a big sister. Yes, you are being bullied and pushed away unfairly, but it’s your life and your peace of mind. If you want happier chapter relations, you may have to succumb to the pressure and look elsewhere. There are many, many other sisters who will be calm, kind and drama free partners. You don’t need the baggage that comes along with this one sister. It’s sad, but unless she suddenly stands up to her Little and stops the threats, you have all the writing on the wall you need for how your life will be in that family. 
  • Accept that even a random match would be preferable. If you’ve spent all your time focused on this one Big candidate, and you’re afraid you don’t have any other connections, it’s Ok. Frequently the surprise matches made by the chapter work out BETER than all the rest. Let fate take it’s course and accept the possibility of a new and exciting friend. I would prefer that to the nightmare you could get into. 

In all relationships, if you are hit up side the head with Red Flags, it pays to head them. Ignore them at your own risk. Even if you went to your chapter leadership and told them about the Little’s inappropriate threats, it would just cause her to get more vicious. I vote for choosing another big sister and then if you want to socialize with your friend you can. But you will not be in the crosshairs of the selfish Little. Life’s too short to start your sorority experience with that kind of nastiness. I know it’s unfair, but sometimes you have to take a different course because it’s the healthiest thing for YOU. xoxo ;)

"Master your choices, or become the slave of their consequences." ~ Michael Rawls

rush talk: how do I join a sorority?

Q: i think i may want to join a sorority but i have no idea how to go about it, what it entails, if i have to look a certain way (i’m overweight). I hear all these accusations and rumors and I tune them out because i hate judging things based on what others say and i really like the idea of having a strong bond with people and meeting new people and etc. I just am not sure if i can or what it entails…

A: I am so happy to hear that you don’t let other people’s biased opinions effect what YOU want to do. The negative comments you hear are from non-greeks who don’t even know what it’s like to be in a sorority. The best option is to make up your own mind. The way to do that is by participating in recruitment. Rush is the formal (or informal) way that greek organizations evaluate potential members and you evaluate the chapters to see who you both like. Chapters and PNMs screen for compatibility and hopefully a match will be made by the end of the week. You CAN find a home away from home with a loving sisterhood. There are all types of greek girls, so don’t believe the stereotypes you see in the media. 

Your first step should be to visit the Panhellenic Council and/or Greek Life website for your college. Also check out the Panhellenic and individual sorority websites and social media. There you will find lots of information about how to participate in rush. Basically you register, attend rounds where you talk with sisters, narrow down your choices and receive an invitation to join on bid day. You will be guided through the process every step of the way. So don’t worry about knowing everything in advance. Your recruitment counselor will help you with any questions. 

To start learning more about greek life in general… please visit the sorority sugar HOMEPAGE  and access the top navigation bar on my blog. There are links to FAQs, a Glossary of Terms and more for you to start learning. Information will help calm your nerves and make you feel more secure in taking the next steps. Start your journey now……. xoxo ;)

We are in the middle of recruitment and the app yik yak is causing some girls to drop out. Is there anything we can say to reassure them that it's not usually the girls in the houses? It's a nongreek or male student. I just want the girls to have the best experience they can.

Asked by
taylorlittle13

Yik Yak is a really unpleasant app that can be used for bullying, slandering, gossiping and outright lying by users conveniently staying ANONYMOUS! Anytime a site allows for total anonymous participation, the results will be negative. Users can say whatever they want to hurt people. Like in your case, the sorority trash talk could be coming from anyone with evil intent. 

I understand that posts can be removed and the user banned if enough “down” votes are entered on the offensive posts. One thing your chapter and the Panhellenic can do is to actively work to vote down the nasty comments. If everyone in the greek community banned together to stomp out this user, hopefully the cyber bullying would stop. 

I also suggest your chapter/Panhellenic make an announcement to all the PNMs about what’s happening. Explain loud and clear that the Yik Yak app cannot be trusted, the false rumors are coming from an Anon source who’s not even in a sorority, the claims are not true and please don’t base recruitment decisions on an unseen gossip. Whatever is being said should be addressed directly. If the user is claiming your chapter hazes, then counter it with the truth. If the creep says all the PNMs are fat and ugly, explain that no sister would ever say that! The FACTS and reality should be firmly presented to provide a counterpoint to the slander. TRUTH can prevail ~ IF it is shared with the PNMs effectively and immediately. Each Rho Gamma/Gamma Chi can address her PNM group with the proper information. Trying to ignore what’s being said doesn’t work. There must be an alternative “message” put out there.

It’s very sad to think PNMs would believe some idiot on an App over meeting all the greeks in person. Hard to believe they could be that gullible and not care about discovering the real story for themselves. I hope if your chapter fights back, communicates with the PNMs and presents the beautiful side of sisterhood, it will get through to the remaining girls. They are the ones you want to pledge anyway. The girls who dropped out over unfounded comments online are not your type. xoxo ;)

sorority Q&A: what to do about feeling hypocritical?

Q: I am having a really hard time with my chapter. I joined as a junior & constantly work hard to make connections with everyone. My big & I are close, but no one else. I am getting so horribly anxious for recruitment. I feel hypocritical telling PNMs to go Greek while feeling horrible while in it. I don’t want to drop because I know I’ll regret it, but I feel horrible about myself every time I’m around sisters. Its making me sick with stress & I really don’t know what to do. Thank you, love your blog!

A: Oh my! I am very sorry to hear this! Sorority membership should be relaxing and fun, not torture. I think most of the problems are in your head and I hope you can switch your thinking around. A brighter attitude is really what you need most! 

First of all, recruitment is NOT a form of misrepresentation or being hypocritical! Greek life is great for most members, even if you’re not having a blissful time. Telling PNMs that joining a sorority is terrific is true and honest for them. Don’t project your own negative perceptions onto them. Also, as you “sell” your amazing chapter to the PNMs, you will start to take pride in it too. There’s nothing like a vibrant formal recruitment to make you remember all the reasons you joined in the fist place. You will in essence be selling yourself on your own organization. Convince yourself as you convince others ~ it’s a win-win. If you become a top spokesperson for your sorority, magically you will start to feel much better. Revisit your creed. Relearn your chapter values. Reeducate yourself on what it means to be a sister. Approach rush as a “rejuvenating retreat” not a stressful punishment. 

As for your Big being your only friend, I think your goal this year should be to change that. Have a heart-to-heart talk with your Big (that’s what she’s there for) and tell her about your struggles. Why aren’t you socializing in a small group of friends? Why doesn’t she introduce you to more sisters? Seek her help ASAP. You are not meant to stand by and suffer alone. You don’t have to be friendly with everyone in the chapter. Set a goal of 2 new friends this year, or this semester. Baby steps. Hang out with your Big’s best friends, be proactive in making a friend at your class retreat, take a new Little, volunteer for one small job in the chapter, “do” something positive. Taking manageable actions to change your reality can make a huge difference. 

If this is your last year as an active, set some realistic goals, achieve them and you will feel more positive as you graduate. Gather the most pledges for your annual fundraiser, dance the longest in your marathon, or paint some decorations for the next social. Even if you don’t make a ton of new friends, you can elevate your mood by just doing things that you enjoy. Being generous with your time and talents is the best medicine of all. xoxo ;)

"Gray skies are just clouds passing over." ~ Duke Ellington

"It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up." ~ Vince Lombardi

big/little problems: being excluded by a dysfunctional family…

Q: I’m a sophomore this year and pledged my sorority a year ago as a freshman. I was so excited about the Big/Little relationship and spent a lot of time thinking about who I wanted as my Big. I ended up getting the Big I wanted, and a Twin I loved as well. Then, I noticed that my Big’s best friend, the Vice President of our chapter, treated me differently than other sisters. She would ignore me if I tried talking to her, would give me dirty looks, and would reject any step I took to develop a stronger bond.

Eventually, I confronted her with these feelings and, rather than her understanding my feelings, and trying to work it out, she sent me an 8 page text telling me how we didn’t need to be best friends just because we’re sisters and that she couldn’t stand how needy I was. Now, my Big and Twin hangout without me, take family photos without me, and don’t talk to me unless I come to them. My Big is actually a very sweet person and will talk to me if I make conversation with her, but it doesn’t feel like I am at all apart of this family.

Now that I am a sophomore and plan on taking a Little this Fall, I’m worried about my family dynamic. Should I confront my family AGAIN and ask them to make more of an effort, and risk making them even more mad at me? I almost want to disband from them and start my own family but I’m afraid that will cause even more drama within my sorority. Should I just ignore it and try to make my relationship with a future Little even better? I just worry my Little will also have to face her Grand Big favoring my Twin and her future Littles, and get shunned as well.
Please help, I feel so frustrated and lonely!

A: Sadly you were totally out-maneuvered by the jealous best friend of your Big. She was threatened by you and she effectively drove you out of the picture. Then she got the rest of the group on her side through her persuasive personality. You were no match for her power and influence on the others. If she’s VP of the chapter she certainly has a strong will and basically you were mowed down. Unfortunately the weaker personalities like your Big and Twin went along with it. That’s very sad. I understand your worries about bringing someone new into this family mix!

I strongly suggest you do NOT rehash the past unpleasantness. And please don’t abandon your family and cause more of a rift. There is no point. Your Big’s best friend lay claim to her territory and she won that battle. At least your Big and Twin still associate with you, when you make the effort. There is no point in bringing all the unhappiness up again.

Instead, it’s your turn to be charming and friendly. If I were you, I would welcome a new Little into the family, introduce her to everyone, socialize and carry on as if nothing happened. You still have your closest family relationships in tact, so time to revive them. Stand up for what’s rightfully yours with a big smile on your face. Let your new addition to the family tree add some spark to this dreary situation. 

Your personal challenge is to be less passive and more confident! The bully VP saw you as week and quickly dispensed with you. You don’t have to take that. No need for arguing, just start being very nice to your family again and repair the relationships with your Big and Twin via your new Little. This is a golden opportunity for a second chance. YOU take the initiative and invite everyone for a night out. YOU take photos and include them. YOU start having so much fun with your new Little that the group will be amazed. Quit sitting back and letting yourself be excluded. Make your own fun, hang out with other sisters, do your own thing, kill your family with kindness and let this year be the year you are pleasantly and politely assertive! It’s your greek life too. Don’t let others put you in a box! xoxo :)