Bid Day is the final day of the exhausting, two-week formal recruitment process. Not only is Bid Day the end of recruitment, it is also the beginning of a whirlwind experience that is joining a sorority. It is the first day in the journey of becoming an initiated, life-long member of a national organization. If you are like me and signed up for formal sorority recruitment on a whim–without any family members who had ever participated–you are probably feeling completely overwhelmed in the weeks following Bid Day.
I began thinking about signing up for sorority recruitment during my first semester when I felt nostalgic and missing my girlfriends from home, who I had spent endless hours with rehearsing and performing. It occurred to me that a sorority might be a way for me to replicate that community of girlfriends that I cherished. I loved high school because of friendships with older girls I admired and then becoming that person who younger girls looked up to. In other words, I wanted to be someone’s little, and then be someone’s BIG.
That right there was the extent to which I thought through the decision to sign up for sorority recruitment. I didn’t ask questions about how much it cost. I didn’t ask questions about the new member process. I was completely unprepared for being a member of the Greek Community.
What I wish I had known as a first-year student going Greek:
According the most recent data, the average new sorority member will pay $1,280 per semester.
- $1,280 x 7 semesters = nearly $9,000 over the course of four years
- I need to earn $80/week during the 16-week semester to pay for it
- Some chapters have payment plans and additional scholarships – for example, my friend washes dishes to help pay dues.
- The reality: The majority of students are not paying their Greek life dues on their own. There is limited socioeconomic diversity.
Our campus should be sensitive to the fact that access to participating in Greek life is limited to those who can pay for it. If you have a friend who may really have wanted to try Greek life, but cannot afford it:
- Only 11% of Ohio State is Greek! Encourage your friend to seek out involvement that provides a similar community – you can find incredible friends in other student organizations.
- Invite her to hang out with your friends in your sorority. My best friend from freshman year did not go Greek but I take her as my date to different functions and she was always welcome at my sorority house.
- Be careful with how you paint your experience and be aware of your friend’s feelings. It’s important to share the exciting moments as well as the overwhelming ones. A sorority experience is not a perfect one.
The realities of sisterhood
- A sisterly bond is stronger than friends, right? That bond does not form overnight. You become sisters with 100 girls and getting to know them takes time. It might take a whole semester just to learn names. Be patient. I wasn’t sure if Greek Life would be for me until my sophomore year when my sisters became some of my best friends.
- Go to your new member meetings! The New Member educator’s primary responsibility is to care about your transition to the sorority. The New Member educator cares that you feel comfortable–talk to them.
- Not everyone who goes Greek drinks alcohol. In fact, it is an expectation that as a member, you act responsibly and represent your chapter well. There is a team of sober monitors to enforce the rules at every event with alcohol present. In my sorority, the other sober monitors dress up in ridiculous outfits like footie pajamas! If you feel pressure to drink to make friends, or feel that a majority of the experience is drinking, talk to your chapter advisors and executive board.
- It’s unrealistic to think you are going to be best friends with every girl in your chapter…or even want to be. This is where that sister component comes in. Sorority sisters should value each individual and respect them regardless if you like them.
- The reasons you join are different than the reasons you stay. Look out for the reasons that make your sorority a really positive influence in your life.
Lastly, keep in mind that sororities that fall under PHA are just one branch of Greek life. Members of multicultural Greek organizations, academic Greek organizations, and fraternity men go through this transition into their chapters as well. No branch of Greek life is better than any other; support and honor your fellow Greeks!