As every sorority girl knows, the worst phrase in the sorority handbook is “social probation.” Boiled down, these two words really just mean one thing: social suicide. Let’s face it, without a social calendar, your entire recruitment goes to shit. During recruitment, a PNM always asks, “Why did you want to join a sorority?” Although most of us half-assed this answer and replied with something about sisterhood, it was probably a lie. It’s how I answered when I was asked, and truth be told, I did want to have a great group of sisters–but I wanted a social life just as badly.
Earlier this year, during my sorority’s work week, my president called my chapter to a meeting and told us we were on social probation. The semester before, we got into trouble for going on a sisterhood bar crawl. The second these words left my president’s mouth, I burst into tears. As social chair, with an entire semester’s calendar already planned out, I was more upset than anyone else. Although some sisters thought I was being overdramatic, others understood exactly how I felt. However, little did I know at the time, these were the tears that would lead the way for the best semester I have ever had as a member of my sorority.
People have said you don’t really know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and I can honestly say that this statement is true. Through social probation, I learned that when you lose something good, something better comes along. For me, this was a sisterhood I had never experienced before. After our president dismissed us from the meeting, I had sister after sister come up to me, each one hugging me and saying how sorry she was. Girls I had never talked to before all of a sudden became my best friends. Drunken nights at fraternity houses were soon replaced by midnight McDonald’s runs, “The Bachelor” viewings, gym sessions, “Gossip Girl” marathons, and Pinterest sprees with my amazing sisters, who quickly seemed to have become my soulmates. Although we were all slightly saddened when we would see pictures of other sororities having an exchange with our favorite fraternity, we were quick to realize that we had developed something many other sororities don’t have: an unbreakable sisterhood. Every time my friends in other houses would say they walked themselves home from the bar alone, I would sit there and quietly think to myself how my sisters would never do that to me.
In the span of just a few weeks, I knew I was part of the ultimate sisterhood. What does this entail? It is having someone who will laugh with you at your stupidity, someone who will eat a bagel with you at midnight and stay up with you until 4 a.m. because you’re having a bad day, or someone who will cry with you when the guy you thought was “the one” dumps you via text. It’s also having someone to criticize every second of “The Bachelor” with, someone to tell you not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear, someone who will congratulate you more than your parents when you succeed–and last but not least, someone who will make you believe you can accomplish anything when you don’t think you can do it.
Although it was no secret that we were on social probation when recruitment took place, we managed to recruit an amazing pledge class. I was slightly surprised with the amazing result of our recruitment, and the more I thought about it, our recruitment was unlike anyone else’s. No, I’m not just saying this because we were the only chapter on social probation out of 19, but because the sisterhood we showed was real. Nine times out of 10, sorority girls can find themselves lying at least once during recruitment–not because we enjoy lying, but because we simply want to recruit the best of the best. Nevertheless, this year during recruitment, I found myself saying nothing but the truth. When I told girls that eight hours before recruitment I had been sitting in my sorority’s kitchen eating cold, leftover pasta with my sisters, they would laugh and think I was kidding. As hard as it may have been for the PNMs to believe, my sisters and I did eat carbs during recruitment. Although these stories may sound silly, it is through these stories that our friendships shine. Furthermore, it is because of these friendships that when a PNM would ask me, “Have you found your bridesmaids here?” I would find myself tearing up while answering, “Absolutely.”