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What Life In A Bottom-Tier Sorority Is Like

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Well, it happened. There you are holding your bid card–and you didn’t get the house you wanted. It’s not the house anyone wanted, really. Welcome to the bottom tier.

How did this happen to me? Was it because I gave up on my preppy, girly style in an effort to follow the rush dress code? Khakis died in the ’90s and girls don’t get bids because they follow the rules. Was it because I went darker instead of blonder over break? Rookie mistake–if Elle Woods taught me anything, it’s that sorority girls are platinum. Was it because during my first semester I occasionally (read: frequently) made out with five guys in one night? Projecting the image of a slut while remaining a virgin was my unfortunate specialty freshman year (okay, and sophomore year–ah, youth).

When I went through rush, there were only two houses I wanted to be in: one top tier, one middle tier, both southern strongholds full of classy, beautiful women. When I got cut from both of them and it looked certain that I was headed to the very bottom, I dropped out of rush. When a new chapter colonized that fall, I joined and became a founding member with four of my roommates. It was an uphill battle, because new houses don’t exactly start on the top. I’ll let you in on a little secret, though: joining my sorority is one of the best things that ever happened to me, and it was the highlight of my college experience.

My sorority made me a part of a stronger sisterhood that I can’t even imagine living without. There is no way to do it justice here. There is teamwork, like the time we hauled my best friend up to our third floor walkup after she’d had too much fun at a mixer. There is support, like when things didn’t work out with the boy I shamelessly adored who didn’t care I existed–my sisters hugged me, drank Andre with me, and didn’t tell me how pathetic I was (it didn’t need saying). There is laughter, like when Kristen danced on an “inappropriate surface” (you know, a stripper pole) at a date party while chanting “send me to Standards! I don’t care!” And there is love–there was an outpouring of sympathy, comfort, and grief when my roommate’s little died. So many elements make up a sisterhood, but I think it boils down to this: we all want the best for each other, and we are there for each other when the best doesn’t happen.

I’m not here to lie to y’all. Just because I love my sorority, it doesn’t mean we don’t have problems as a bottom-tier organization. I feel like this label doesn’t fit my sisters and me. People say we are unattractive, but I’d look around my chapter and see only girls who are beautiful inside and out. People say we are the “nice girls”–but this is completely true. My sisters are absolute sweethearts. Why do people sling being nice around like it’s an insult? We are sluts or we are prudes, airheads or nerds, annoying or awkward–we get the usual slander that all sororities face to some degree, too. I admit there were moments when I was ashamed to announce what house I belonged to, but all of those instances outweigh the times I’ve been proud of my sisterhood. Proud that we raise tens of thousands of dollars for our philanthropy every year. Proud we won Greek Week. Proud Lucy was on homecoming court. Proud Christina is going to med school. Big and small, I’m proud of it all because it means so much more than a label.

This bond I share with my sisters hasn’t faded since graduation. Dispersed across the country, my pledge class remains the supportive net I was so used to having with me throughout undergrad. My sisters in undergrad still seek our advice. Even though we’re not in the sorority house, we are still there to catch a sister when she falls and to cheer her on when she succeeds. By joining my sorority, I met the most confident, kind, hardworking, brilliant, beautiful, hilarious, generous, strong women I have ever known–women I am proud to call my sisters.

So chin up, bottom-tier ladies: what you have within your chapter is a bond that is so much stronger than what people see on the outside. And that’s worth everything.

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