Growing up, I loved listening to my mom talk about her college days. In fact, the only thing I really wanted to be when I grew up was a college student. I dreamed about going out into the world of boys, parties, and learning. (I was kind of a loser, but I know you’ve taken at least ONE class you were excited about.) My mom had stories about all that, but the best stories that she told us were the ones about her sorority. She was the perfect sorority girl: held positions but still partied, won awards for fun reasons, and dated a fraternity guy who all her sisters loved. (Meet my dad, who was actually voted a sweetheart for her chapter.) Yeah, I basically come from some awesome Greek heritage.
I was never actually big on going Greek, but I always knew if I DID, I wanted to join my mom’s organization. I wanted to wear her letters, her badge. I wanted to be a legacy and make her proud. So imagine my surprise when it came to my school’s CPC day, where PNMs were introduced to all of the organizations, and I felt NOTHING when I talked to members of her sorority. It didn’t feel like home–it felt like a bunch of strangers staring at me and me having no idea what to say. It was awkward and uncomfortable. I was there for maybe five minutes before I knew I needed to move down the line or risk them thinking I was the biggest loser they had ever met. Not a great first impression, but whatever. But, that day, I talked to girls from another organization.
At this point, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be in a sorority. At all. But these girls made me think I should. They were energetic, happy to see me. Conversation flowed. In fact, I think the only reason I eventually decided to go to their rush parties during recruitment was because of the girls I talked to that day. I was unsure about going Greek, but they made it seem like I was already home. I connected with their philanthropy. I connected with their personalities. It was obvious that they were happy to be there talking to PNMs. I fought myself for months about where I should go. I signed up for formal recruitment and dropped because it was just too much. But (you all know the story) one persistent leadership consultant badgered me into a meeting.
And from there, the rest is history. You see, PNMs, it’s not always about your legacy status. Yeah, that can be a great thing to have. It can help you get a foot in the door of the organization you want to join. (Never rely on it wholly, though! No sorority is REQUIRED to take a legacy.) But your legacy can be a curse as much as a blessing. I felt trapped by mine. I felt like I would be disappointing my mother if I joined another organization. But I knew that if I joined her organization, I would never be home. I would always be pretending, and four years of pretending is just too much.
What I realized, and what I wish everyone else would realize, is that recruitment isn’t about your mom, or your grandma, or anyone else. It’s about you. It’s about finding your home, where YOU belong. It’s about connecting with women who love you for who you are, for who they know you can be. It’s about being yourself and trusting that your sisters will love that person, inside and out. Recruitment is your time to shine, ladies. In the end, I’m glad I chose my sorority. My sisters are amazing women who inspire me every day to do the best and be the best that I can. I’m proud of our chapter, one that has rebuilt itself from the bottom up in only two years. I’m proud to say that I chose where I belonged, instead of where everyone else wanted me to be. Going against my mom’s legacy wasn’t easy, but it was the right choice for me, and I’m never happier than I am when I’m surrounded by my sisters–the women who chose me for me, not for who my mom was.