As someone who was once in a sorority, what feels like eons ago, I can safely say that there is a common stereotype when it comes to sorority girls. Now, I am not going to be one of those people that says they’re all blonde, perky and have an usually high voice, but I do think that there are certain characteristics that one needs to have if they want to be in a sorority.

First, you need to be dedicated to your sorority. I don’t think that outsiders realize how much time it takes to be in a sorority. From going to philanthropy events, hosting your own philanthropy events, getting skits ready and helping with recruitment, there are so many things that you will invest your time into once you’re in a sorority.

Not to mention chapter meetings, holding an office with the chapter (which isn’t a requirement, but most people do it anyway) and of course still going to school, it takes a lot of work to be a sorority girl. I think that being dedicated to the things that you commit to is an essential qualification.

Even after college, you still commit to that sorority. Donating to your collegiate alma mater is not required, but donating to your sorority is (for most chapters, I cannot speak for all). So, when you join a sorority you’re not just shelling out the dough for four years, you’re paying in for life.

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Second, you should be decisive. Want to pay thousands of dollars each year to live in a semi air-conditioned house with a bunch of other girls while you all share a bathroom/common room/lives with each other? It is a large commitment that you take on, and realistically you only get a week to make that decision.

Being a sorority girl is all about having a certain feeling, feeling that you found the right house and the right sorority for you and committing to that. This decision is most likely going to be an expensive one, so you better be sure when you decide. Not being sure of your decision could eventually make you resent your sorority experience.

Finally, you better have thick skin. Sorority girls get hammered with stereotypes all the time, even though a lot of those stereotypes are also things that could apply to GDIs (gosh darn independent)’s. You need to be ok with people judging you and mocking your decision to join a “cult.” You need to be ok with people constantly asking you “why did YOU join a sorority?” which will usually be followed with an extremely passive aggressive compliment/insult.

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Not to mention the whole “you just bought your friends” argument that you will literally hear until the day you die. I don’t know why everyone thinks that when you cram a bunch of girls into a house they all just magically get along and become best friends, because that is totally not the case. While you might find your best friend in your chapter, odds are you’ll also find five people you cannot stand in the least. Really, the money goes towards the swag and formals.

You need to be ok with dedicating most of your time to your chapter and to different philanthropy/chapter events. Do you think that sorority girls like recruitment? No, it’s hell. It is six to eight days of constant singing and smiling while you’re sweating in a matching t-shirt with all your other sisters. But, they do it because they’re genuinely happy when a new girl finds her home at the same wonderful institution.

That smile you see on all of the new Gamma Delta Iota’s (yes I know that is not a real sorority, it’s called an example) faces when they run up to the house on bid day is exciting. You can see how happy they are to find a place that also wants them. How much it means to them to be a part of a group of strong, independent females. Does it make getting up at six a.m. every single morning to make sure the house was ready for that day’s activities worth it? Kind of. I mean, I am not a morning person, but it was a pretty cool feeling.

Sorority girls have some common characteristics, but that doesn’t mean that they lose any of their individual personality. It just means that they signed up to wear those two/three letters for the rest of their lives. Just remember, being a sorority girl doesn’t just last four years, it’s for life.

Kristen Larson ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in communication arts.