I believe in the power of sisterhood. I believe in the connection between sorority sisters. The stereotypes of anorexic, promiscuous, STD-ridden girls, in my opinion, are extremes that could happen amongst any circle of female friends. For every hazing nightmare or weight-loss trauma I hear, I could counter it with a story equally stirring, but about friendship and love instead.
When I joined the Beta Phi chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta, I was a freshman at Penn State University, a campus with an average of 40,000 students. I hoped to find a small group of friends with whom I could laugh, cry and confide in. Specifically, I wanted someone to make sure I wasn’t walking home alone at the end of the night or texting the boy I liked too often.
On November 11, 2007, the worst thing in the world happened to one of my very best friends in the entire world, who also happens to be my sorority sister. Her name is Cathy and her father passed away instantly after a heart attack the night before. What I saw in response to this was amazing. Immediately, her room was filled with, not “How are you doing?” or “I’m so sorry,” but millions of hugs, kisses and hands to wipe away tears. We knew she was going through the worst day of her life, and she knew we were all painfully sorry. There was no need to ask or tell.
Cathy’s roommate, Katie, who is also in our sorority, skipped an entire day of classes, a first for her, to be with Cathy until she went home that day. While she was gone, our sorority put everything aside. The chapter sent her flowers and our pledge class engraved her father’s initials in a silver necklace, but somehow that wasn’t enough.
On the day of the service, more than half of our chapter drove six hours to and from Maryland to support Cathy after the loss of her father. It was a small act of kindness, and true, many people do this when their friends’ loved ones pass away. But many girls did this, not because they knew her very well, but simply because Cathy was their sister. The look in Cathy’s eyes when all of her friends walked into the room was priceless, and something that I’ll never forget. And the wonderful thing is I know these girls would do the same thing for me if I lost a parent. I can honestly say that joining a sorority is the best thing that ever happened to me. I’ve found friends that I can truly be myself around, and I really do consider them family. It’s unfortunate when friends within a Greek organization choose to abuse the relationships they have within their sorority or fraternity, and I will admit that it happens. However, I believe that this doesn’t always happen. It has certainly been the opposite case for me.