What Joining a Sorority Taught Me

The Creed of Zeta Tau Alpha

To realize that within our grasp, in Zeta Tau Alpha, lies the opportunity to learn those things which will ever enrich and ennoble our lives; to be true to ourselves, and to those within and without our circle; to think in terms of all mankind and our service in the world; to be steadfast, strong, and clean of heart and mind, remembering that since the thought is father to the deed, only that which we would have manifested in our experience should be entertained in thought; to find satisfaction in being, rather than seeming, thus strengthening in us the higher qualities of the spirit; to prepare for service and learn the nobility of serving, thereby earning the right to be served; to seek understanding that we might gain true wisdom; to look for the good in everyone; to see beauty, with its enriching influence; to be humble in success, and without bitterness in defeat; to have the welfare and harmony of the Fraternity at heart, striving ever to make our lives a symphony of high ideals, devotion to the Right, the Good, and the True, without a discordant note; remembering always that the foundation precept of Zeta Tau Alpha was Love, “the greatest of all things.”

To be true (to ourselves)

In high school I never really thought I would join a sorority, but as the deadline for rush quickly approached I made the decision and signed up. Rush wasn’t exactly all the fun and games that I expected it to be, but the experience itself helped me realize that staying true to who you are will get you where you’re supposed to be or at least close. Rush isn’t a perfect system, but it hopes to give every girl an equal chance to meet as many girls in each sorority. It wasn’t until I was on the other side of rush that I realized that you’re being judged on more than the clothes you wear or the amount of money your parents have. When a sorority gives you a bid it means they could see you as a possible friend or could see you walking around campus representing the organization. So it’s better to be yourself during rush because you’ll end up in a sorority where you will most likely make friends and eventually become sorority sisters.

 

To look for the good in everyone

At my school it’s customary for greeks to live in the sorority/fraternity house for your sophomore and junior year, but because of ZTA’s policies and our house size usually only the sophomore class and a couple of the juniors live in the house at one time. So as a freshman I was super excited to be out of the dorm and live in the house. I have to say living with forty girls is fun, but it can also be hard at times. Living with that many people under one roof, has taught me to realize that even in one organization there are a variety of personalities and you might not get along with everyone and that’s ok. I think that was the hardest part for me living in our sorority house. I thought I needed to be best friends with every single person in the house, but you have to understand that even though you’re a part of the same organization there are still a variety of people and personalities. I learned to accept that you won’t like everyone and not everyone will like you, but to put your differences aside and have fun!

 

To prepare for service and learn the nobility of serving

Ever since I was in high school I’ve wanted to make the world a better place. As corny as that sounds, I tutored at the two middle schools in my district, helped clean up the local highways and roads with the Eco Club, ran fundraisers for special olympics with the Key Club, etc. The list isn’t to brag, but to try and give you an understanding of how much I care about giving back to the community. Every chance I got to give back, I did. Not much has changed since high school as I volunteer at the local middle school near my university and for other various organizations at school and throughout the community. Joining a sorority has strengthened my idea of service, especially through our national philanthropy, Breast Cancer Awareness & Education. When I first joined ZTA I didn’t understand the magnitude of our impact, but meeting survivors of breast cancer and ovarian cancer at the survivors walk or talking with families who have had loved ones pass away made me realize that by handing out ribbons at the NFL games or around campus might not seem like you’re making a difference, but bringing awareness to the cause and educating young women and men about breast and ovarian cancer can save lives. The realization that together we can make a difference makes me proud to be a part of Zeta Tau Alpha and the greek community.

 

To be humble in success, and without bitterness in defeat

I have to credit my parents for teaching me to celebrate my successes and taking my losses as lessons, but joining a sorority has only strengthened the idea for me. When you get to college you’re no longer the smartest person in you class, you’re no longer the strongest person on your team, you’re no longer the only one to be President of a school club. It’ll be a bumpy transition and you won’t get everything right the first time, but as you settle in you’ll find yourself with little successes like the B you got on your English paper or getting above the average in your physics class.  When I got elected to be on the executive board of a school club one of my sorority sisters mentioned it at chapter and I said it was no big deal, but she insisted it was. My sorority taught me to celebrate my successes, not to brag, but to realize my successes instead of brushing them off like it’s no big deal. (I’m still kind of working on this one)

 

Love, “the greatness of all things.”

Zeta Tau Alpha’s founding precept was love and I think joining has made me realize love comes in many forms. We don’t always say it directly to each other, but whether we were friends before joining a sorority or we don’t talk much except during chapter I care about you. I care whether you’re sober enough to go home with that boy tonight, I care whether you lost drum major to the guy who didn’t try as hard as you did, I care about if you’re ok after the passing of your father. Sometimes I take this for granted, I think people don’t care, but it’s college and we’re all really busy. Just because one person didn’t wave to you passing on campus does not mean they don’t care. Of course it would be nice if we all happily waved at each other passing through campus, but it doesn’t always work like that. I’ve learned that caring isn’t always saying you do, but it is the actions taken.

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