Joining a "colony" was different than joining an established sorority in many ways. New members of every sorority usually go through some kind of education on the sorority's history, symbols, values, and philanthropy. With a charter class, there are no big sisters to help you through the material, or cover for you when you don't know what's coming next. Instead of big sisters, we had two wonderful ELCs (Educational Leadership Consultants) who helped us through it. All 150 of us learned together, at the same time, which made everything about sisterhood feel more sincere. And everything we learned helped us form our own vision for what we wanted our sorority to be.
Another difference (I won't say challenge) is that as an upperclassman most of us juniors were pretty well established in other activities on campus, and already had a solid group of friends. Most of my friends in other sororities, by junior year, had a good group of girl friends within their sororities. I had joined Theta with one of my best friends, but didn't have the time, or energy to bond with some of my other sisters. Honestly, I wish I'd invested more time in getting to know my fellow Thetas, and it's one of the things I'd "do over" if given the chance.
Throughout my first semester with Kappa Alpha Theta, I learned a lot about the history of the sorority, and about myself. One of our founders, Bettie Locke, took it upon herself to start a women's fraternity after she was not allowed to join a men's fraternity on campus. With this action, she helped to shape the way sororities are today. Sitting in a room with 150 women who wanted to help make our chapter the best we could be, I joined the marketing committee, and worked on our philanthropy, celebrating Theta (Theta Thursday!) and even designing some t-shirts.
While I didn't make as many connections as I wish I had, there were so many other benefits that I found through joining Theta. When I joined, I hadn't set out to be involved in the leadership within Theta (I had a lot of other leadership positions on campus at the time). But when it came time for the sorority to choose its first leadership group, I decided to put my name in the hat. Not exactly sure why, since I was busy, but I felt like I should give back to the group that had already taught me so much.
I wasn't expecting to get the phone call to be the first Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of the new Zeta Omicron chapter. I was put in charge of four wonderful women with positions in philanthropy, social media, and more! Honestly, I wasn't expected to be chosen for anything. But I gladly accepted the position, and did the best I could to help shape the vision that my sorority sisters had for the chapter. But that's another blog post :)
Overall, I had a very positive experience with joining a sorority charter class. I'd recommend it to anyone who's on the fence, or at least talking to the women from the sorority head quarters before dismissing the idea of joining. I didn't know how fulfilling and enriching the experience would be, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Shout out to Megan Harrelson for everything. Also, you look beautiful in the article photo :D