As some of you may know, the first week of school has been busier for some than others.
It’s recruitment! Specifically for Panhellenic sororities: Alpha Phi, Phi Mu, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi and Kappa Alpha Theta.
These may sound like a jumble of Greek words, but they mean a lot more to me. I am a senior in Kappa Alpha Theta, Theta for short, and I have always loved recruitment. I hope all of you who did take part in recruitment this year enjoyed it as well. Some of you may have been hoping to find a new sisterhood, family or friends.
Other women were seeing for the first time the other side of things, learning how each sorority recruits their new members.
Many hard-working women were involved in organizing recruitment and there were others, like me, who were seniors going through recruitment for the last time, maybe with a tear in their eye or a massive smile on their face.
It really got me thinking, as I experienced Theta’s formal recruitment in the spring for the fourth time, what it’s all about.
I must preface this by saying that I have never been involved with organizing recruitment.
I have major respect for people who do because it seems like a lot of work on top of everything we already have to do, but it makes all the difference. Thank you for all you do, ladies. I could never do what you do.
As I was going through recruitment this year, women would ask me why I joined Theta, what I have gained from joining and my favorite thing about the sorority.
It really got me thinking. It made me reflect more and more, as I wanted to give as authentic an answer as I could.
I do believe that having recruitment in the spring is a good idea at a place like Hopkins, especially for all the freshmen that go through recruitment.
The school is structured in a way that allows you to make friends when you first arrive and isn’t too big.
I feel like the fall semester of freshman year allows you to figure stuff out and find your place.
I remember arriving without having registered for a single class (yes, that is true) and just trying to make friends, figure out my major and learn how to survive and thrive at Hopkins. If I had gone through recruitment in the fall, I probably would have only made friends in my sorority.
However, the fall allowed me to establish myself in other ways and then find my sisters a semester later. I got to meet lots of different women during the fall semester from all the different sororities, and they were very kind to me. They answered all my questions about joining a sorority.
These were many of the same questions women were asking me during recruitment as they were figuring out what they wanted to get out of this odd process.
To clarify, despite not being American, I really wanted to be in a sorority.
My father was in a fraternity in the Netherlands, which he loved. At the age of 53, he still goes on trips with his friends from his frat, and they are still supportive and loving in every way that I have found my Theta sisters to be now.
So when I arrived at Hopkins, I really wanted to join a sorority as soon as possible.
I know this is not the case for all who join a sorority, but I think it makes me the happiest when women who never thought they would want to join an organization like Theta end up loving it.
The women I met over my freshman fall also taught me how joining one sorority does not mean you can only be friends with those women.
Yes, of course, I have made life-long friends in Theta, some who will be in my life forever, but I also have many a friend in other sororities.
The Panhellenic community is really one of friendship and support, but I think we still have a bit to go before we really start to connect with other non-Panhellenic sororities on campus or more fraternities.
So, why Theta? First of all, CASA. This is our philanthropy, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates.
That second day of recruitment when Theta taught me about their philanthropy really moved me.
The sisters seemed so invested in CASA, and I knew I wanted to be, too. It was a cause I could really get behind.
Second of all, the leadership qualities of these women. I loved that the entire room was full of strong women who were all so involved in their various organizations outside of Theta, as well as in Theta, striving to be leaders all in their own way.
When I learned about how all these women were so dedicated to what they did, I was convinced I wanted to do the same.
I even became the Chief Operating Officer of Theta.
That has to be one of the best things I have ever done on this campus and it has taught me more about myself than I could have ever realized, as well as allowed me to work with the most marvelous women.
I am not saying that these things are exclusive to Theta, but it was what I found in Theta.
Thirdly, the women. Of course, it’s hard to know the intricate differences between the sororities when you are in the whirlwind of recruitment, but upon reflection, I came to realize what about Theta I loved so much.
The friends I made that I knew I would always be able to rely on, that would lift me up in my darkest times and that want to celebrate me each day.
And I feel the same way about all of them.
There are so many more things I could say about being in Theta, recruitment or joining a sorority at Hopkins.
I just hope that all of you reading this know how great sororities can be for women, and I really hope that all of you get to experience something like I have from being in Theta.
Love can take many shapes and forms, and I have certainly found one of the greatest loves through my sisters. I wish that you all too find love as pure and that makes you as happy as I am with my lifelong sisterhood.