A distinct nervous buzz of excitement filled the Tillman auditorium on a humid August night in 2016. I was exhausted from the first week of classes and completely overwhelmed with the sense of newness that I think every freshman college student experiences. My Pi Chi was holding a large manila envelope bursting with bid cards and my group knew that we would shortly be opening them. The minutes seemed to drag by, but the time finally came for us to find out which sorority we have the opportunity to join. As I tore open the stark white envelope with my trembling fingers, I heard shrieks of girls around me. I stared blankly at my bid card, not recognizing the azure and white crest insignia printed onto the shiny white sheet of paper. My racing heart skipped an entire three beats as I pieced together the various symbols of the sorority on the white and blue bid day card, finally realizing that I had been invited to become a part of Alpha Delta Pi as I laid my eyes on the shiny penny glued to the top! This moment is one of my most treasured memories from my first year as a Panhellenic woman, the excitement of opening a bid card is a feeling that I will never forget and one that I will never again experience. I joined in on the ecstatic screams with the rest of brand new Panhellenic women and waited until Alpha Delta Pi was announced to run down to Bowman Field. Running down the stairs from the top seats of the auditorium, I recognized only a single girl in my new pledge class from my hometown, Lauren. I quickly found my way to her in the crowd of new “Alphas”, as ADPi calls the girls who receive bids, and we ran down into the electric crowd of ADPis who welcomed us with open arms, face paint, and our first sorority t-shirt.
I can now look back on my bid day with joy and gratitude, but I will admit that the first few months in joining a sorority can be stressful and even lonesome at times. As my bid day buddy, and now my big, Carman introduced me to her friends and other members of my new pledge class, I was quickly overwhelmed. Even though I was excited to be joining a place that I knew I would fit in, I looked around and felt as if everyone already knew each other. Even though hardly anyone knew each other, I experienced a strange emotion that is hard to describe--it felt similar to loneliness or the feeling of being alone in a crowd, but I shoved it to the back of my brain faster than you can shout “Boom Boom” and say “Plug It”. Bid Day came and went in a flash, and when I got back to my dorm room on the fifth floor of Manning, my ears were ringing and head was spinning with leftover adrenaline and bliss. Although I was absolutely elated that I got invited to be a member of ADPi, those sneaky lonely feelings came back to me. I clearly remember lying in bed that night, thinking “What next? Now what do I do?”. Everyone on Bid Day was so welcoming, kind, and excited for me, but I still couldn’t quite shake my feelings of insecurity.
It would be a lie to say that I made friends immediately after joining ADPi. It took a lot of hard work by putting myself out there and inviting myself to lunch with groups of people to make friends in my new pledge class. After years of seeing Bid Day pictures of older girls I knew on Instagram and Facebook, I fell into believing the glamorous myth that hundreds of new best friends are instantly made after joining a sorority. I clung to Lauren in the first few days after joining ADPi and slowly made new friends. I overheard a girl named Kate who sat my table in my math class say something about ADPi and I realized that she was in my pledge class! We commiserated over our hatred for Math 1010, little did I know that she would be one of my roommates two years down the road! My memories of the first few weeks of sorority life are pretty blurry, but I think Kate was my first friend that I made in ADPi, with the exception of Lauren. Gradually, my circle of friends grew. I met Abby, my Barnett roommate and one of my current roommates, at our Olympic themed mixer! I met Kylie through Lauren and we became fast friends. I met Beth at an Alpha Education meeting and although I did not get to know her well until the very end of freshman year, we also became instant friends. Beth is my third current roommate! While it took several months to make six close friends, my circle began to grow. It was not until March of my freshman year that I felt like I had truly made friends with girls in my pledge class. As I think back on freshman year, there are certainly happy memories, but I also remember experiencing a lot of loneliness. Most of the happy memories I can recall come from spring semester, after I had laid a foundation for friendships and settled into the college lifestyle that is not nearly as glittery as social media makes it out to be. Nearly three years after my freshman year and countless conversations with my sorority sisters, I have come to realize that everyone, regardless of what they are posting on social media, does face a certain level of struggle when it comes to creating deeply cultivated friendships throughout their freshman year of college.
Sophomore year rolled around before I realized it and I moved into Barnett Hall to live with my sorority sisters. Living on the hall was one of the highlights of my college experience and sophomore year has been my favorite year of college so far! Living doors down from my best friends was a blast and I will always remember sitting in a circle with my friends on the floor of my room in Barnett, laughing until I could not catch my breath and tears were running down my cheeks. As I reflect back on sophomore year, happy memories flood my mind--meeting my little, Kathryn, in third round of recruitment, LollaPILooza Bid Day, dancing the night away at 356 for semi-formal, eating pizza on a dorm room floor before Mallard Ball, sharing clothes and jewelry with sisters before game days, and dancing to “Cotton Eye Joe” before every crush party. The friendships that I had cultivated freshman year grew stronger and deeper, and my love and thankfulness for ADPi continued to exponentially grow. I can only remember feeling down one time while living on the hall, and that was in the last week of living on the hall. We all came to realize that living within feet of our best friends was coming to a close and we were sad that this awesome, memory-filled year was coming to an end. More than a few tears were shed on move-out day, but I knew that I would love living in an apartment with three of my sisters for my junior year.
Now, as a junior, I am finally starting to appreciate what being a part of a sorority has done for me. As I think about junior year so far, I am overwhelmed with happy memories--moving into an apartment with Abby, Kate, and Beth, being a part of All My Diamonds Shine Bid Day, everyone turning 21 and finally being able to explore the downtown scene, basking in the sun at Lake Hartwell, singing Fleetwood Mac at the top of our lungs, strolling to the dikes on Friday afternoons after class, and sitting on the floor of my apartment laughing with my best friends (who are also all my ADPi sisters) until I cannot catch my breath, tears are running down my cheeks, and my stomach aches from cackling! There are so many things that being a part of a Greek organization has taught me and I have gained so many opportunities through being a member of Alpha Delta Pi. I am grateful for having a hard adjustment to college during fall semester of freshman year. While feeling lonely at times was miserable, I am oddly appreciative that I experienced these feelings because it has made me truly thankful for the happiness that I have experienced since then. I have been surrounded by love and support consistently, and I believe this is a shining reason of why joining a sorority has had such a positive impact on my life. The friendships I have made in this journey called college will last a lifetime and so will the memories. I cannot believe I am about to become a senior in an organization that has shaped my life in such a significant way and I am looking forward to sharing my Alpha Delta Pi memories for years to come. My journey in this organization has come full circle--from feeling lonely, intimidated, and insecure to feeling elated, confident, and assured that I have cultivated lifelong memories and friendships. College in general is full of ups and downs, but now I can truly understand and live out the Alpha Delta Pi motto--We Live for Each Other.
What My Sorority Means to Me
For me, Tri Delta means endless transparency, authenticity, love, and support. These words embody our core values of friendship, truth, and self-sacrifice as well as our brand, “Bring You.” This means friends who care about you more than you can know, the most authentic and genuine girls you have ever met, friends who will be with you to celebrate your highest high and friends to be there when you hit your lowest low, girls who know when to have honest and real conversations with each other but also who know when to let loose and be crazy, and most importantly the lifelong friendships that are formed from bonding over the craziness that is college life.
Growing up as the only daughter of a mom who had been involved in a sorority, I always knew about the special bonds between all sorority women, from new members to alumnae, same sorority or not. My family knows many of my mom’s sorority sisters, as we spent time together as families and even grew up with some of their children. These relationships were the standard that I subconsciously set for what my sorority experience would hopefully be like when I grew up, went to college, and joined a sorority myself. Little did I know that my expectations would be greatly exceeded after only one semester.
I distinctly remember telling my pi chi after philanthropy round that I felt as if I had just spent 40 minutes with my best friends. Although I may not have known it at the time, friendship is one of Tri Delta’s three core values, and I was able to experience that first hand. If not for Tri Delta, I may not have met some of my best friends.
Each member of Tri Delta has a unique, genuine, kind, caring, and authentic character that is modeled by the statement “Bring You”, our brand. I may not know each and every member personally, but I know that any one of them can attest to and prove that Tri Delta is all about being your real, true self. For myself and many others, this means we can be our weird, fun selves without worry of judgment from others.
Truth, the second of the three core values, is important to all of us in Tri Delta. We strive to be honest in all that we do at all times. This makes us who we are as a sorority, because as stated in our opening motto, one part of our purpose is “to broaden the moral and intellectual life.” Truth is a big piece of this for us, because it is morally right to speak the truth in all that we do. I see this every day in the members of Tri Delta as we endeavor to be fully honest and open with each other.
Another core value of Tri Delta, self-sacrifice is important to us especially when it comes to our philanthropy, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Each member of Tri Delta is passionate about supporting St. Jude, whether they have a personal connection to it or not. Self-sacrifice is evident when girls take time from their lives to support St. Jude, from visiting the hospital in Memphis to completing our 50 letters for the Sincerely Yours fundraising campaign. We are all dedicated to making an impact in the lives of the children of St. Jude, and self-sacrifice is our way of showing our support for them and their families.