Back long, long ago in Fall 2013 I received a bid from Kappa Delta Sorority. I am an only child and was not sure what to expect from sorority life. I had not heard any of the negative stereotypes when I decided to go through recruitment so Greek life was still this entirely new concept to me. I knew in high school I was interested and did research on the three, yes only three, sororities that were on my campus. I thought I knew what I wanted. My first choice was another house and I did not get a bid from there. My home that I would find my people at knew what was better and gave me a bid.
I remember my first instinct being, “Well everything happens for a reason, so we’ll give it a try”. How lucky am I that freshman me thought that way. I loved my house from the beginning. The girls were so nice and happy and truly gave me that “home away from home” I was looking for.
I ended up getting involved the first semester after I was initiated. I was a mentor to our new spring members and on both the formal and informal recruitment committees. I was also an alternate Panhellenic delegate if our PD could not make it to meetings. My entire college KD experience was centered around recruitment. I knew my experience and I wanted to share that with others.
My sophomore year I ran for VP-Membership. Under me, I had a committee I ran that planned formal recruitment, and had appointed officers that worked with sisterhood, informal recruitment, and retention. I worked with around 20 women for the furthering of our chapter that year. I worked through challenges that taught me how to work with others in less than ideal situations, be a positive influence for everyone, and it gave me my first big leadership role.
The summer of 2015 I went to the KD national convention in Orlando at Disney World. I had the opportunity to attend workshops, watch our national officers initiate a member, a grow my network. The girls who attended from my chapter and I agreed that the feeling of love and sisterhood that hit us when we walked through the convention hall was unmatched by anything we had ever felt. Here were 2,000 KD’s so in love with their sorority experience that they wanted to celebrate it with others. During recruitment, we always talk about our “KD moment”. This moment connected us to KD for a lifetime. Seeing 2,000 women rejoice in the good our sorority did was my moment and I’ve never looked back.
That Fall, I ran our formal recruitment. If you’ve ever gone through sorority recruitment, you know how timed and perfected it is and I had the honor of being the mastermind behind that. It was awesome. I thrived in that environment. There was so much planning (about nine months) that had gone into it and to see my hard work paying off like that was incredibly rewarding.
After feeling confident in myself when recruitment was over, I decided to run for president. By decided I mean I went back and forth about a thousand times… When I was elected a part of me was thinking, “What have I just gotten myself into…”? Being the leader of a large group is difficult regardless of what it is. This was no exception. The hardest moments were having to be the president and follow the rules when I wanted to be the friend someone needed more. Leadership can be lonely sometimes and there were times when it was. The woman who was president when I was initiated said something that I’ll always remember, “When you’re the president you’re holding the rest of the chapter up, like an inverted triangle. So you’re not on top, you’re on the bottom”. I always kept this in mind so I would never get a big head like, “Oh, I’m president, I can do whatever I want”. This kept me grounded through two years on council and 100% the year I was president.
The year as president was the most life-changing, challenging, and overwhelming one yet. At times I felt like I was drowning in the meetings, calls, and trying to be the rule enforcing mom of the group. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it, but juggling it all with school felt impossible at some points. However, my year as president produced the best GPA I’ve had in college. I lost friends over being president. When you’re in a position like this, you can’t share information due to confidentiality and you have to make choices that anger people. You have to constantly be thinking of the larger, greater picture. I always thought, “Would our nationals be okay with this? Is this appropriate? Does this have any potential to end poorly”? If any answer to those and many other questions was yes, I advised against it. I did everything in my power to keep our reputation, both local and nationally as good as possible. Sometimes people don’t get it and that’s okay. When you’re in a position like that you give up a lot to give a lot back and I was more than okay to do that.
There were many positive moments I had to rejoice in. Every time we won an award, the pride I felt in my chapter was unlike anything else. I loved seeing how excited my sisters were and I loved feeling as if I had played some part of it. The bonds created between my sisters and I during my two years on council shaped me into a more forgiving, understanding person. My favorite moments were when I cried in front of my entire chapter when our recruitment was about to start. I was so proud in everyone and thankful that they had been so easy to work with the year I ran recruitment. I rarely cry happy tears and that day I sobbed. The day I installed our new president, I sat in the back of the chapter room crying my eyes out. I couldn’t believe my year was over. I couldn’t believe I had exceeded every expectation I had of myself. Most of all, I couldn’t believe how it all affected me and challenged me to expect more of myself and others.
Most people are going to tell you how great leadership opportunities are and all the positive sides of them, but there are downsides as well so don’t forget that. However, every experience is more than worth it. The positives grow you closer to the bond and the negatives shape you into a better person. At times when I was in it, all I could see was every negative thing about the positions, but in retrospect, all I can see is how positively they affected me. The connections I made with advisors, women from other chapters, and with sisters in my own chapter outweigh every negative tidbit there could be.
If you get the chance, push yourself to be great. Believe in your abilities, and never settle. Also #protip, don’t let negative people get in your way and suck you into their negativity, you don’t have time for that.