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Coming into college, I never saw myself as a sorority girl. And that’s putting it…delicately. More precisely, I was pretty anti-sorority, so much so that walking past the colorful booths of enthusiastic sorority sisters at the activities fair my freshman fall induced a minor, slightly panicked freak-out. Whenever friends brought up the possibility of sorority life to me, I would gently steer the conversation towards other things, unwilling to sit back and listen to the “you should join a sorority, and here’s why” speech for the hundredth time.

Up until November of 2019, I was completely content with this decision. But after a while (predictably, from the title of this article), my opinion on sororities began to change. My friend convinced me to go to an event where we could meet some of the women in sororities, and after going to a couple more of these, I accepted that my opinion of sororities (which had mostly been driven by my best friend’s older sister and the TV show “Greek”) didn’t apply at a school like Hopkins. I walked into the first event expecting to meet over-the-top, shallow, drama-obsessed girls, and walked out having spoken with women who were intelligent, kind, and inspiring. I came home for winter break, bought a dress for bid day, and broke the news to my high school friends, all of whom were even more shocked than I was that I was going to rush.

With all that being said, recruitment at Hopkins is coming up again in just a couple of weeks, and I thought it would be fun to take a look back on my first year as a member of a sorority at JHU.

Recruitment & Bid Day

Formal recruitment, despite being only three days long and much less intense than it can be at other colleges, was far more difficult and emotionally draining than I expected. While the process was somewhat overwhelming, I loved getting to talk to so many different people every day (and am now MUCH more confident in my small talk skills than I was before) and meet the others girls going through recruitment. And of course, the process itself was completely worth it once the last morning of recruitment came, and we all got to open their bids and see which sorority we had been invited to join.

On bid day, I joined my sisters as a member of Alpha Phi.

Secret Week & Big/Little Reveal

After joining my sorority, the other members of my pledge class and I spent weeks going on coffee dates with the girls in the pledge class above us, seeing who we would be most compatible with as our big sisters, or “bigs.” Once that process was complete, secret week took place; bigs spent hours decorating their littles’ rooms, baking them cookies, and overall making them feel welcome in the sorority community. At the end of the week, the big/little matches were revealed, and each member of the new pledge class officially became a part of a family within the sorority. My big, Juliette, is someone I look up to a lot and has been an amazing friend and supporter over the past year.

My wonderful big showing me around NYC when I visited this summer!

Mixers, Philanthropy, and More

Throughout the year, each sorority has tons of events, ranging from mixers with fraternities or other sororities, to pizza dinners and movie nights, to charity and philanthropy events. Each event provides an opportunity to bond with other members of the pledge class, give back to the city of Baltimore, or just have fun with other organizations on campus. Each sorority likes to take part in university-wide events as well; for example, some other members of Alpha Phi and I joined a team for the annual JHU President’s Day of Service, where we spent an afternoon cleaning up a nearby park.

A photo after a hard day’s work at the President’s Day of Service.
In December, we went down to the Inner Harbor ice rink and spent the day skating.

Leadership Opportunities

Joining a sorority has also given me an opportunity to learn a ton of new skills and take on some new responsibilities. In October, I became the Vice President of Finance for our executive board, and since then have been working hard to keep the budget in check, organize dues, and handle all the money for the organization. It’s something I never envisioned myself doing, especially as a sophomore, but I know that it’s taught me a lot and has pushed me outside of my comfort zone in a positive way.

Overall, I still believe I would be having a wonderful Hopkins experience even if I hadn’t made the decision to go through recruitment, but having a supportive, fun-loving, and inspiring community of women by my side through the past two semesters has not only shaped my life as a Hopkins student, but also challenged me and allowed me to grow as a person. I couldn’t be more grateful for the people that I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made, and I look forward to recruitment in 2020, when a whole new class of incredible women will go through the same journey.

Some of my sorority sisters and I at the Made in America music festival in August.