Finding your own sisterhood


Part of the sorority quad on South Campus. (Julianna Nunez/The Daily Northwestern)

Julianna Nunez, Editor in Chief, Summer Daily Northwestern

Joining a sorority will feel like the biggest temptation when you live on campus. Sororities look like a great place to be: nice house (I mean, really, really nice), a new family system in college, special events for just you and your friends and those jazzy t-shirts. I know I contemplated joining a sorority during my freshman year. After putting more thought into it, I found out that a sorority life was not a life for me and that’s okay. Let me repeat that, it’s okay to not be in a sorority.

I’m sure there are many of you who think that being outside the Greek system will be detrimental to your social life. It’s definitely not. The reason I did not join a sorority are very simple: for one, I could not figure out which sorority I wanted to be in and two, I was too lazy to go to any of the rush events (while you should not be lazy going to class and doing work, it’s okay to be lazy about going to a rush event if you’re only half interested).

The rush period ended and many of my peers were suddenly and proudly wearing their sorority t-shirts. I will not lie and say I was never envious. At times I felt like I was left out of an exclusive club, a very “high school-like” feeling I was none too proud of. However, I found that not being in a sorority did not make me a social pariah. Instead, I found that I had a new family on campus, too, along with plenty of new sisters.

A non-Greek can also form their own traditions and sibling-like relationships among their own group of friends. Instead of joining a sorority, I joined a Christian ministry on campus. There were no rushes or pledges involved. The ministry is certainly not exclusive like a sorority, but I believe it can offer similar opportunities. Like sororities, my Christian group offers some events that are open to the entire campus and some events that are offered to the regulars at the ministry. The special retreats have given me some of my fondest memories on campus. Who wouldn’t want to jump off giant sand dunes and make s’mores, all in the same day?

I have also managed to find family and community in other unexpected places. I have made a habit of going to Hillel and the Tannenbaum Chabad House. Sure, it may seem like a “home away from home” for only Jewish students, but this Catholic-raised Christian student found several friends and mentors in these locations.

Another thing I want to emphasize is that just because you decide to not join a sorority does not mean you will live an entirely Greek-free existence at Northwestern. Sororities and fraternities host several parties and philanthropy events throughout the year. When my boyfriend decided to join a fraternity, I found myself becoming very involved in the Greek system. It’s nice going to parties at his frat house and not have to pay to get in. Also, my boyfriend’s job in the fraternity was to order food for everybody. I would have to wait until everyone got their share, but needless to say I got several free meals because my boyfriend is in a frat.

Rush periods can also be fun on campus because everyone becomes very relaxed about their schoolwork. This may seem like a bad thing (we’re supposed to be learning in college), but when you are at a university where people are normally very high-strung about their schoolwork and extracurricular activities, it becomes nice to have everyone focused on something social.

Sororities and fraternities are not meant to create a divide on campus, so you should not allow them to create a divide in your social life. Family can be found anywhere at NU, you just need to look for it.