When friends ask me about my Year abroad the most common questions are about my sorority; Why did you join? How did you join? What was it like living in the House? and so on.
The Day it all began: Bid Day
Joining a sorority was the best decision that I made whilst on my year abroad and it truly made the experience what it was. Something that was extremely important for me was to make American Friends on my year abroad and joining a sorority was the perfect way for me to meet Americans and get involved on campus.
I decided to go through recruitment after a friend from school who is studying in America and in a sorority persuaded me that it would be fun. I thought that it would be a cool experience even if I didn’t actually join but then ended up falling in love with one of the houses and the girls I spoke to in that first week remain some of my best friends.
As a member of a sorority you get thrown straight into campus involvement as preparation for Homecoming begins almost immediately after you join. Homecoming was invented at Mizzou in 1911 and is a tradition that is taken very seriously across the nation, but nowhere more so than Mizzou. Organisations across campus will get involved, make floats for the parade and painting shop windows downtown. The Greek Community however, gets the most involved. The theme this year was ‘A Tale of Tradition’ and our theme was ‘The Cat in the Hat’. Sororities and fraternities are paired up and required to create a float for the parade, prepare a skit and dance, and make giant ‘house decks’ and characters with a story that they will perform for the local children who come to watch (this is all quite confusing but hopefully the pictures give you a clear picture of the general idea). Homecoming was an incredible time at Mizzou and I would 100% recommend everyone who studies at Mizzou to get involved, whether that is going to the parade or going to see the house decks and mini plays that the Greek community puts on for the local children. All of this was time consuming and a bit of a commitment but I loved every minute. I made some of my closest friends during this time and it threw me into the deep end of being involved and busy, leaving me little time to be homesick.
By the time homecoming was over I had made some incredible friends and even been invited to one of my sorority sisters homes for Thanksgiving. It felt so special to be invited into someone’s home and now this summer I am returning the gesture and she and another girl from my sorority are coming to see me in London for a week.
Me with my friends family for Thaksgiving. Her mom was in the same sorority as us when she was at Mizzou.
Some of my best experiences and memories from my year abroad were made with girls in my sorority, whether that was driving to the small neighbouring town to go Line Dancing, driving to get late night Andy’s Frozen Custard (the most delicious thing I have ever tasted) whilst singing along to country music, going on hikes to the Pinnacles and of course going on a Cruise to Mexico for Spring Break.
The Gorgeous Blue seas of Cozumel for Spring Break
I was lucky enough to not only be nominated for an officer positon but also to move into the beautiful sorority house in the second semester. My positon as Facility Management Officer allowed me to get more involved with the running of the organisation, and get to know some of the Alumni and share experiences of college life whilst living in the house.
My ‘Big’ Sister and my ‘twin’ – every greek house will have a family system where there will be ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’.
Of course there are a lot of negative feelings and perceptions of Greek Life, but my experiences could not have been more positive. I was surrounded by a group of strong women who support and encourage each other, whether that is helping them apply to on campus organisations, internships and job, going to watch a sister perform in an A Capella concert or even picking out a wedding dress. It was incredible to be a part of something where you feel so supported; every week at our Chapter meetings girls are given shout outs for their achievements on and off campus.
A picture of me with my roomates: ‘The Women of ‘316’ at one of our philanthropy events. Our room made frequent trips to get Andy’s Frozen Custard blasting counrty music in the car!
One of the many jummping pictures my roomate Luci and I tried to take using self timer at the Big Tree.
So that is a whirlwind summary of my experience with being in a sorority. It was an incredible experience that shaped my year abroad experience and I would without a doubt do it again. I feel so blessed that I was given the opportunity to become a part of something so special and know that I have grown so much through this experience, and although I hate to admit it, these girls have changed my mind about Country Music and I have found myself listening to it on my walk to work in London.