Since joining my sorority in November of 2013 I have had an overall very pleasing experience. I have had many successes through my sorority and currently serve as the President to my undergraduate chapter. Recently, I attended a Summit with both national and international members, who to my surprise were very diverse. I met members from the Windy City of Chicago to the Sunshine Bays of California, all who were there to fulfil a similar purpose in uplifting our sorority. We also spent time attending workshops that were intended to invest in our personal, professional, and social well-being both in and outside of the sorority.
One of my favorite sessions was about the Successful Leaders in the Sorority. The panel featured leaders both past and present from our international board, Regional Leaders, and even Chapter Leaders. During the panel discussion, one of the past International Presidents stated one thing that resonated with me from that point forward. In summary, she stated, “The key to being a successful leader in [our sorority] is to have a life! When you have a life outside of [our sorority] it is then that you can be successful inside of [our sorority]”. She went on to describe the typical duties that may be familiar to women of all kinds, but made the point that we should not put our sorority before God and our womanly duties.
Wow! I was blown away! I’ve met and worked with so many people who have only had a passion for one thing, their sorority. Even their rooms, cars, and offices were decked out in paraphernalia, they typed and spelled with an emphasis on Greek letters, and even wore the clothing day and night like it was the only thing they owned. I’m sure you’ve seen these people, so submerged in their organization that it’s all you recognize them for being in or doing with themselves.
It was even a shock to me at one point to be questioned as to my ability to balance both my sorority and those organizations that I’d joined and/or founded prior to my initiation. It was almost offensive for one to think that I was incapable of having a balance between my personal/professional life and that of my sorority. Don’t you know I’m Super Woman? Lol And I truly proved them to be erroneous.
But the point of the matter is that membership in a Greek Lettered Organization should not consume your life, but should simply complement it. I remember having a conversation with one of my sorority sisters in which I stated, “The best people in our sisterhood are those who have other things going on too because they can use their own experiences to be of better use for our sisterhood”. Those are the people who are able to lead successful lives inside and outside of the sorority because they are able to shift their focus concerning each. Thus proving themselves multifaceted and well skilled. This was confirmed true to me not simply by my own experiences, but even more when having heard it from one of our most prominent past leaders.
You see, it is a myth of any sorority to say that we are only women who solely represent the sorority. We are sooooo much more! Most of us have families, successful careers, own businesses and private practices, and are involved with other organizations also. It is not just in our letters that we find our purpose, but they simply represent beliefs that we share with other women to hold ourselves to the standards of excellence in our scholarship, service, and sisterhood.
To those of you who may read this who are interested in joining a Greek Lettered Organization, it is a myth to think that by joining such you will become a new you or that you will become more high and mighty than those around you. It is a myth to think that you will become more popular or important. It is a myth to think that by joining a sorority that all of your dreams will come true or all of your heart’s desires will come to be. It is a myth to think that stepping and strolling is all that we do. It is a myth to think that joining a sorority will improve your personal or professional life and make you more successful. It is also a myth to think that you cannot successfully balance your present responsibilities with those of the organization. The success of your experience and your life is solely up to you, not granted by your membership in a Greek Lettered Organization.
It is important that by doing your research prior to pursing your interest in any Greek Lettered Organization that you are esteemed and empowered by the truth behind the founding of such prominent organizations. It is not in the colors we chose or the letters we wear, it is about the purpose that we too can identify with and commit ourselves to being a vessel to.
Have a life before you join a Greek Lettered Organization and keep one after you join. There should be such a focus on your passion for your community, your academics, and your success that once you are initiated that it’s not simply what can the organization do for you, but what can you bring to the table for the organization.
It is then that you find your place and are truly able to appreciate all the organization has to offer. Live Life, Love Life, “Have a Life”!
By: Verinique D. Bailey, “The V. In Virtue”
Disclaimer: This blog is solely opinion based and my views are not that of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.