HOW TO FIND SISTERHOOD—WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE A PAIR OF TRAVELING PANTS

When it comes to finding sisterhood, true vinas can be found in many places. For those of you in school, your greatest gal pals can be found in your university halls or at your off-campus jobs. For others of you not in school or new to jobs, finding true lifelong vinas can take a bit more effort. Especially when you don’t have a pair of traveling pants.

I found my sisterhood through a group chat on Twitter. It all started when a Twitter-famous girl posted a tweet one morning in March 2017. In her tweet, she said that wanted to start a group chat full of #girlbosses from around the world who just wanted to support and love each other. Naturally, I wanted to be a part of this, so Ali added me, and here I am. We started with a little over 100 girls and over the past year and a half have dwindled down to 30 of the most caring, loving vinas I have ever met. We call ourselves Twitter Girl Gang, or TGG for short, and honestly, I would have never imagined that that 100-girl group chat would last this long or evolve into the caring support group we have.

These girls are my true vinas, my sisterhood around the world. Some of us have met, some haven’t yet, but I am sure that one day we all will hang in person. Over time, we have evolved from a group me chat to a Twitter memes chat, a Snapchat group, and email pen-pals, talking every day for the past year and a half. As life goes on, some of us may not talk as often, but we always know we have a home and a family to come back to. A pair of traveling pants may not hold us together, but the love and support we all share for each other does. 

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What TGG has is rare and there aren’t too many people like Ali wandering around starting group chats, so how do you find your sisterhood? Well, other than my main group of gal pals in TGG, I have found a ton of groups of supportive girls that I have found online.

The first is Facebook Groups. Search for and find groups based on your interested and you’re sure to find tons of awesome vinas in your area and abroad to grab coffee with or just to talk to online if they live out of your area. Some great groups I’m a part of are Girlboss Gang, inspired and created by Sophia Amoruso and her amazing company. StyleHaul Society is perfect for those in the Youtuber/influencer/creative field. Boss Girl Bloggers is great for all blogger girls out there. I’d recommend RMSuperwomen for our boss girl Rebecca Minkoff fans. Lastly, The CF Community. for college fashionista style gurus. Join groups related to your job field, your hobbies, your school, your area. No matter what your interests are, there’s bound to be a Facebook group out there for it, and if there’s not, make one!

Another way is to search Twitter and the internet for the words “group chat” or “girl group” and see what comes up that you could join! You never know if you might find your own TGG out there.

For offline bonding, try rushing a sorority or joining student organizations related to your interests. Attend networking events related to your industry or concerts or social events and go alone, you’ be surprised how outgoing and social you become when you are alone in a crowded room! I met two of my newest vinas this way and it was the best thing I could’ve ever done! In a matter of minutes, we formed our own little girl squad.

And, of course, there’s no better way to meet new vinas than going on Hey! VINA  and planning group vina dates with a few of your new vinas.

No matter how you find your sisterhood, you don’t need a pair of traveling pants to do it. Just put yourself out there and see what sticks, it can’t hurt! Accidentally stumbling across a tweet that changed my life, and you can find that too.

How did you find your sisterhood? Let us know in the comments!

WHAT TO DO WHEN ALL YOUR FRIENDS ARE GOING GREEK AND YOU’RE NOT

Sometimes not being in a sorority can be tough. Being the unaffiliated friend in a group of sorority girls can include being out of the loop on inside jokes or references to sorority traditions and activities, spending less time with your sorority friends during busy times of the year, and of course, not understanding the appeal or importance of Greek Life. But like any tricky situation, the keys to maintaining a happy relationship with your group of friends are the basics: support and honesty.

I went to a small liberal arts school with an active Greek Life. I was unaffiliated, but I had enough friends in sororities and other Greek organizations to learn some key lessons in how to maneuver between their worlds and mine.

DONT JUDGE

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(Image via blog.urbanoutfitters.co.uk)

Sororities and the women in them are oftentimes met with judgement and negative stereotypes, so it’s your place as a friend to avoid contributing to that.

Never give unwarranted criticism of sorority traditions or events. Sometimes your sorority friends will want to talk or vent to you about Greek Life. When this happens, address their  problems from a place of support—not criticism or judgement.

SUPPORT THEIR PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES

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(Image via Kappa Alpha Theta–Columbia University Facebook)

Whether it’s a party or a philanthropy event, support your sorority friends—they’ll want you there to take part in the events they worked so hard to organize.

An added bonus of doing this is that you support your friends and get to hang out with them at the same time! Who knows? There’s a solid chance that you’ll have a good time yourself.

If you really want to show your vinas how supportive you are, you can also donate to and learn more about their philanthropic initiatives. Go one step further and help them prepare for their annual events and competitions! It also never hurts to stand up for them when they’re faced with judgements and criticisms.

The list of ways you can encourage your Greek affiliated friends go on and on, but don’t take my word for it. Ask them personally about the ways you can offer your support.

BE HONEST AND DRAW BOUNDARIES

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Remember that you are a friend and not a sister.

As much as you support your friends in sororities, it’s important to hang out outside of the sorority house and Greek related activities. This means setting aside time for just you and your vinas, and making sure that conversation isn’t dominated by Greek life. Be honest about any feelings of alienation or division that result from being unaffiliated! Your friends will not only understand, they will work with you to make sure that you feel more included.

Can’t shake the non-affiliated blues? It’s always an option to use VINA and find more gals to hang with. 

(Featured image via urbanoutfitters.com) 

OMG! THINGS NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT JOINING A SORORITY

So you’ve decided to join Greek life, that’s great! Or maybe you’re still just testing the waters a bit and doing some research, that’s great too! I’m going to give you a few tidbits of advice that I wish I had known before joining a sorority.

TAKE DAY 1 OF RECRUITMENT WITH THE PROVERBIAL GRAIN OF SALT

Let’s just say formal sorority recruitment is hectic… and even that is an understatement. Sorority women prep for formal recruitment the same way you’d prepare for a major presentation at work or in class. We know that first impressions are everything so we’re going to put our best foot forward and we expect the same of you. Now with that being said, the point of recruitment is (obviously) to recruit new members so we’re going to make ourselves look as appealing as possible. However, don’t take every sorority you meet on the first day at face value. I don’t mean that the women you meet aren’t genuinely nice and fun (they probably are!), but keep in mind we are trying to seem as appealing as possible, especially on day one.

ACCEPTING A BID DOES NOT MAKE YOU A SISTER (YET)

One of the most common misconceptions I’ve seen in PNMs (potential new members) is that they believe that accepting a bid means they’re 100% in and they can go ahead and order all the sorority merchandise their little hearts desire. Once you accept a bid, you are a new member, but that doesn’t mean you’re officially a sister. You can’t really go to Greek events or order letters to wear around campus just yet, you have to earn it.

IT’S NOT ALL RAINBOWS AND BUTTERFLIES

Sororities are all about sisterhood, but let’s be honest here, no sisterhood is perfect. Nine times out of ten you will LOVE being in your sorority and be grateful for all the wonderful women you get to call your sisters. But that one time out of ten, you will wonder why you even joined a sorority because being in a room with 50+ girls and trying to get organized in any way can make any person want to rip all of their hair out occasionally. A bit of advice for those moments – think about how life would be if you had never met any of your sisters and chances are you’ll be right back in that nine times out of ten mindset.

IT WILL QUITE LITERALLY CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Okay, maybe you have heard this one before. Chances are this is one of the lines you’ll hear during recruitment, too, but I’m going to elaborate a little bit on how being in a sorority can change your life. First and most importantly, you’ll have a built-in support system for any problem you may have. From wanting someone to eat lunch with, to needing a ride from Long Island at 4am because calling uber is too expensive, your sisters will always be there for you. Second (and also very important), the networking opportunities in and out of college are practically endless! Say hello to amazing internship opportunity, job interviews, and organizations that you may not have had access to before.

IT’S AMAZING, BUT IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE

I don’t mean this in a, “Not everyone can be us,” snobby sorority girl way. I mean that if you accept a bid, or even if you become a full-fledged member, and then decide it’s not for you, it’s okay to walk away. It’s important to follow your gut if you’re not 100% positive that you’ve found your home in a sorority (or Greek life in general). Maybe you’ve realized that the sorority you pledged isn’t your best match, or maybe you’ve realized that Greek life as a whole isn’t for you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The point of a sisterhood is to support you and elevate you to be your best self and if the friends you’ve made during the whole process are your true friends, they’ll continue to support you even if they can no longer call you their sister.

Trust me, this knowledge is SACRED and will save you a ton of trouble come recruitment. Whether you’re rushing or not though, the most important thing is finding a community of women to surround yourself with and support you. And maybe a sorority is the perfect community for you!

(Feature image via Urban Outfitters)

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR BFF JOINS A DIFFERENT SORORITY

Going through sorority recruitment can be one of the best decisions you can make while at college, especially if you’re lucky enough to go through it with your best friend. You can talk about which house instantly felt like home and about the ones that you felt weren’t the right fit for you. Bid day will come faster than you know, and you’ll soon be rushing into the arms of your new sisters.

What if you both receive bids from different houses? Or maybe one of you decided Greek life wasn’t for you and joined another student club instead?

Fear not, vinas! We’ve got you covered with some sisterly advice:

FIRST, CONGRATULATE YOUR VINA

Whether it’s bids from different houses or a student group like the collegiate newspaper, this new change in life should be celebrated. You each found a group on campus, which means membership into a new community and home.

BE OPEN MINDED AND REALISTIC ABOUT MAKING PLANS

Speaking from experience, the process of becoming an active sorority member is a time consuming experience. It’s not as easy as accepting a bid. While becoming a member of another non-Greek organization on campus may not require a lengthier on-boarding process, it doesn’t mean it won’t be time consuming.

Whether you’re both in the new member education process for your respective sororities or one of you has student group events, keep in mind that your schedules may not always work for the other. Sometimes you might only be able to spend an hour with each other to catch up over lunch or coffee.

REMEMBER YOUR OG FRIENDS

As much as you will love your sorority or your student group, don’t isolate yourself to that one activity and ignore all the friends before you joined. Don’t alienate your friends who aren’t in the same sorority or club because you think that they won’t understand your POV.

(Featured image via @anehigley)