Growing up I watched my older sister join a sorority in college. I watched her go through both sides of recruitment, get her big and her little, and everything in between. She called home everyday gushing to our mom about how AOII was her dream sorority. She had found her reason to make college feel like a home away from home. The day she received her bid was one of the best days of my sister’s life, and I honestly didn’t understand why. To my 14-year-old self, I was confused about why my sister felt she had to pay so much money just to make friends.
The first time I understood the way my sister felt when she received her bid was on my very own bid day. When I stood in line, anxiously waiting for someone to hand me an envelope that would determine the course of my college experience, I realized that this was an opportunity to find a group of women just like me. I knew whichever sorority I received a bid from would become my second family and help me make my school my home away from home, just as my sister’s sorority did for her.
Receiving a bid from Sigma Kappa and being introduced to Greek life has given me more than I ever imagined possible. Before going through formal recruitment I was an anxious introvert that was dependent on others. Since then, I was given the courage to be myself regardless of how tempting it may be to conform to society's expectations. When everyday life seems to stick to the status quo and encourages society to act a certain way, the 100 women that make up my chapter encourage me to stand against that and be whoever I want to be. No matter who you decide you want to be, there will be an entire organization of women standing behind you cheering you on when you are involved in Greek Life. I would have never imagined myself holding a leadership position in my sorority as Vice President of Alumnae Relations. All it took was a group of people to believe in me, for me to start believing in myself too. Now, I am at the end of my sophomore year, and halfway through my executive term, I have built dreams of a future that once felt unrealistic. Those dreams don’t scare me so much anymore, because of the confidence, support, and determination my sorority has instilled in me.
Moving away from home can be a scary experience, it is the first time you are thrown outside of your comfort zone into something completely new. A lack of familiarity is one of the hardest parts of change. My first two weeks at UMASS Amherst were terrifying, and all I wanted to do was go home. I spent my first moments at UMASS looking into transferring because I was so unhappy. My mindset was entirely altered the minute I received my bid from Sigma Kappa. I had 100 girls helping me adjust to my new world. These girls have made college an experience I never want to see end.
In a time of a global pandemic, we are forced to reflect on what makes us happiest in life, and what we would like to change when we have the opportunity to return to life as we knew it. Like every girl in college, I miss the weekends with friends, the late-night dining hall trips, and everything in between. But the thing I miss most is my sorority. What people don’t understand is a sorority house is more than a place to sleep, but a second home where I can find people who are consistently excited to see me and put a smile on my face. A sorority is more than “paying for your friends, and having guaranteed plans for the weekend.” It is finding a group of girls who share the same values as you. It is sharing a common bond of your sorority so no matter how different two sisters may be, they can come together and be there for one another. It’s the late-night mac and cheese in the kitchen crying over a broken heart to your best friends. It's the early morning gym pals, the study buddies, and people to travel the world with.
Being in a sorority gives friendships that are so much deeper than someone you meet in class, or in the dining hall. These girls share the same values as you. Sigma Kappa has given me my big - a role model in times of hardship and uncertainty, but also a sidekick for nights out or lunch dates. My big inspires me every day to be myself in the most authentic way possible. Sigma Kappa gave me my little - the person who keeps me on track and focused and always wants the best for me. Sigma Kappa gave me my future roommate, who also happens to be my best friend. The girl I want by my side whenever anything good, or bad happens. The same girl that I would eat candy with in the middle of the night and people watch out of the third story windows of our sorority house. Although sororities use the word sister to describe everyone in the organization, regardless of this label I would still call this girl family.
Without my sorority, I simply don’t know where my life would be. Although I believe that eventually I would’ve found my confidence, and found friends, it is not comparable to those of which Sigma Kappa has given me. No matter what sorority you’re a part of, they all offer you the same lessons: be open to new things, new friendships, opportunities, experiences, and everything in between. With Greek Life, you have no idea where your life may take you, but I promise you, it will give you the most amazing experience that will last beyond four years of college.
Xx, Maria Trifiro
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Sigma Kappa