The beginning of the school year is upon us and those in the sorority life circle know that means one thing: Recruitment. Recruitment is like Black Friday from the rest of the world. It’s the time when sororities go into “the black” and have met their numbers for the year. New members trample over each other to make it to their new home. And in the end, just like with the holidays, it is all worth it when you step back and look at the smiles on everyone’s faces on bid day.

So you’ve come across this blog. Are you a new student interested in joining a sorority? Are you already in a sorority and need a push to recommit at 100%? Are you an alumna of a sorority looking for confirmation that yes indeed being in a sorority and still committed even though you graduated is still a good idea? Are you a parent worried about your daughter starting college and possibly joining a sorority? Are you a curious bystander interested in learning more about greek life and/or mental health? Then this blog is for you!

Being in a sorority is good for a woman’s mental health and here are four ways that it helps improve emotional wellbeing.

Teaches you to take care of yourself
Most sororities have a set of values or pillars that they work off of. Delta Phi Epsilon has what they call the 5 S’s, as a part of their Personal Development Program. One of the S’s is self. Each year, women are encouraged to do things to nurture themselves. These things can include developing a workout plan, committing to going to therapy establishing long-term and short-term goal, running a marathon or any other activity geared at developing a deep sense of self and personal accomplishment.

What is does is teach women at a young age that they are important. That even though they need to get good grades, give back to the sorority, be a member of their family and probably have a boyfriend, they need to incorporate me time into their routine. Women can lose sight of their personhood, especially when more responsibilities are placed on them. A valuable skill being taught in sororities is how to make taking care of yourself a priority.

Need some ideas on how to take care of yourself: create vision boards for your life, join a gym or find a therapist to help you work on what’s holding you back from fully embracing and developing your sense of self.

Teaches you to give back
Each year, across college campuses, sororities and fraternities alike plan and execute philanthropy events to raise funds and awareness for a variety of issues. Zeta Tau Alpha raises money and holds events every October for breast cancer awareness month. On a local level, sorority women host flag football games, male beauty contests, soccer tournaments, fashion shows, benefit concerts and more to support their philanthropy. Women spend their time planning the events and securing funds to meet their goals. And what does this do for women? It teaches them to give back to their community. It teaches them to think about the needs of others who are less fortunate and how their contributions can impact them. It teaches them to become civically engaged and plugged into what is going on in the country and world, especially when it comes to disease, illness and special needs populations. Philanthropy events are fun and it helps women to be connected to an organization and be willing to give money and time and build relationships with people.

Teaches you to see the future
Sororities have a mantra: Not for four years, but a lifetime. When you join a sorority, it is not just about the here and now. It is about making a lifelong commitment to your sorority, to the university, to the philanthropy and to your sisters. It’s about knowing that there will be something out there for you when you graduate from college. It’s about being able to connect with other alumnae if you happen to move to another city. It’s about being a bridesmaid in your sister’s wedding or having them in yours. It teaches women to think about what they want their future to look like and what skills and tools does the sorority have to help them reach it.

Teaches you to see how we are all connected
Being in a sorority is about being connected to yourself, sorority sisters, Panhellenic sisters and the university. These connections often mirror what is like to be in the real world. There are meetings and events and responsibilities to manage in a sorority and in adult life. Women will learn how to see themselves as a part of a bigger force. Women will learn to see how people are connected in this world. There are many stories of people going in for a job interview and being interviewed by someone in their sorority. Just recently a group of DPhiE sisters were in Disney for their convention and they were taking a picture in their letters, a woman stopped them to share how she was a DPhiE at her school and explained how she was able to reconnect through facebook. It’s moments like that which solidifying being in a sorority is all about connections.

Being in a sorority is a personal decision people can take and it’s not for everyone. As a lifelong member of a sorority, I continue to find value in wearing my letters. As a therapist, I work with teenagers and help them to explore ways to develop who they are. For me, being in a sorority helped define who I became and for that I am forever grateful. Interested in finding out more about sororities, the National Panhellenic Conference has information for you to explore.

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Photo credit: Pinterest

Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at amanda@amandapattersonlmhc.com.