This is a guest blog post from Campus Ambassador Mercey Livingston.
Sororities can offer lots of benefits for college women, from lifelong friendships to fun social events--sororities are a great way to become involved on campus. One benefit of Greek Life that many don’t consider is the chance to work on professional development skills. While there are many great professional organizations on campus that can help you get great experience, many students don’t consider that being involved in a sorority is actually a great opportunity to grow professionally. Here are some skills that you can gain from being involved in a Greek organization.
You learn how to be a great team player. Any sorority girl can testify that when you go through sorority recruitment you are bound to meet all different types of people. While it’s easy to find friends that are similar to you, each year you learn that the best friendships that help you grow are with people you thought you would never have anything in common with. So how does this transfer to the internship world? Wherever you intern you are bound to work with all different types of people. The key to being a great team player is getting used to working with people who are different than you. Sororities are so big that you can’t realistically be best friends with every girl, but chances are if you hold a leadership position you will have to work with other girls on the exec board who aren’t your best friends, but nonetheless you will spend countless hours working on that philanthropy event or fundraiser.
Formal recruitment is great practice for interviews. The recruitment process is one that is full of excitement, stress and nerves. When you are going through recruitment you want to make a great first impression with the sorority women you meet. Similar to the internship interview, the first impression is crucial and going through recruitment helps you practice making that great first impression as you go from house to house. After your first year in a sorority the tables turn and YOU have to talk to the girls rushing. It’s almost like conducting a job interview. The setting may not be as formal or serious, but being on the “other side” during recruitment can really help you gain a perspective that will help you in future job interviews.
You get the chance to grow as a leader. A great way to become involved is by holding a leadership position in your sorority. Whether you want a position that allows you to mentor younger girls, do public relations for the chapter, or handle the chapter’s finances- you can get experience in a lot of different ways. While leadership positions in any organization are valuable, holding a position in a sorority will teach you valuable skills about staying positive and motivated in order to set an example for the whole chapter.
You learn how to plan and stay organized- in style of course! You won’t find many sorority girls without their planners (Lily Pulitzer, Erin Condren, or Kate Spade to be exact). Yes, being in a sorority will cause your calendar to fill up quickly and you’ll be forced to learn how to balance and prioritize. Balancing going to chapter meetings, philanthropy events, class, work/internships, and studying with social events can be challenging, but you will learn how to prioritize and meet deadlines like you’ve never imagined.
You have the chance to give back. Every sorority has it’s own unique philanthropy that its members spend countless hours working to raise money and awareness for. Philanthropy is the heart and soul of Greek Life. Nine times out of ten any event you participate in is in support of your own or another organization’s philanthropy. So why should you learn to give back while in college? In the professional world people value giving back—whether it be through a company initiative or through mentoring interns and entry level employees, giving back is something that will always hold value.
Network of Sisters Across the Country. When I first started interviewing for internships in New York, I knew that I would need suite mates at the dorm at NYU. Since I’m from the south and didn’t know many people in the city, the first thing I did was post on my sorority’s LinkedIn group. I got tons of responses from girls looking to room together, and even if the rooming situation didn’t work out, we could still plan to get together in the city. Being in a sorority will give you a network throughout the country.
Access to Alumni. Your sorority’s alumni can be a huge asset during your internship and job search. Chances are your sorority has an alumni chapter in every major city, so if you are looking for contacts in a certain industry, the alumni are a great resource to reach out to. Oftentimes these alumni groups have special events for young professionals or people new to the city, so it’s also a great way to meet people.
Your four years in college can be some of the best, most fun and exhausting years of your life. But if you learn to transfer the skills you learn from being active in your sorority to your internship and professional life, you will be sure to stand out in every internship and job in the future.