People join sororities for various reasons — to make friends, to bolster their résumé, or to say they got the "Greek life college experience" like they see in the movies.
Regardless of why some joined in the first place, everyone's experience being part of a sisterhood is different. So I turned to the BuzzFeed Community to ask those who were (or are) in one, what their experience was like — whether it was good, bad, or somewhere in between. Plenty of people responded, and here are their stories.
1."Everyone seemed to be so genuine and really seemed to love and care for each other. They all would refer to themselves and each other as lifelong sisters. This is what convinced me to join. I wanted friends so badly, and this seemed like the best idea. Once I joined and became a sister, I quickly realized we were not all sisters for life."
2."I was body shamed relentlessly in my sorority. We were at a state school in Tennessee, and I joined the chapter I did because I loved what I saw and heard during recruitment — diversity, acceptance, genuine connection, and honesty about mental health. It quickly became clear, though, that only certain identities were celebrated. I was often belittled for my food choices despite having disclosed my history with an eating disorder. And any time I had a tough “body day,” I’d be silenced by other women in the chapter because I didn’t have it “as bad as [they] did.”
3."My sorority experience is probably a little different. I was an international graduate student at a mid-size university in the Midwest, so not the typical person to rush. But I wanted to have the most American experience possible, and I got that."
"I am fully aware that there are a lot of problems with Greek life, and I wouldn't want to silence anyone else's voice, least of all people who I shared my experience with who did NOT have a positive sorority experience. But for me? It was a great thing. I made lifelong friends who I would never have met otherwise and had the opportunity to do a lot of fun things."
4."I wish I had known how expensive it can be. I went to a smaller university, but the dues still added up fast."
5."In my experience, sororities do not support working women. I had a job throughout college and would consistently be chastised and punished for not attending every single event, even when some of these events were planned only days in advance."
"Two days notice is not enough time for a schedule request at most college jobs. I feel that sororities are dominated by rich white women whose dues and housing fees are not paid by themselves, and they do not need to work in order to support themselves in college."
6."I have met my greatest friends in my sorority and couldn’t imagine my life without them. However, I do feel judged sometimes for not wanting to go party and hook up with frat boys every weekend. I feel like they don’t value that I’m busy with work and school — and that those are my top priorities in school."
7."Within my sorority, I experienced bullying and homophobic comments that were made to me and about me. Even after going to the president and other officers in my chapter and informing them of this, nothing ever happened to the girls making the comments. Instead, I got bullied more until I eventually disaffiliated from my sorority."
8."I was in a sorority, and 20 years after graduating, I am still friends with a number of my sisters. We’ve supported each other through life’s ups and downs including marriage, babies, divorce, and the loss of parents. There was some cattiness in the house every now and then, but when you have 50 girls living together, that is to be expected. Overall, though, my experience was very positive, and I made lifelong friends."
9."Sororities care more about getting numbers and being comparable to other sororities at the school than taking care of their members. A girl who bullied me for an entire semester joined my sorority no problem despite me filling out forms to protest and getting written support from several other sisters."
10."I joined a sorority my freshman year, and at first it was a lot of fun. As an out-of-state student, it was a great way to make friends and have an active social life. Greek life at my university was fairly small, and overall I think it was a much less toxic environment than I’ve heard about Greek systems at other schools. Unfortunately, the cost to be a member was absolutely insane."
"When I joined, I did not realize that on top of annual fees (upwards of $3K per semester or depending on your chapter, whether or not you live at the house), there are so many small costs that add up: new shirts, sweatshirts for philanthropy events, and tickets to hosted events. Ultimately, I just felt like an ATM and was not about to take out more loans to afford the lifestyle."
11."My sorority was a local sorority (we were the only chapter), so it was not a member of the Panhellenic Council. I loved my experience. In addition to the regular college fun, we put a high priority on community service. It was great; when one member had a desire to do something in the community, they’d have a built-in group to support and participate in their program."
12."Honestly, I had mostly a great time in my sorority. It pushed me to be more outgoing and into leadership roles I probably wouldn’t have put myself in. I made a lot of friends (some lifelong, some not) and had a great experience overall that I wouldn’t trade for the world. However, there was a lot of favoritism in my sorority, which led to some of my close friends being kicked out for doing the same things that the members of exec council (aka the favorites) were doing."
13."I don’t really feel any sort of way about my time in a sorority. It just was what it was. There were great things and bad things just like with everything else in life, but I wouldn’t change my experience. It led me to amazing people that I’m still close to five years after graduating."
"Sorority life is not a monolith, so I think it’s important to know your limits going in if you decide to do it. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and be true to yourself. You don’t need the approval of people who create bad environments. Putting a bunch of 18- to 22-year-olds in charge of each other isn’t always going to go well. You can leave if it’s not serving you and your growth, but go all in if it does (because that happens too!) Good luck out there. ❤️"
14."I was raised in a house with four brothers, and most of my friends were boys. I had always been aware that girls could be mean or catty, but I didn’t realize the depths of that until I was in a sorority."
15."I had a great time. Sure, there was way too much partying for my liking, but I just said I needed to study or didn’t feel good if I didn’t want to go out. I was never forced to do anything I didn’t want to do."
"I also would have never met the women who are still my friends if it weren’t for my sorority. Another thing people don’t necessarily know is that we’re required to have a certain GPA and volunteer a certain amount of hours a month. Those things made me more well rounded, and made me focus on school."
16."I'm in a sorority at a university in North Carolina, and I've had a very healthy experience. No body shaming, no changing myself to fit a mold. I see a future in my chapter, and they've helped me grow academically, socially, and personally. It's really just a normal part of my life that has enhanced my college experience, not ruined it."
17."I was really sick all throughout college but tried to make the best of it. I joined a sorority before I had gotten sick and was enamored by the idea of having a huge support system who would be by your side through anything and everything. What a lie. I sat in hospitals and doctor’s offices completely alone for three and a half years."
"Besides my family, no one ever cared. I only mattered when I was all dolled up in my letters during events, which I secretly struggled through and smiled away the pain at. After living basically two lives for such a long time, I decided to choose myself — and I quit. I realized I made the right decision when everyone shunned me and shut off all communication. Almost 10 years later and I haven’t heard a word from many girls who were meant to be my sisters. It’s one of the hardest pills I’ve ever had to swallow."
18."I genuinely loved my time as an active member of my sorority. We were small and couldn’t really reject anyone, which resulted in an eclectic and loving sisterhood in a way I never expected."
19."Participating on the other side of recruitment and seeing how superficial some young women want to make the process was eye-opening. Some tried to sneakily rank someone lower because of physical attributes. For me, the final straw was that after recruitment every year, I would get horrifically ill, and my doctor did not want me to participate my senior year. My sisterhood welcomed that idea by telling me I could just pay hundreds of dollars in fines so I disaffiliated."
20."I actually found being in a sorority was very boring and tedious. I had a lot of friends outside my sorority, and I hated all the mandatory sorority events. I would have much rather gone to a movie or out to dinner with my other friends rather than mandatory sorority barbecues and socials. I stayed in because I thought the connections after graduation would be worthwhile."
"More than a decade after graduating college, I have never used my sorority connections, and I don’t think anyone in my professional or social circle even knows I was in a sorority."
21."It was a super-toxic environment with tons of bullying. Girls were kicked out for bullying, but when the officers did the same thing there were no consequences."
22."I witnessed more catty and mean behavior during my brief experience in a sorority than I have in my life. Sorority sisters went after each other’s crushes and boyfriends with no regard for the 'precious friendships' sororities were meant to foster."
"Girls in the same sorority house blatantly created cliques within the house and quietly made each other miserable. Underaged drinking was encouraged and quietly covered up by older members. We were shoved at fraternities, paraded in front of their members, and encouraged to date fraternity guys. Entire ceremonies were held to celebrate relationship landmarks between members of fraternities and sororities such as being 'pinned' or getting engaged."
23."I transferred to a university after three years of community college. I only knew one person at the school, and as a shy girl, I was desperate to make friends. The girls at the table of the sorority I eventually joined were so upbeat, sweet, diverse, and everything I wanted in friends."
24."It’s extremely clique-y. The girls are wealthy and mean. I was extremely attractive but Latino. Even coming from a wealthy family didn’t deter from the fact that I was Latino, and I was made aware I would never really fit in with the rest of the girls. I was hated for being popular with the guys, smart, and just not one of the typical white girls."
25."I was in a sorority about 20 years ago. I was so excited for the sisterhood and had no idea what I was getting into. Rush was a horrible experience from the inside. The 'sisters' trashed the girls who were rushing and made fun of them — it was horrifying."
"I walked out of the house literally in the middle of the night during rush because they were so mean; it made me wonder what they said about me before I was a 'sister.' Once I left, no one from the house was allowed to talk to me again. I was actually black-balled. The whole thing was so gross. The rest of my college years were actually fun, and I regret wasting the first two on a sorority."