How Joining a Sorority Changed my Life

Gabbi Giammarino, Chapter President

Zeta Tau Alpha

It all started when I decided to go through sorority recruitment… was this something I was ready for? Would I make friends or find my “sisters” that everyone always told me about? Unfortunately, these were questions that I wasn’t able to answer before actually experiencing it all. For as long as I can remember I was always known as the “quiet girl” and I put up this little wall around myself and the outside world because I didn’t believe in myself or have trust in the voice I never used. This was something I struggled with for years and it had a lot to do with the thought of being rejected, whether that be an idea I had during a group project or getting a question wrong when my teachers called on me in class. It wasn’t until I join Zeta Tau Alpha that my life began to change for the better.

At first, I struggled, getting out of your comfort zone is not something that will instantly happen, it takes time and patience. That was exactly what my new sisters gave me when I became a new member. Even though I had all of these new friends and a support system that was stronger than anything I could have imagined, I was still that same “quiet girl” that everyone tried to pull out of her shell. I made a promise to myself that I was going to put my all into making a change in my life so I wouldn’t miss out on opportunities and experiences. I decided to join the Executive Committee and was lucky to receive the privilege of serving as the Vice President of Membership and Recruitment. It was my mission to help other women find their people and be the person that helps makes a difference in their life like Zeta made in mine. Suddenly I found myself in charge of 100+ people, controlling the room and making speeches at different events. I almost didn’t recognize myself, who was this person confidently speaking during the recruitment events or being a leader? It was me, and there was a moment where I knew I was a better version of myself.

Zeta Tau Alpha and the women of this organization as well as the women in the PHA community gave me a piece of myself that I never knew I needed. They gave me a voice. A voice I was proud of and confident in, and I couldn't imagine life without it. Now another year later I serve as the ZTA President, a role that I am grateful for everyday and honored to have. There isn’t another group of women I could even imagine calling my sisters, because without them I would not be the person each and every one of them helped shape. I grew as an individual for sure, but the most amazing experience was growing with everyone else as well. If you told me three years ago that I would be a leader or the first one to raise my hand in class, I would say you’re crazy. But now, I would say that is exactly what Zeta Tau Alpha does. This organization brings out your best qualities and gives you the resources to be the woman you may not have thought you could be. Its encouragement, its support, its love. Its Zeta Tau Alpha.

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Recruitment as a PNM vs a Chapter Member

Niamh Larkin

Sigma Kappa

Going through recruitment as a Potential New Member (PNM) and as an initiated member are two very different experiences. However, the both involve the same amount of excitement.

As a PNM the excitement was mixed in with nerves. Constantly wondering which chapters I would go back to, what each chapter thought of me, I was anxiously awaiting bid day the entire time.

However, as an initiated member who will be recruiting for the second time this upcoming Fall there is an excitement of what the next generation of my chapter will look like, who our next officers in

upcoming years will be and the many amazing women that I will get to meet during the first two weeks of Fall semester.

Last year, I met my future little on day one of recruitment, Spirit Day. I didn’t know it yet, but I could tell she was a great fit for my chapter. In the hopes that she would come back, she ended up running home to us on bid day – eventually becoming my little just a month later.

But recruitment is not just about finding your big or your little, it is about so much more.

For some women, recruitment is a place to find their place of belonging during their time in college,

their home away from home, their girl gang.

Even for those members who do not run home to my chapter, I only ever wish the best for them that they find their home – whether it is within Panhellenic, a chapter of a different council, or a club or a team of their own choice.

That is the greatest lesson you learn when you recruit after going through formal recruitment yourself; everyone finds their fit one way or another and all you can do is welcome them to your community or wish them the best.

Meeting someone you think would be perfect for your chapter, but then not seeing them the next day or seeing them on bid day can be disheartening, however you have to be happy and hope that they find what works best for them.

Leaving the process or not running home to a specific chapter can happen for a variety of reasons.

Financial reasons, schedule issues, many different personal reasons that stay with that PNM and that

PNM only. Whilst it is encouraged to follow through with the process and see what happens, it is okay to admit that maybe formal recruitment at this time in your college career isn’t the best for you.

Joining a specific chapter, or not joining any chapter at all, does not limit you to socialize with those

specific members or not.

The point of recruitment and sorority life is not to separate you from other chapters or people you may know. It is to open you up to a new wave of connections that you can utilize to the best of your availability, boost your confidence, and make the most of the many opportunities that may come your way.

Whilst I don’t recognize the PNM I was in correlation to the Panhellenic woman that I am now, it is truly astonishing to think back on every opportunity that has come my way and all the doors that Panhellenic has opened up for me, that I can only hope that every woman who goes through recruitment has the same experience.

Going into this second year of recruiting, I have no fear or worry of who I may end up talking to when the doors open during each round. I feel confident in myself that I can hold a conversation with someone who may be a great fit for my chapter, someone who may be a better fit elsewhere, or

someone who is worried about the entire process.

Recruitment can be full of nerves, but that is the exciting part about it on both sides of the doors. You never know who you are going to speak to, what they are like, or how you will impact one another’s lives.

Some women you may only ever meet and speak to once in your life, and that may just be during

recruitment. Others will stay in your lives, run home to you and may become your best friends. There really is no way of telling until those doors open each day.

Recruitment is exciting, nerve-wracking and full of surprises. I had the same butterflies on Spirit Day as a PNM as I did on Spirit Day as a recruiting member. I may be a completely different person, but recruitment is just the same for a recruiting member, as it is for a PNM.

One piece of advice about the whole thing – you may find your people, you may not. You may find your home, you may not. But the experience is unlike any other and you never know what amazing people you will meet, things like this are definitely worth the chance to take part in.

I cannot wait to meet all the new amazing women going through recruitment this year! I am just as nervous as you are but try and turn those nerves into excitement. The butterflies will all calm down on bid day, I promise you!

Panhellenic Women Spotlight: Taylor Mierendorf

Taylor Mierendorf

Delta Gamma

“I was chosen to be a Delta Gamma Collegiate Development Consultant (CDC) out of 40 women across the nation and was the only interviewee from Florida. Of the 40 women who interviewed, I was one of 14 first-year consultants to join a team 20 CDCs for the upcoming year.

As a CDC, I will be traveling to over 30 universities in the US for leadership development, mentorship, as well as assistance with recruitment or risk management. 

I held a variety of leadership positions during my time in Delta Gamma as well as positions within the Panhellenic/ all-Greek community before graduating with my Bachelor’s in December.

My Delta Kappa sister Jordan Rawlinson inspired me to apply for the position and now we get to be CDCs together! Jordan is a second-year consultant and we will begin six weeks of training together at DG Executive Offices in Columbus, Ohio starting early July.

If it weren’t for Delta Gamma and being surrounded by my supportive, empowering sisters I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. Delta Gamma showed me what I value and what I’m passionate about. By being a sorority woman, I learned what it meant to be balanced and dedicated.

After being involved in a variety of roles on campus, I learned I had a love for student development and student leadership. Being a Collegiate Development Consultant complements my future plans and goals by giving me hands-on student affairs experience early in my professional career. After my time as a consultant, I will continue my education by obtaining a Master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs.”

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Panhellenic Woman Spotlight: Alena Frey

Sigma Delta Tau

Alena Frey

 “Being accepted into Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health meant the world to me. As someone who has had both a kidney and heart transplant, cancer twice, and chronic kidney disease, I find the medical field very important as it can affect so many people and may show almost no symptoms.”

Alena had Lymphoma at age 13, and bladder sarcoma at age 20.

“My family and friends pushed me to be the best and to do things I did not think I could do. My friend actually told me to apply, I did not originally plan to. In order to get accepted into Johns Hopkins, I received letters of recommendation from my professors, passed the GRE, did research, held positions around campus, studied a lot, and participated in HIV testing and counseling at the BRIDGE clinic at USF.

Being in a sorority has helped me find my voice and grow into the woman I am today. I would not be as outgoing or confident as I am now without Sigma Delta Tau and the support I have received from the friends I have made there. It has helped me find my voice and gave me confidence to go for the positions I have held.”

 

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Month of the Scholar: Aly Roos

Changing My Major & Finding Out It Was Meant To Be…

 

I moved to Tampa for USF in August of 2017 all alone, not understanding what I wanted to do with my life. I applied for the Education program because I knew I could do anything with that type of degree, or any degree at all. After a semester of hard work, sweat, and tears, I thought it was time to do something I enjoyed.

 

At the beginning of January 2018, my mindset was “what major can make me graduate early?” Talking to my academic advisor, he kept asking me a question like what do I like to do and where do I see myself in 5 years? In my mind, I was having blanks and question marks because I did not know what I wanted.

 

This point of my life is where I discovered the English program at USF. I thought to myself how hard could this be…I like to talk and write so it’s perfect!

 

Shortly into the semester, I figured out that you must love more than talking and writing to get yourself through these classes. I took classes that opened my skills in designing and rhetoric (still not 100% sure what rhetoric is), but this is where I found my love for designing. I loved an excellent designing class like yearbook or web design I and II (I geek out at designing elements) in high school. 

 

I NEVER saw myself designing or writing for anything, I ALWAYS saw myself as teaching in a classroom or something in that area.

 

Skipping forward to now, I figured out everything went the way it was supposed to do. I started gearing off and figuring out what I enjoyed doing, and I learned that I enjoy designing, but I especially enjoyed event planning and designing the events. I changed my major and found out that this was meant to be for me.

 

Changing my major to English made me realize I was able to do anything I wanted and the internships that were available to me brighten my horizon. The future of Aly Roos’ crazy life holds graduation at the end of this semester majoring in English with an internship at entertainment company that has an event planning under its umbrella.

 

I did not realize that changing my major would do for me and how much I could benefit from that change. I have to say everything fell into the places that it needed to fall into.

Month of the Scholar: Christina Thomas

October is Month of the Scholar:

A month during the semester where as a Panhellenic community we focus on academic success and accomplishment, and rewarding academic achievements. This month we will be highlighting some of our Panhellenic women’s experiences for Month of the Scholar.

My name is Christina Thomas, I’m an accounting major and a senior here at USF. I’m currently the Vice President of Finance for Panhellenic and the Vice President of Finance for Kappa Delta this year. In the past, I have worked as the assistant to my chapter’s Vice President of Finance.

I had an accounting internship this past summer in Seattle, Washington at Howard S. Wright Construction Company. With this internship I worked alongside the Lead Project Accountant with a Microsoft Project, helping them process a lot of Accounts Payable invoices (such as the bills we needed to pay) and month-end processes which included making sure everything was paid and sent out by the company. My internship helped me get hands-on experience with what I was learning in my courses since we don’t get exposure to that very much in class. The place that I had an internship with, Howard S. Wright Construction Company, said I could come back and intern there again after graduation and possibly get a job with them back home.

With the Vice President of Finance positions, I have held, they have helped me get a lot of interviews for jobs after graduation. I am talking to a healthcare company to do accounting for them or possibly an engineering company working in their accounting department. The accounting opportunities are located here in Florida, so my decision will depend on if I can afford living here in Florida on my own for me to accept a job with them.

Overall, my time here at USF has helped me learn how to be a leader and how to use my voice to express how I want the community to progress and having a voice within my own chapter. I think the leadership positions have helped me network more so that I can succeed after I graduate from USF this December.

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