Losing my letters

Last May right after graduation I lost something very valuable to me. Well, technically, I gave it up. I made the decision to serve as an Omega Chi and give up my letters from May until sorority bid day in September with the hopes of helping another young woman find her home in greek life at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.


Giving up my letters or disaffiliation meant more than not wearing a few T-shirts; being disaffiliated from my chapter meant that I could not attend any chapter functions until after bid day and could not communicate with my sisters for the first two weeks of school.


The summer months weren’t bad, considering most events happen during the school year and I was still able to communicate with my sisters. However, things got incredibly difficult once school started again.  


For two weeks I was not allowed to communicate with my sisters or publicly associate myself with them. What started as a seemingly easy task quickly began to challenge me in ways I had never thought were possible. I had my Panhellenic sisters to lean on, but it was still hard to see my sisters and friends hanging out in the Campus Center or posting their latest adventures (without me) on Snapchat.


I began to question why I had chosen to put myself through something so challenging and then recruitment week started in full force and I quickly began to find some answers.


After recruitment started I still felt lonely or left out at times, and it definitely wasn’t easy to watch my sisters sing and chant from outside the room, but I had found a renewed motivation for what I was doing and why it was so important.


As the potential new members (PNMs) arrived each night, I would sit and talk with them about their recruitment experience and it was during those conversations I began to fall in love with my chapter all over again.  


I was reminded of why I chose to go Greek and why Delta Gamma became the place I call home. The PNMs did not know which chapter I was affiliated with so our conversations were very open and often they spoke about which chapters they had visited and how they felt upon leaving for the next party.


Outside of participating in recruitment as a PNM last fall, I had never experienced recruitment before and I enjoyed witnessing the different approaches each chapter took when recruiting. Listening to the PNMs talk about not only my sisters in Delta Gamma, but my sisters within the Panhellenic community made me realize that we (the sororities) are much more similar than we are different. I found myself beaming with pride regardless of the organization being discussed and it was in those moments that I began to fully understand the role I played in recruitment as an Omega Chi.


When I made the decision to give up my letters, my only goal was to befriend someone and help them make a decision that would impact the rest of their life, but I never imagined that I would be the one learning the lessons. Throughout recruitment I became friends with women in other chapters and I learned that the Panhellenic community really is all about supporting each other.


Those first couple weeks were rough, but I found strength within myself and felt pride that I had never felt before.   


Hayley Howard
Date Posted: 
Wednesday, September 28, 2016