It’s August, and the start of the school year is quickly approaching. For a lot of you, it may be your first year in university, which can be super daunting. When I came to UBC, I was coming from out of province; I didn’t know anyone, and had never really been to Vancouver save for when I came to visit UBC for one day while visiting family in Calgary, and a few layovers (fun fact: I actually learned to walk in the Vancouver Airport!).
However, as my time at UBC comes to an end, I can look back with the clarity of hindsight — what were good choices and not so good choices, what I wish I had known, etc. So I figured I’d share a little bit with you guys about one of my best choices, and hopefully inspire you to do the same, or at least step out of your comfort zone and try something new!
When I came to UBC in my first year, it was a pretty tumultuous time — I had no friends in Vancouver, my (at the time) dream major was application only and extremely competitive, and I was trying to juggle a long distance relationship. I had a good time, and met a couple great friends–but I didn’t really branch out at all.
When I came back the following year, I knew I needed a change. I had the safety net of being in residence in first year, and I felt I found a community there. But by second year, I was living in my own on-campus apartment with my two roommates whom I’d met in my residence, while the rest of our friends moved off-campus. My roommates were both pretty busy with their own clubs and activities, and I realized I was kind of on my own without a solid friend group, community, or safety net of any kind. So I decided to make a leap.
I honestly can’t even recall what it was that drew me to sororities, I knew very little about sororities and what they consisted of–but I felt inclined to find out. I figured what’s the harm, right?
So I registered for recruitment a few weeks into school. At UBC in particular, recruitment happens around the third week of the semester. It still consists of a lot of the same elements of American recruitment; we have three rounds, which are Tours, Invitationals, and Preference.
I cannot stress how little I knew about sororities before I signed up. On the first day of recruitment, I went to the NEST and was given a name tag and a group before filing into a gym filled with hundreds of girls. We sat in our groups and chatted for a bit before listening to a bunch of introductory speeches. I don’t really remember what they consisted of, apart from the usual advice — be yourself, keep an open mind, don’t feel pressured to joining where your friends are, etc.
To follow, we headed off to the Panhellenic Building, which houses chapter rooms for all 8 sororities at UBC, as well as female-only apartments. Even with all the speeches gearing us up, I had no idea what the day would hold. When the door to the first chapter room swung open to two giant rows of identically-clad girls singing out “HIIIIIII” in our faces as loudly as they could I was honestly kind of terrified. I was lead in by one girl and given a seat and water, and so the rotations of conversations began.
This continued for all 8 houses, and to be honest, I’ve never been so exhausted at the end of the day. But despite that, I was excited; I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.
The two following rounds followed similarly in suit: you were to visit up to 5 chapters at Invitationals, and then two chapters at Preference, the final round. You’d think all the craziness would be wrapped up after that, but nope–Bid’s Day (when you receive a Bid to your new chapter) was just as insane in the best way possible. We filed back into the same gym, into our original groups, and stood in a circle while a girl came around and discretely placed a folded paper with our bid in our hands.
Once all the Bids were handed out, we were instructed to open our cards. I opened mine to find the words “KAPPA KAPPA GAMMA” written across the middle in a large font — I was ecstatic. Kappa had been my top choice house from the start.
The rest of the day was a complete whirlwind of meeting sisters, getting t-shirts, introductions and more. And frankly — it didn’t slow down from there. My second year proved to be the busiest, craziest, and best year of my time in university. Every week there was something new — sporting events, philanthropy, parties, meetings, coffee dates, and more. However, the deeper you get into the Greek System, once you’re past all the somewhat hectic and superficial entry period, the more you see it has to offer you.
There’s the first level, the new member period. Then there’s the second level — what you find after. Through my sorority, I met my best friend, my big and littles, the fraternity that houses all my guy friends–things that went beyond greek events. They’re people I hang out with on the regular, who make up a large portion of my entire social circle. Over the two years following your first year in a sorority, your understanding and meaning of it grows past weekly meetings and events into something deeper.
However, it wasn’t until my fourth and final year that I came to realize that it went even deeper than that — a third level. As my time at UBC and in Kappa comes to an end, I’ve realized its given me more than friends and a community to rely on — its shaped me as a person.
I am an entirely different person than the girl I was four years ago, and I could not be happier with the person I have become. I’ve been through many ups and many, many downs over my four years since I signed up to participate in Formal Recruitment, but they’ve all made me better as a person. My first year at UBC, I was cripplingly shy. I struggled with meeting new people, which filled me with anxiety — different from the profound anxiety I felt about applying to my major and figuring out my career. It really held me back in so many ways; from making friends, to business connections, and even exploring new ideas.
Four years later, I’m not that girl anymore. I have no longer decided to pursue film — the stress it caused me was so crippling that by the time I finally realized it was time for a change I didn’t even enjoy it anymore. Now, as I’m graduating, I’ve set my sights on becoming a wedding planner — and I have a much better set of social skills to help me along the way. The thought of being in unfamiliar situations, or finding myself surrounded with people I don’t know, no longer frightens me. Over the past four years, I was thrown into these situations more times than I can count, but I learned to flourish in them and met many of my best friends through it. There have been other, smaller benefits too — my confidence has grown significantly, I have much better tastes in fashion, I’ve learned how to cope with failure and how to push through it as well. I had no idea when I came to university that this was the person I would turn out to be, but every day I’m grateful it happened.
So, that’s more a less my story. I could go deeper into specifics and examples, but I feel I’ve hopefully said enough out there to convince any of you going into first year university, or even at any stage of life, to put yourself out there and try something new. Life is all about decisions, and each one puts us on an entirely new course in life. Who knows where I would have been now if I hadn’t taken that leap? I can only guess it would have lead me down a much less exciting path.
If any of you are thinking of joining a sorority or would like to share your own experiences, message me! I’d love to hear it. If you wanna hear more about my experiences in a sorority, drop a comment and I’ll be sure to share a little more in depth! No matter what, always remember: if you’re completely comfortable where you are, it means you’re not changing and moving forward. A little stress comes with moving forward to your next success.
And that’s all from me for now!
Lots of Love,