My Sorority Experience!

Me And My Sister Tenanye At Recruitment, 2017

Hey y’all!

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!

Me and My Sisters, Bids Day 2016

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.

Me At Our Philanthropy Event, 2015

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.

Attending Bids Day After Receiving My Bid, 2015

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.

Me Attending Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity UBC Formal, 2018

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.

Kappa Parent Tea, 2016

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.

Kappa Kappa Gamma UBC, 2016

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.

Me And My Big Farrah At Quarry Rock, 2016

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.

Me And My Friend Christie, 2016

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.

Me And My Little Elle Attending Formal, 2018

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.

Me And My Little Sarah At Recruitment, 2017

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,

Meredith

Me, Attending My Final Formal, 2019

How to Survive College: A Guide

Hello lovelies!

As my time at UBC comes to an end and I’m facing the real world, I figured I’d share my tips for surviving college as someone who’s been through it all! I really felt that my time in UBC was the best few years of my life, but it certainly had it’s ups and downs. For any of y’all out there about to start university or on track to graduate, I figured I’d share some of the best tips I’ve learned along the way!

  1. Put yourself out there! SO cliché, but it’s true. University is scary for everyone at first, even for those who look like they’re handling it well. Having friends in university, apart from the obvious social benefits, can really help when you need support in class or in life.
  2. For those of you who are super shy, I was totally in the same boat in when I first started at UBC. My best tip is to swallow your fears for 10 seconds and just say SOMETHING. It’s a lot easier once you’ve gotten the conversation started.
  3. It’s never too late for anything. I joined my sorority in my second year, and didn’t finalize which major I wanted until my fourth. There’s no problem with being a little late to something! Age in university doesn’t really matter. Just go for it.
  4. Try something new. Whether it’s a club or a class, you’ll never know what you’re interested in if you don’t try. I started university dead set on going into film, and finished with a degree in psychology looking to be a wedding planner! I would never have discovered either of those things if I didn’t go out of my comfort zone.
  5. Failing one class, or doing poorly in your first year, isn’t the end of the world. I’ve failed classes in my time in university and I still made it through. So many of my friends who struggled deeply in first year ended up with amazing grades and job prospects. You’ll be okay.
  6. Make your dorm/apartment feel like home! Because at least for right now, it is. You’re more likely to feel comfortable and less homesick if you feel at home where you are.
  7. Meal prep is key. Obviously if you have a cafeteria in first year, this won’t apply to you right off the bat. But it’s nearly impossible to stay in the habit of eating healthy if you’re cooking every meal every day. University is busy–use your time wisely.
  8. Take a break every once in a while! Mental health and reducing stress is just as important to doing well in school as studying is. You’re not going to ruin your life over one night off.
  9. Sleep is just as important to doing well on an exam as studying is. If it’s the night before an exam and you think that pulling an all-nighter will be more beneficial than a good night’s rest — it probably won’t be. You need sleep to stay alert and maintain at your best mental functioning, as well as the fact that we appear to consolidate memories in our sleep — meaning you may not know as much, but at least you’ll remember what you know better.
  10. Stick to a schedule! It’s your first time on your own and it can be so easy to be overwhelmed by all the freedom. However, creating a routine will improve your overall functioning as well as scheduling study time/work outs/cleaning days will help you stay on top of things. That being said — your schedule shouldn’t be too strict that you’ll miss out on what could be a great memory just because you were “supposed” to be doing something else!
  11. Things that seem like the end of the world in the moment likely won’t matter in a day, a few weeks, or by the time you graduate. Hell, you may not even remember whatever it was somewhere down the road. We all mess up sometimes, just remember to keep your chin up and keep yourself accountable. Especially if it has to do with another person’s feelings — being kind is always the most important thing.
  12. If you think you don’t have time for making friends, or that grades are the only thing that matters, just remember: one day you’ll graduate and need to find a job. Connections are key.
  13. That being said, it can be easy to get caught up in socializing and forget what you’re here to do–get a degree. Make sure you have a good work/life balance.
  14. Keeping a clean room helps to keep a clear mind.
  15. Unsure if you want a roommate or not first year? It might seem like a good way to have one guaranteed friend, but let me tell you: that much togetherness puts a lot of strain on anyone, especially in such a novel and turbulent time of your life like first year. My first year roommate and I got along so horribly in first year that I almost switched rooms, but 5 years down the road we’re now friends. If we hadn’t had to share such close quarters we honestly probably would have never had issues with each other. Consider this carefully if you’re considering living with a friend.
  16. Everyone acts like everyone matures instantly when they arrive at college and suddenly drama doesn’t exist anymore. This isn’t true and honestly no matter how old you get probably never will be. Just try your best to stay out of it and focus on being the best version of yourself. It’s always better to take the high road.
  17. And above all, this is your time to figure out who you are. College is a short but definitional period in becoming the person you’re meant to be. It’s so easy to get caught up in what others expect of you, but odds are you won’t be the same person after college as you were when you started. Try to stop focusing on what people want from you and take these years to learn what you want from yourself. And of course, most importantly, have fun!