Campus Life

IT’S ALL GREEK TO ME: Choices, choices

Deciding which sorority to join is a holistic process

“It’s All Greek To Me” tells the individual stories of MIT sorority girls. Check in every Tuesday to hear a new voice. Katherine Chasins is a junior in Courses 2-A and 15 and the vice president of public relations for the Panhellenic Association.

The reason one chooses to become a part of a sorority is hard to define and even harder to describe. It is the result of personal conversations and experiences, the effect of stories that have been shared with you, and the impact of individual members you have met. Each sorority on our campus is unique, has different things to offer, and will be the best fit for different girls.

All of this is very vague though, and when it was told to me my freshman year , I did not entirely believe it. I had no concept of how I would be able to distinguish which was truly best for me. Unfortunately, there is no formula. I couldn’t just consider variables A, B, and C, rank their significance, assess each variable at each sorority, and then know for certain which sorority would be the perfect fit. That formulaic process is what I wanted, but joining a sorority does not work that way. The most sisters, the lowest dues, the biggest house — none of those easily definable qualities have any effect on what is most important in a sorority: the sisterhood.

Instead I had to experience the recruitment process, which is at the same time wonderful, exciting, and sometimes overwhelming. The week was structured to give all potential sorority members a fair chance to explore every sorority by meeting sisters and taking house tours. As I progressed through it, I found myself making my decision in many ways with many things in mind — my personal values, what I wanted out of a sorority, and how I saw myself developing in each sorority during my time at MIT. I looked around at the women in each sorority and found something to admire in all of them — sincerity, passion, incredible academic achievement, and so much more.

But there is a difference between admiration and aspiration, and when I looked at the women I met in what would end up being my sorority, they were the ones I truly wanted to emulate, though I did still have enormous amounts of respect and admiration for every other woman I had met. But still I was not entirely, whole-heartedly convinced that I was correct in choosing that sorority.

There is a story that is sometimes repeated during recruitment as a way of helping girls decide which sorority is best for them, and it is one that I was told when I was in that final stage of the decision making process, unsure if the choice I was making was correct. It goes something like this: “The sorority you have become a member of is having a formal event. Everyone has been instructed to wear white dresses and to be exactly on time. You are running a little late, and as you grab a bite to eat before you go, you spill tomato sauce all over the front of your white dress and have no time to fix it. You have to walk into that room full of pristine white dresses with tomato sauce all over you. Which group of women do you want waiting for you inside that room?”

When I considered this question, I never felt that any of the sororities I was considering would judge me or be cruel to me if that were to happen; I think that all MIT sorority women are better than that. However, I could envision them reacting in different ways. Some I could see passing it off as if nothing had happened; others I imagined rushing to take care of me, asking what had happened and offering to help fix my dress. But when I envisioned the reactions of the girls who would end up being my sisters, I saw them laughing with me, teasing me for being clumsy. And it might sound strange to others that those were the girls I wanted to make my sisters, but for me that would be the perfect reaction. I wanted to find girls whom I could be close to in that way — close enough that they could laugh and make jokes so that I wouldn’t take myself too seriously, because that ability to make light of an uncomfortable situation was something I needed. Most importantly, and what finally persuaded me that I was making the correct decision, was that when I envisioned them reacting this way, it did not at all seem poorly intended, because I was so convinced of their love for me that I would never doubt it.

Luckily for me, I have remained equally as convinced of their love every day since then. I made the right decision because I made it for myself, and I couldn’t be happier. Making the right choice can seem really hard, and each person will have a different decision and different reasoning, but I hope the girls going through recruitment today can learn something from my story and find the same happiness that I feel so lucky to have found.