By Amanda Pittman, IU Health Center Marketing Intern
This coming weekend marks the final rounds of 2017 Panhellenic Recruitment at IU. Whether you’re a potential new member (PNM) still wondering if Greek life is your thing, or a sorority woman needing a pick-me-up for a long weekend of recruiting, here’s a reminder of some of the benefits that sorority life can bring – specifically, health benefits! My positive sorority experiences have been with Alpha Sigma Alpha, but there are some unique characteristics all sororities offer that contribute to developing a healthy mind, healthy body, and healthy life.
Bigs & Littles, Moms & Daughters
This relationship is about much more than crafting for each other’s rooms; it’s about crafting a connection between two women. In most chapters, the “Big” or “Mom” is a woman who has been in the chapter longer than the woman she will take as her “Little” or “Daughter.” The Big can be seen as a mentor and a best friend, but her most important job is to offer emotional support as her Little navigates college life. A lot can happen in one semester – school is stressful, boys are confusing, and family is far away. The advice and guidance of a young woman who’s already been through some of the college experience is one of the best emotional health benefits to joining a sorority. When I was a new member and still undecided about my major, my Big showed me the ropes of becoming a sorority woman, gave me endless advice, and helped me choose a course of study that I would be passionate about.
Comfort in Community
The idea of your “family” growing from a couple people to a couple hundred sisters overnight may sound daunting, but having a large group of women that care about you as a fellow sister is a wonderful gift. During difficult times, it is healing to know that dozens of sisters are able to send prayers. When you feel lonely, it is relieving to know that there has to be someone available to keep you company. And when you’re feeling accomplished, it is exciting to know that you have so many women to share your good news with!
Extra Positive Motivation
First of all, when it comes to physical fitness – there is a high chance that at least one of your sisters is available to work out with you at any given time. It’s a lot easier (and more fun!) to accomplish your fitness goals with the encouragement and company of sisters. Additionally, the campus recreation centers sponsor Greek participation in their facilities several times a year, through promotions like “MOVEmber” and “Greektober”, to give you that extra push!
High school sports was one of the things I missed most upon coming to college. Regular practice schedules keep you in shape, camaraderie with teammates reduces stress, and people actually come watch you play – what’s not to miss? Freshman year I wanted to create an intramural volleyball team, but I struggled to find enough people who wanted to play. Once I joined a sorority, making a team was a piece of cake! In fact, we had a sister in charge of organizing all the teams, signing us up, and using our dues to cover the intramural fees.
Sororities create a place where women can grow together and strive to become better versions of themselves. Every chapter was founded upon a core set of values and beliefs for its members to work towards. Spending time with many women who are also working towards the same values is not only inspiring, but it holds you accountable. Living life around a set of values leads to better relationships, better work, better self-concept, and ultimately – a healthier life.
Overall, joining a sorority has brought a sense of balance to my life. Every chapter on campus recognizes the importance of education, philanthropy, friendship, and personal development and strives to help its members dedicate time to each of these pursuits. With the positive influences of other women working towards similar goals, balancing your studies and sisters with service and self-improvement becomes easier than you might think.