Ask Lenora: How Do I Find My Place in a Chapter?
I’m a freshman at a large university. This year, I accepted a bid from Kappa Delta during the fall semester. I loved everything about KD during recruitment, and I was so excited on Bid Day when I saw those letters on my bid card. I thought Bid Day marked the beginning of the best years of my life, but I’m feeling disappointed.
Here’s the problem: I’m having trouble making friends in my new-member class. Maybe I came into the chapter with expectations that were too high, but the truth is that I’ve really struggled to enjoy my sorority experience. We are polite to each other when we attend Kappa Delta events, but I never see them outside of sorority activities. I call these women my sisters, yet we are not close in the slightest.
Soon, we’ll be figuring out who will live in the chapter house for sophomore year. It’s always been my dream to live in the sorority house with all my sisters, but considering the way I’m feeling, I’m worried no one will even want to live with me.
Lenora, what do I do?
Dear Forlorn Freshman,
Thank you for being so honest with me. Believe it or not, I’ve been wanting to address this topic for some time. I am certain you are not the only one who has struggled with this issue. The truth is: sometimes, it takes a little time to find your place within a chapter.
When freshmen participate in recruitment, they often see the best parts of a chapter without knowing what goes into building sisterhood. They see pristine houses, colorful decorations, fun songs and, most importantly, they witness real friendships between chapter members. That sense of sisterhood is likely what drew you to Kappa Delta in the first place. I do worry sometimes that this “highlight reel” of sorority life may give new members the impression those friendships are instant. In reality, sorority friendships can take time to build just like any other relationship in your life.
I have two pieces of advice for you. The first is this: live in the chapter house if that is your dream. Living in a common space with your sisters does wonders for deepening friendships. Living in proximity to Julia, Mary and Sara helped us develop a lasting bond that would ultimately lead to the start of Kappa Delta. When you live together, you share highs, lows, holidays, meals and memories with other KDs, and it’s quite natural to become friends as well as sisters.
My second piece of advice is this: let your VP-ME or SET leader know you are struggling. She has been placed in that position because the chapter trusts her to guide the new-member class and make certain they are getting the most out of their Kappa Delta experience. Ask her to meet you for a coffee or lunch and share how you’re feeling. Once she knows you’ve been having a difficult time, she can look for ways to help you immerse yourself in the chapter.
Lastly, please remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Anything worthwhile takes time to develop. After all, it took over 122 years to make Kappa Delta what it is today. Give KD a chance and take the initiative to reach out to others. There may be new members who feel like you do who would welcome an invite for a Netflix marathon or a Starbucks run.