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There’s No Synonym For Sisterhood

How do you define sisterhood? According to Webster’s Dictionary, sisterhood is “a community or society of sisters; the solidarity of women based on shared conditions, experiences or concerns.” When you look up the word “sisterhood” in a thesaurus, there are no matches. The online search actually says it’s at a loss for words. I was initiated into Kappa Delta a little over 10 years ago, and when I think of all that my Kappa Delta experience has included, I, too, am at a loss for words.

When I joined Kappa Delta, I had no idea what a big impact it would have on my life. My decision to join came naturally because my parents were both Greek. I knew Kappa Delta would be a place for me to make friends in college, have a social life, and collect a never-ending supply of T-shirts. From day one, it has always been more than that.

Soon after I joined, the chapter president encouraged me to apply for a leadership position on campus with a group that raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. From there, I became more interested in other leadership opportunities and was elected to serve on my chapter’s council. My KD leadership led me to more on-campus involvement, which helped me solidify my career choice. I studied higher education and now work with collegians every day in my role as associate director of chapter services at Kappa Delta headquarters.

I recently got engaged and have started planning my wedding. I knew from the start who I would ask to be in my bridal party. They are women from all parts of my life: middle school, high school, college and adulthood. The best picture of my Kappa Delta sisterhood I can imagine is this group of women together on my wedding day. There is my childhood best friend who joined KD at a different university. There’s my pledge class sister and my little. And there are two of my coworkers who are my #ifnotforKD examples. This is sisterhood, this community of women from all stages of my life, coming together to celebrate the next chapter in my life.

What I like most about Webster’s definition of sisterhood is the word “solidarity,” which is further defined as “unity that produces or is based on a community of interests, objectives and standards.” But it feels like it still lacks depth. It doesn’t include all the feels of sisterhood: the feeling of connection and belonging; the feeling of support and encouragement; the feeling of giving so much of yourself for the greater good and receiving so much more than you imagined; the feeling of becoming the person you always hoped to be.

Author Chuck Palahniuk once said, “I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known.” When I think over my years of KD membership, this seems the best way to sum it up. When I look at pictures of my KD sisters, friends and bridesmaids, I see the very best definition of sisterhood.

Katie Durham
Zeta Omega-Memphis

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