How do you represent your chapter, Panhellenic, and yourself all at once? To be so honest, it takes a second to figure out. In the fall of 2021, I was a new member, just over a year later I became a member of FSU’s Panhellenic executive board, and now in Spring 2023, I am working as a recruitment counselor. I quickly went from wearing my letters on my sleeve to representing the community as a whole, all while staying true to who I am. My chapter’s values have led and guided me beyond themselves and pushed me to be the best for my community. Because of values such as loyalty, leadership, and vulnerability, I have been able to not only find women in my chapter but meet the sweetest friends and form the most meaningful relationships outside of it.
Rachel’s Guide to Translating Chapter Values into Panhellenic Friendships
1. Loyalty: Showing Up for Panhellenic Sisters
Some of the closest friendships I’ve made are from people showing up for me time and time again. Two of the best examples of loyalty come from my friends Maddie and Jackie. Without a doubt, I can rely on these women to meet me for a walk or a good debrief. They show up for every small event and have consistently had my back. Learning true loyalty in my chapter has taught me how having someone sit there next to you and listen can change everything. In any conversation I have with these women there is a mutual understanding of trust and unconditional support. When we have a rough week, instead of running away we are able to still be there for each other while respecting that we may need to recharge. Even in a recharging moment, I know that when I get a call from Maddie at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday, I will be calling back immediately, even if it’s just her asking if she can wear her sweatshirt to the Union (she could not). Loyalty isn’t just showing up for the big moments but being there for daily life. It’s texting Jackie to check in and then later asking her to meet me before a big meeting to talk it through. The consistency of these friendships makes me feel the most reassured when everything feels unsteady. translate chapter values
2. Leadership: Being a Leader Outside of My Chapter
Some of my best friends in the Greek community have come from taking on leadership positions. Something my chapter is really good at is encouraging involvement in leadership and from that I was able to find myself in a greater space. It was from my junior delegate meetings that I was able to understand that I could actually have friends in other chapters. I learned how to represent my chapter and still be myself. That I wasn’t a mold of my chapter but an extension of it. This experience also showed me what I could have missed if I had just stayed put. Conveniently, this is also where I met Abby. Abby is one of the most involved leaders I know in this community. She is always the first to volunteer to go on a retreat, sign up to work an event, or just to show up for her chapter. At almost anything I sign up for, I assume Abby will be there too. If I could suggest one thing to anyone wanting to make friends in other chapters, it’s to get involved. You will find people with ambition and drive; I just can’t promise they will be as funny or personable as Abby (she’s pretty hard to beat).
This leads me to where I am now, working as Panhellenic’s VP of Programming and having met one of my closest friends, Olivia. Honestly, the first time I saw her, I thought she was way too cool for me and that we probably weren’t going to be friends. I was so wrong. I don’t remember how but slowly Olivia and I became closer and now I don’t know what I would do without her. I think that Olivia would agree that we are very different people but come together well to represent Panhellenic. We take who we are and use it to benefit the community and the people we encounter.
3. Vulnerability: Opening Up to and Trusting My Panhellenic Sisters
Feeling comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings has been so crucial to my personal growth in my sorority journey. It is in these vulnerable moments that I have been able to learn and relate to others in a way that fosters connection. My time in Fraternity and Sorority Life at Florida State has been heavy in team-building games. Some of these bring tears of frustration and others maybe a little resentment (just for a little bit). One good thing does consistently come of this and it’s the people you bond with. There’s Brylee who stood next to me while I blankly stared at the ground with my eyes glazed over while the rest of the group tried to figure out a puzzle. She related to me and encouraged me, but most importantly became a friend. Funny enough, she later came into my recruitment counselor small group where we had to play the game again. In our group of 12 (plus our team lead, Caroline, who’s also really good at encouraging vulnerability) we have opened up about our fears, worries, and struggles with fall recruitment coming up. Hearing from others that they might be facing the same challenges as you have been what has brought us closer together. I will deny ever writing this, but the most challenging games have opened up the doors for the most vulnerable conversations. In my vulnerability, I have been accepted completely time and time again by a community I am able to proudly represent.
It’s the values from my chapter that allow me to represent my organization daily. They have been the reason I was confident to step out, to be myself, and to open up. While I might not be able to wear my letters for the time being, I know I am able to represent them in what I do. These values are key to how I influence my community and how I have found my closest friends. As I represent Panhellenic I get to honor my values and pursue them into greater spaces. My values are part of what drives me as an individual. Without my chapter, I am still loyal, leading, and vulnerable. I know when I show up anywhere, I am representing my organization well while showing just as much pride in my community.