What does it mean to be a girl’s girl? To put sisters before misters? To find platonic soulmates? It might sound cliche, but I never knew, at least not until I set foot in the red brick building on the corner with big black letters that read ΧΩ. In fact, I thought I just wasn’t capable of it. I never thought that the women I looked up to the most could be my peers, my friends, and my greatest support system. It’s easy to let a few bad experiences with female friendship alter your perception of it forever. In my case, I had only complicated relationships with my female friends in the past. They were built on competition, envy, deceit, and whispers behind unknowing backs. It took me a long time to recognize that those friendships were unhealthy in every conceivable way, but I didn’t know any better.
There is a distinct difference between high school friendships and college friendships: you get to choose. It’s easy to make friends out of convenience, but it's a lot harder to make lifelong friendships, and very rarely do they just fall into your lap. I had this realization when I went through recruitment. At first, it filled me with an overwhelming sense of doom. What if I chose wrong? What if I fell into my old habits of accepting friendships that had zero substance? At the same time, I was elated to finally have an opportunity to start fresh and truly be myself. It's scary putting your honest self out there, especially with the possibility of rejection. But I genuinely believe that everything happens for a reason. In my case, it was getting the privilege of chatting with the lovely ladies of Chi Omega. Immediately, my mind was at ease. Little did I know that I was exactly where I was meant to be. One clue came toward the end of recruitment when most girls cry for one reason or another, but I’m simply not a crier in that sort of scenario. At Chi Omega, I didn’t feel the need to put on some elaborate performance of emotion for everyone in that room to understand how happy I was. I never felt myself having to perform in any way around those girls, and that’s when I knew recruitment was over, and I was home.
I’m a sophomore now, and I’m so thankful for Chi Omega. With the added stress of work and school, sometimes the women here are my only constant. Don’t get me wrong, friendships take work. Being in a sorority, while it is a sisterhood of love and support, does not exempt the relationships within from hard work. A friendship has to have an equal effort on both sides. I can blame all my past difficulties with female friendships on the circumstance, but the truth is that I contributed to the problem by not showing others the same affection and effort that they showed me. I was introverted and immature at times so it's no surprise that I felt so alone. But now I have an amazing group of women around me that share all of the qualities that I love and aspire to have. It’s never been easier for me to create those friendships, and it still takes work and initiative, but anything of value does.
Through Chi Omega, I have discovered that genuine, long-lasting female friendships are not out of reach. In fact, they were all around me just waiting to take shape. If I can give you any advice, don’t let your past negative experiences dictate your future. We have complete control over who we surround ourselves with, and for me, I chose Chi Omega and I continue to choose these ladies every day with my actions because that is what friendship really means.