Happy Monday! As some of you may know, I am a proud member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Today is Alpha Delta Pi's 166th birthday, better known as Founders Day. In honor of this and just some thoughts that have been on my mind, I thought I would write this blogpost as a response to comments that I get now and again regarding my membership.
When my mom was in college at the College of William & Mary, she was a member of a sorority. While she thoroughly enjoyed her experiences with her sorority, she never talked about it much and when it came to my college experience, both of my parents wanted the decision to be completely mine. Society had somehow instilled in me the idea of a "typical sorority girl" and I wasn't sure if my personality or values aligned with that. During the time when I was deciding whether or not to go through Primary Recruitment (ISU's term for "Rush") I brought up the idea to one of my close friends. I truly valued his input but all the only thing that came across was questions like "YOU are going to join a sorority?"
On the other side, one of my close friends from dance team who would also be attending ISU was planning on going through recruitment. Additionally, my dance team coach who was and continues to be one of my role models, told me of the many positive experiences she had during her time in a sorority and, in her deep understanding of me as a person, told me that she could see me being in and excelling in a sorority.
I took all of these things into account. I wanted to make the most of my four years at Iowa State, I wanted to have access to leadership opportunities and chances to serve my new community, but above all, I also wanted a place where I could be completely and utterly myself and take pride in and stand strong in my values. I knew that being in a sorority would check the first two boxes but I wasn't sure about the last one which was most important to me. I finally decided that I would at least try recruitment and test out the community.
My group for ISU Primary Recruitment
I went into recruitment with a positive outlook and an excitement of what was possibly to come. Recruitment was an incredibly unique and stressful experience but looking back, it was well worth it. I was able to learn about every Collegiate Panhellenic Council chapter and meet and converse with women from each chapter. Through the whole process I was very lucky and I felt as though I got to experience the true nature of each chapter as well as have some deep and meaningful conversations with some amazing women at my last houses. As the week progressed I returned to fewer and fewer chapters until on Preference Night I went to only two and at the end of the night I had to preference one over the other. Honestly, this night was very challenging for me because I was lucky enough to have two amazing chapters remaining as options. I knew that no matter what chapter was listed on my Bid Card the next day, I would be happy.
Just a Few Bid Day Memories
That next day, when the Campanile (the large clock tower on Iowa State's central campus) chimed I ripped open my envelope and saw my name and Alpha Delta Pi Pi Chapter I was ecstatic. That day I got to run home to our beautiful chapter facility and to the open arms of tons of my sisters. Although I was filled with joy and anticipation, those nervous and doubt-filled thoughts remained in my mind. I knew that I would have to work to find deep friendships within ADPi that would keep me rooted and bring more meaning to the experience.
Although filled with fun events, new experiences, and tons of new and wonderful people, my first semester as a member of a sorority was difficult. I made sure to prioritize opportunities that reinforced my values and sometimes this kept me from connecting with women in my sorority. I played it safe and didn't really break out of my comfort zone in terms of getting together with people and really getting to know them. I was lucky enough to find some amazing older role models but I had a hard time connecting with women in my pledge class in that first semester and this caused me to be slightly withdrawn.
However, in this first semester I did quickly get to experience the leadership and service opportunities that are unique to being in a sorority/Greek life. I was chosen to be Alpha Delta Pi's representative on the Emerging Greek Leadership Council through which I get to develop connections with other members of the Greek community (sorority and fraternity members), learn how to be an influential leader in the community, and plan philanthropy events. I also got to participate in our philanthropy and the sheer joy I saw in all my sisters as they helped make our event (Chili in the Courtyard) happen in support of our philanthropy Ronald McDonald House Charities, inspired me and made me proud to be a member of Pi Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi.
Second semester I randomly connected back up with one of my sisters in my pledge class and this was the biggest blessing. Allison and I started getting meals once and a while and one night she came over to my dorm room and we watched an ISU basketball game, shared dance team memories/videos, had deep conversations, and watched a movie. This remains one of my favorite nights/memories from this year. We connected over ADPi, dance team, AND our faith. Allison also persuaded me to participate in Lip Sync (a competition that is a part of ISU's Greek Week complete with dancing and lip syncing) where I got to grow closer to her and tons of other sisters. Our friendship has continued to grow and deepen over this semester and has helped me connect and relate to ADPi in a deeper way. I no longer feel like an outsider because I know I have Allison and so many others that I have grown closer to this semester.
I won't deny that being a member of a sorority and specifically Alpha Delta Pi was a challenging transition for me and is an experience that I continue to learn from and be challenged by. However, it has been the most rewarding experience I could have hoped for.
Through Alpha Delta Pi I have been exposed to a group of diverse, unique, sweet, driven, hilarious, intelligent, and talented group of women that inspire me each and every day. Through Alpha Delta Pi I have met people that I know will be my friends, as cheesy as it sounds, forever! Through Alpha Delta Pi I have been able to take advantage of leadership positions and service that is unique to the Greek community. Through Alpha Delta Pi, I am constantly challenged to stand strong in the face of differences and be authentically myself. Through Alpha Delta Pi, I have learned that my values don't always separate me completely but rather can draw me close to individuals or even close to an organization as a whole as I have found that ADPi reflects many of my values. Through Alpha Delta Pi, I am pushed to be the best women I can be, whether in my studies, my extracurriculars, as a leader, or just as a person in general. Through Alpha Delta Pi, I had an amazing freshman year and I am looking forward to the next three!
It is because of all of that, that I get frustrated when people say phrases like "Oh, you're in a sorority," or "You're one of those girls." It is time that we change our perception of sorority women and of Greek life as a whole. I recognize that it is definitely not for everyone, and that there are definitely poor choices made by members of the Greek community or sometimes reason for a bad reputation, but there are so many positives that I have experienced in just one year as a member. Thankfully, as a member of Alpha Delta Pi, I can confidently say that I am the same Madison Pincombe that I was before recruitment. I haven't felt forced to be anyone different, if anything, being a member of Alpha Delta Pi has been an amazing way to become a better woman. To me, being a member of a sorority is about leadership, philanthropy, and sisters who I consider my close friends and who live out our motto We Live For Each Other everyday.
Thank you Alpha Delta Pi for an unforgettable first year and for all of the experiences that are to come. And of course, happy Founders Day to the first and finest <>!!