Being a member of Greek life and an engineering student, a question I get asked often is how I balance those two parts of my life and if Greek Life is even doable with engineering or if its too time-consuming/overbearing. I would say that Greek Life for me has been just like any other activity that students dedicate themselves to here at USC and managing to fit it into my schedule is similar to how I fit all my extracurriculars in. Just as a little
background, I want to say that I had no intention of joining a sorority when I came to USC and had already found a strong community of friends in my first fall semester. My main motivation for doing the recruitment process was that it seemed like a good way to meet new people and see a new space within SC. I joined Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi) in the spring of 2020 and have had nothing but a positive experience within my sisterhood- forming wonderful friendships, having lots of adventures around LA, participating in philanthropy for Ronald McDonald House Charities, and just getting to be in a house with women from all across USC. Just as with any college club or involvement, Greek Life is not for everyone and how involved in a sorority is really up to you.
First of all, I just want to clarify what exactly Greek Life and sororities are since I was a bit confused on this when I first came to college. Greek Life is the term used to refer to the social sororities and fraternities associated with USC. The sororities are under the governance of the Panhellenic Council and the frats are under the Intrafraternity Council. At its foundation, a sorority is an organization formed of female-identifying individuals to create a community on campus tied to the Greek letters of their sorority which exist across the country. Each sorority at USC has a house on a street near USC and has a philanthropy associated with their chapter (a chapter is a certain instance of a sorority at a school) that they hold events and fundraisers for throughout the year.
The greatest aspect of being in ADPi for me has been the genuine friendships I have made with other girls in the house, girls I now consider some of my closest friends. We certainly have fun at going-out events or sisterhood nights at the house, but what I really enjoy are the small moments in between- eating a meal together thats provided for us at the house, studying with my friends in our backyard, having them in my classes all across the different USC disciplines, and being able to call on them whenever I just need a friend. I feel incredibly supported when I’m around these girls and know that I can rely on them on the good and bad days, as cheesy as that sounds. I’ve been really fortunate to find this authentic community of strong, ambitious women who are always down for an adventure or willing to have deep talks till 2am. It’s a great feeling to know that I can come to the ADPi house anytime and be in a safe, comforting space with others around me that I can sit and talk about anything with.
My sorority has also allowed me to join in experiences that I normally may not have been aware of as well as meet people not just in engineering. Don’t get me wrong, I love hanging with my engineering peeps and having a nice day spent in the E-Quad, but part of what makes USC so amazing is the incredibly diverse student body fully of kids from all across the world, interested in a million different things, with stories all their own. ADPi gives me a little sliver of this and lets me interact with lots of different people all in one space. Because of this I learn about the various performances and art events on campus, speakers and professional opportunities, chances to volunteer, and simply have countless new doors opened up to me to try different things and meet even more of a range of individuals. USC is so interconnected and my sorority allows me to tap into that huge network a little easier.
In regards to the balance of engineering and a sorority, I find that ADPi is a nice outlet from the stress that sometimes accompanies my classwork. There is a time commitment for my sorority, but it’s very manageable and involves times of community with the other members, whether this be chapter meetings once a week, sisterhood events like pool days and yoga classes, philanthropy donation drop-offs, or joining other sororities for their events. As I said before, I just work these into my schedule like my other clubs and make sure that while I’m prioritizing my school I find time to enjoy the opportunities provided by ADPi. For me this means I may work to finish my homework a bit early in the week so I can attend a date dash event on a Thursday night or go on my chapter retreat to Disneyland. It could also mean bringing my homework to the house and being with my sisters while studying together and enjoying one another’s company. I’ve found the two have really gone hand in hand for me.
I’ll definitely treasure the memories I’ve made with these fantastic women for years to come and I’m excited that I’ll always have a sisterhood behind me no matter where I go from SC. For now though, I’m just going to enjoy having yummy food at our cozy house on Greek row, having nights out with my friends, and always having one of my sisters to wave to on campus!