Sororities and Greek life are not always given the best reputation. Most people often think of the worst, but my last four years in a sorority have shown me the best.
A lot of people treat being a Christian in a sorority as a contradiction. But my sorority sisters have shown me just how many amazing things God is doing in and through us. College is hard, and life is hard, and we need more people who are there to love, listen, care, and serve.
I joined Pi Beta Phi my freshmen year at Creighton. I fell so in love with the chapter, all the other members, and their activities like Pi Phi’s in Prayer. Transferring was a really hard decision, but knowing I could continue on with Pi Phi made it a lot easier.
Each of the girls in Pi Phi have been a light and inspiration to me. They have helped me grow so much in the last four years. Each member has taught me one of our six values in a different way and helped me grow immensely.
Pi Phi Values
Pi Phi places a strong emphasis on honesty and moral uprightness. Our sisterhood has helped me learn how to strive to do the right thing in all circumstances, even if no one else is watching.
Before joining Pi Phi, I thought integrity meant being true to myself and not doing anything that dishonors or demeans that. Now, that extends outside of myself and includes being true to my sorority and not doing anything to dishonor our sisterhood.
Pi Phi has shown me what lifelong friendship truly means. In the past I’ve had a lot of friendships out of convenience, like how in elementary school you’re simply friends with the people whose desk is the closet to you, but when they move to a different class the next year your friendship ends.
Joining Pi Phi was not something that will only last for college. I know that I will always be a Pi Phi and that the friendships I have made will last an entire lifetime rather than the short amount of time we have together in college.
I saw this brought to life when I attended my first Pi Phi wedding. It was beautiful to see all of the connections, watching my sisters stand together on such a beautiful day and knowing that Pi Phi is what brought all of them together.
Honor and Respect:
Each member of Pi Phi is such a unique addition. We all come from such different backgrounds with our own collective experiences.
Because of this, I think a lot of sororities see a wide range of values and beliefs in their chapter members. It is so vital to honor and respect one another’s opinions.
Pi Phi offers a place for meaningful friendship with girls I otherwise would’ve never interacted with. It has widened my horizons and the way I think so I have a deeper understanding of those around me.
Personal and Intellectual Growth:
Entering into college I knew I wanted to surround myself with people who would push me to be the best version of myself and step outside my comfort zone to find growth. Pi Phi has been an excellent source for this.
My first year in Pi Phi I had other girls reach out and encourage me to run for a position on the executive council. I was beyond scared to apply, but my time as both Vice President of Housing and Director of Fraternity Heritage have helped me grow so much and become more involved in the chapter.
Philanthropic Service to Others:
My Pi Phi sisters have taught me so much about serving others. Before joining a sorority I thought that sorority life would be all sparkle and glitter, but I have come to see that there is a lot more that goes into it and it is certainly not always glamorous.
I have learned the importance of service for others through our philanthropy work picking up trash and liter on streets, reading books to students at local elementary schools, and putting on events to raise money for our foundation Read > Lead > Achieve.
Recently I’ve realized the difference between a friendship of convenience and a true, sincere friend. Each of my sorority sisters offer me unconditional support and love.
The first time I had to give a report at a meeting I was so nervous to have to get up in front of the entire chapter, but they all called out compliments and poured out so much affection that my nerves dissipated.
I know that they are always there for me. Life happens while you’re in college, and a lot of my sorority sisters have gone through a lot in the last four years, but in every high and every low they’ve always had an entire community behind them. `
Q&A with Presley Groce
What made you decide to join a sorority?
I was a part of various sports and clubs in high school. I really enjoyed that feeling of community and support I got from those and was hoping to gain a similar experience within a sorority. I also talked with some older girls who had been in sororities and they discussed the emphasis put on philanthropy and education. I thought this would be a good way to make friends, be held accountable, and open myself up to new opportunities.
In what ways is being in a sorority different from your expectations and from the stereotypes about Greek life?
Drury Greek life is a lot different in general because our chapters are much smaller. Because of this, we know the entirety of our chapter and are a close knit community. We put a lot of value into growing as a woman and offering support to one another in various ways (education, spiritual, political, career, etc). We all want to succeed and push each other to succeed. We do not “pay for our friends” or “pledge just to party”. We have a diverse group of personalities that have made a commitment to genuinely want what is best for one another. Most of our time is spent preparing meetings, philanthropy work, events for team bonding, and personal/intellectual growth. We take pride in what we are a part of and what so many women have been a part of over the years.
As a new member was it harder to stay true to your values while trying to make new friends? How has that changed for you throughout your time in Pi Phi?
It was a little bit intimidating at first but not hard. I had my own stereotypes developed in my mind about liberal arts colleges and was worried I would be criticized or not well liked. Of course the exact opposite happened. Everyone always responds like they are impressed by me and truly appreciate my identity in Christ. They often make connections or tell me that I give them encouragement which in turn encourages me. Now that I am an upperclassman I am very confident in this and try to make sure new members know that I am available to talk to about those hard transitions relating to one’s faith.
Are there any stereotypes you feel like you are given because you’re a Christian or because you are in a sorority?
Sometimes I get the stereotype of goody-two-shoes but rarely is it in a negative way. I truly am surprised at how accepting everyone is and encouraging. For example, I have chosen to not drink underage. This is really common in college but my sisters have never pressured me. They always ask me if I want any to make sure I am not left out but also always make comments about how cool it is that I don’t. They also are the first ones to stop someone else (usually a boy) if he tries to get me to drink. I know they have my back. It is really upsetting when I hear the typical stereotypes about being in a sorority. The first girl I connected to in Pi Phi introduced me to the campus ministry and the other started a bible study with me. There is so much good in my sorority and my girls and I hate that some people don’t take the time to look.
Do you feel pressure to always be a good example? If so, in what ways?
Yes, I have recently recognized I put way too much pressure on myself to be perfect. I feel like people look up to me which I appreciate, but it is also stressful. In highschool it felt like I wasn’t allowed to mess up in the same way my friends did. If they said a cuss word that was the end of it. If I said a cuss word people talked about it and brought it up for the next few days and made me feel very shameful. That still happens sometimes, the girls act surprised when I know a dirty song or something like that. But they also have really helped push me to recognize I am not perfect and I am not supposed to be. They love me more genuinely for who I am right now not only when I don’t match up perfectly with who I want to be.
Do you feel like it has challenged your faith or made it stronger?
Being in a sorority has challenged my faith because I have had to learn balance. Something tricky about being a Christian is not all your friends are Christian too so they don’t think like you. I had to learn to balance when to give my opinion and help and when to stay out of it. This was tricky because I don’t want to see people hurt themselves or get into bad situations. But I also don’t want them to think I am judging them just because I don’t do the same things.
It has made it stronger because I have learned how to witness in a new way. I don’t even notice God is using me and then one of the girls will call me up and ask for help. He has used me as a safe place for people and I love that more than anything else.
How do you strive to be a light to others in your sorority?
There is a lot of information about God in the Bible and there is even more that we don’t know and will never be able to fully comprehend. One thing I do know is God’s infinite love for us, so that is what I try to focus on. A lot of college-aged girls carry around a lot of shame and doubt. I try to be a light by making the biggest point that God loves them and that’s huge. God created everything good and beautiful in this world, yet He still felt it needed you, so you must be pretty important too.
How have other members been a light to you?
There are some girls who have very strong and long standing relationships with God that all try to create opportunities for growth with bible studies, church events, and suggested devotions. There are also a lot of girls who are just curious which is so encouraging to me. They will try out a random new church with me or ask me to lead a bible study, they are hungry for more and excited about God, which in turn makes me excited. They believe in me and my worth.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your time as a Pi Phi?
I have learned so much from Pi Phi, from finance skills, health tips, leadership, fashion advice, funny jokes, design tips, and even cooking lessons. But the biggest lesson has been what real friendship looks like. We are all so unique and instead of that being made into competition or knocking one another down, we constantly lift one another up. I’ve learned what it means to believe in myself and feel confident in the person next to me. I’ve learned to embrace differences and that there is always something you can learn from someone else. I seriously can’t put into words the love and gratefulness I have for my chapter. College would be a total bust without them.