There are thousands of sorority women who graduated in the spring and are now facing recruitment season completely removed from it. Depending on how involved in your chapter you are, it can be quite a stark contrast. I consider myself very lucky that I was living thousands of kilometres away in Ireland the year after I graduated, but I still found it difficult to go from being intensely involved to not having any role- even the year after I returned. It is a fine balance between remaining involved and being the clingy alumna who is trying to relive her glory days. Never fear though, there are ways to ease your transition into alumnae life!
1.Join an alumnae group!
If at all possible, join an alumnae group! Be it, a young alumnae group, an alumnae club, or an alumnae chapter, go and check it out. It will allow you stay involved with your organisation without trying to hold onto a past chapter of your life. Organisations have different names for their groups but typically alumnae chapters are the most structured; they will have positions similar to an undergraduate chapter. Alumnae clubs are more flexible but will still have some positions. And young alumnae groups, like Junior Circle in Alpha Gamma Delta, are for alumnae 22-35 who might not want to fully jump into positions and meetings but still want the sisterhood and social aspects! Junior Circle is one of the best parts of Alpha Gamma Delta for me, and I hope that others find their home in their alumnae group.
2. Get to Know New Sisters
I have found that getting to know sisters that I didn’t know is the most meaningful part of alumnae life. Women that came into the chapter after I graduated are now some of my best friends, and I couldn’t be more thankful. Whether you are moving to a new city or staying in the same place, take the opportunity to get to know some different sisters. Not only will you potentially make new close friends, you will broaden your connections! Sometimes a new point of view can make the world of difference, and sticking with the same sisters you’ve spent time with won’t change anything. My pledge sister is still my best friend, but we have more best friends with us! You also know that the alumnae who are spending time with you want to spend time with you, dues/fines/offices aren’t holding you together. Take advantage of this!
3. Only Attend Events Meant for Alumnae
Although it might be very tempting to stop by the house or go to a football game with collegians, or stop by a mixer or exchange, resist the temptation. For about a week it will be fine, then you will quickly become “that alum” who can’t let go. Attending these events is only going to keep you stuck in the past. If other alumnae regularly attend an event, like Homecoming, Pledging/Initiation, or Reunion Day, then feel free to attend! If nothing else, take cues from other alumnae. The question I ask is, “Would someone who graduated five years ago come to this?” If the answer is no, tell them to have fun and skip it! If you are really feeling bummed about it, organise a low-key alum event at the same time to embrace your alumnae status!
4. Give Yourself a Fresh Start
New city or no, use your alumnae life to give yourself a fresh start in your organisation! Maybe there was an office or committee that you really wanted to join as a collegian but it never worked out. Try doing the same as an alumnae! Alumnae groups are low-key and not as busy, it is a low pressure way to try a new skill set and reinvigorate yourself. It’s also a way to work with new people, on a team, and maybe learn some new things about yourself! Forget what you know about your organisation and make a new start as an alum.
5. Enjoy Your Freedom!
You no longer have dues, mandatory events, fines, meetings, polish week, or a multitude of other things. If you are still in school, use this time to focus on your upper level classes! If you are establishing yourself in your career, you won’t have late night events to tire you out. If you don’t want to go to Homecoming, you don’t have to. If you can’t make a social event because you are away on a trip, you don’t need an excuse note. And if you want to have a wine-tasting, you can do that as alumnae group! (I’m not a wine drinker, but it seems to be a super popular event!) You can also try something that might not work for a huge chapter, like an escape room or a paint night. The world is your oyster, take advantage of it!
Alumnae, what are your tips to make the transition easier? And new alumnae, what aspect do you find most difficult?