Last night I did something I never thought I’d do.
I joined the Junior League of Seattle. I know what you’re thinking – snobbery, pearls, and old money. That’s the first thing my mom said and it’s something I’m prepared to explain away for the foreseeable future. But you know what? This is Seattle, not one of those hoity-toity cities. The room was filled with women, both those looking to join and those already involved in the organization, of all ages, sizes, and cultures. I spoke with an engineer, a girl getting her MBA, and a girl who works at the only multi-cultural advertising agency in Seattle. One of the women who spoke about her experience in the organization shared that she originally didn’t want to join because she’s socially awkward and hates groups, yet she decided to get involved for the volunteer work and has loved the social aspect.
I feel like my college self would’ve felt had I joined a sorority – I would’ve explained it away just like this. But my eighteen-year-old self was too afraid to join a sorority, scared it would indeed be full of snobbery and old money and catfights. Maybe it would have – some sorority girls I met in college certainly fit that bill. They did things I found ghastly, such as wear designer jeans and get expensive haircuts – I say this thinking of the various designer jeans in my dresser and cringing at how much I spent at my last haircut.
My point, I think, is that sure, some stereotypes exist for a reason. But while the Junior League carries with it an air of unearned superiority, the organization I just joined seems, at least so far, to be one that truly is focused on volunteering and women’s professional development – and occasionally a little wine. People are multi-dimensional, and while a HUGE part of me is a homebody who prefers reading blogs and listening to indie music to going out, another part of me has grown since college and learned that I can get along with a lot of different people. I don’t come from money; most of my friends do and we get along great. My coworkers almost all come from the Greek system and I love them dearly. My personality, as it turns out, is a lot different than I originally thought, and I like being social and getting out in the community and meeting people. I like the feeling of giving back and being involved and having a purpose. I probably should have joined a sorority in college, and I am indeed the kind of person who could enjoy being part of an organization like this – for reasons having nothing to do with money or status or being a lady who lunches.
This could totally suck, to be sure. It’s a time commitment, for sure, and there are annual dues to be paid. But nothing I’ve seen so far screams of hazing or adult sorority girls trying to relive college days in pearls and a designer clutch. I’m excited to try something new and to be involved in something for really the first time ever. I’ve never been much of a joiner and I’m not talented in anything, so I’ve never really been part of a group in any way. Something that lets me do that and gives me the opportunity to do good for someone else? Worth a shot, in my opinion.