This time last year, I was in pretty rough place. I had just moved to a city in the Northeast where I knew NOBODY. For the first time since kindergarten, I was no longer a student. It was a lot to deal with and I didn’t have anybody to deal with it with.
I had started writing this blog right around the same time I moved here. In those first few weeks, I was very adamant about keeping to student affairs-related topics, but in time decided to write some more personal things in here too. I couldn’t be the only person whose life wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies after graduation. I started chatting with some of my friends about it, but found it difficult, as many had moved to cities where they already had friends. The ones who didn’t worked for large companies that were filled with all sorts of employees close in age to them. They’d have company-sponsored happy hours and go to ball games together. Meanwhile I was just going home after work and watching How I Met Your Mother on Netflix.
Finally, I caved. I used my blog to figure out how grown ups exist in the real world. Like many posts, I asked for readers to give their input. I hadn’t gotten many comments. In fact, I still haven’t gotten many comments. But on this particular day, one reader decided to comment and told me about Junior League. It’s not that I hadn’t heard of Junior League before, but I imagined it to be full of rich housewives. In fact, I even posted that in a follow up. But this reader insisted that it wasn’t like that. And I decided to give it a shot.
I did some research first. Some Junior Leagues have age restrictions. Some require that you have a sponsor – a member that can vouch for you. Others say that you have to have a sponsor but then say not to worry if you don’t, you’ll just get paired with somebody. I found contact information for the League in my area. They did not require a sponsor or have any other sort of requirements, aside from being female and over 18. I decided to venture out and see what it was all about.
What did I find? Being in Junior League was like being in a big girl sorority. You had a new member period. You had to do volunteer work. There were happy hours and social events. There was an executive board. Most of the members had joined because they were new to the area and wanted to meet people. A lot of the members had even been in sororities in college! One time we joked that a happy hour was more like an alum Panhellenic meeting!
There were times when it was hard. Work got busy, but I had volunteered to be a committee head for our new member project. I almost thought about stepping down, especially when I was having problems with other group members not doing their share of the work. In the end, I decided not to. I had never been a quitter before. In college when things got rough, what did I do? I joined my sorority. At my previous job, I had an incredibly hard time balancing my job with school and my required internship, but I kept going. If I hadn’t, I would have never landed the job I have now. Our new member project wound up being a huge success and the executive board members loved it!
In May came the moment of truth. Not only was our new member period over, but we were going to find out what committees we had been selected to join. Originally I had one thing in mind, but after learning more about the other committees, I was open to not getting my first choice. In the end I wound up getting my first choice – New Member Committee. From a sorority standpoint, it’s a mix between recruitment and new member education. We’ve had a few committee meetings now and I’ve got some tasks lined up for summer.
If you are a female that’s in the same boat as me, I definitely recommend checking out the Junior League chapter in your area. It’s been an absolute blast and I have loved getting involved with something in my city that’s not work!