Crafts, rituals, parties, philanthropies, letters and lifelong friends. These were some of the reasons why I originally joined a sorority--I wanted a home to retreat to while I was in college. I wanted an unwavering support team where I felt like I truly belonged. Truthfully, I found that in my sorority. But I never found that feeling outside of the house, and that is why I transferred.

Last year, I was a student at the University of Denver (DU) where I originally rushed and joined the Tri Delta sorority. That community was one of the few places at DU that I felt proud to be a part of. My “sisters” were always there for me, supporting and lifting me up. They celebrated me even when I decided it was best for me to leave them, making it the hardest goodbye.

Me and my best friend from DU at DHOP. Photo by Jenna Piehl / North by Northwestern

I knew that I wanted to continue with Greek life at Northwestern, so I contacted the Tri Delta chapter president, who offered me the chance to live in the house this year. I eagerly said yes, without fully understanding what I was agreeing to.

On Sept. 16, I moved in early to the sorority house and started Wildcat Welcome. For one week, I had an entire sorority house to myself. I found myself staring at the walls, wondering what my new sisters were going to be like. I wanted to know if I was going to have the same connections here that I had in my old chapter.

A picture of the very first time I got to the house at Northwestern, with my brother. Photo by Jenna Piehl / North by Northwestern

As everyone moved in on Sept. 21, I realized that they all knew each other, and I didn’t know any of them. They had gone through rush together, experienced initiation at the same time, chosen each other’s formal dresses and gossiped about drama for an entire year before I got there.

The first couple of weeks were full of awkward conversations and introductions. The girls were still catching up from summer, and I had nothing to talk about. I felt like an outsider infiltrating the sorority.

I started to miss the Tri Delta house back at DU.

Then something changed. I started remembering people’s names and having conversations beyond our names, majors, and hometowns. I slowly started feeling comfortable knocking on doors to ask if my outfit was appropriate for a themed party. Soon enough, I felt that there were people in the house I could talk to about the boys who flirt with me.

A picture of me and sisters from my sorority at Northwestern. Photo by Jenna Piehl / North by Northwestern

I am not best friends with anyone in my sorority--at least, not yet. I am still an outsider and chances are I will be that for a while. I’m still introduced to their friends as “a transfer” (a status I wear with pride, #andtransfers!), and I still need to introduce myself to some of the girls in the house.

I joined a sorority to be a part of a community larger than myself, and transferring universities has put that community to the test. I will always be a part of the chapter at DU, but I also cannot wait to discover what being a Tri Delta at Northwestern University will mean to me.