Laili Attai is the Recruitment and Marketing Vice President for our new chapter at UC Davis. When she first went to college she cringed at the idea of joining a sorority, but something about ADPi changed her mind. Read more to learn about Laili’s experience, and what she admires most about being part of a new chapter!
All of the horrible things I had heard, read, and seen on TV were enough to convince me that joining a sorority was something you would only do if you were a shallow, superficial, air-head…harsh…I know. The summer going into my senior year of high school, I remember touring UC Davis with my older sister and a moment we had continuously comes back to me. My sister turned to me and said, “Laili, you should really consider joining a sorority!” Immediately, with disgust, I shot this idea down. I should mention, however, that my older sister is ALWAYS right.
Freshman year flew by, and I can truly say I had the time of my life! But, let’s just say that my sophomore year was not as welcoming. The University of California-Davis is a giant school with over 35,000 students. It’s not hard to feel alone. Even though I had a beautiful apartment, the same lovely friends, and a major that I loved, I still felt lost. I was missing a community. I needed a community.
Like I mentioned, my older sister is always right. Within the first couple of weeks of my freshman year I immediately regretted not going through formal recruitment, but of course I didn’t tell anyone. It turns out that the girls who were in sororities at my school were smart, fun, and sweet! I figured I would just wait until sophomore year to see if I still wanted to go through recruitment. Well, what do you know! Sophomore year was here, and I was about to sign up for formal recruitment, but there was STILL something stopping me.
I wanted to be in a sorority. I wanted that sisterhood and community. I wanted to be involved on campus. But, I also wanted to keep my sense of individuality. I wanted to stay close to my non-affiliated friends, and I wanted to still be involved in all my other activities. I didn’t want to become my sorority.
Isn’t it crazy how life just throws the most perfect opportunities in your face right when you need them? I remember feeling glum one rainy day in January when I came across a sign that said “Alpha Delta Pi is Coming Home to UC Davis”. At first I didn’t think much about it, but the thought stayed in the back of my mind. A couple hours later I was sitting on my computer, still thinking about the fact that a new sorority was coming to my campus. I don’t know what made me do it, but in that moment I signed up online for the information session and without hesitation I interviewed to get my bid.
Although now I can say that I love ADPi, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, I thought about dropping almost every day since receiving my bid until I was finally initiated. Starting your own sorority is like any new project in life. You’re only going to get out of it what you put into it, so you need to put everything into it.
As cheesy as it sounds, I know I was always meant to be a part of this sisterhood. Maybe the reason I never could get myself to sign up for formal recruitment was because I knew there was something new and even better waiting for me. I love how diverse each and every girl in my sorority is. We all come from different backgrounds, look different, are involved in different things all over campus, and truly love being sisters and a part of ADPi.
I’m not going to lie and say that being the Recruitment and Marketing Vice President (RMVP) of a brand new chapter has been an easy task. There are times when I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. Balancing being on executive board, planning recruitment, monitoring our PR, and making our philanthropy events happen is a lot for one girl-especially when you try to also balance that with work, friends, school, and overall health! But like I said before, ADPi is a sisterhood like no other. I have the most incredible team working with me, and I am constantly blown away by what we manage to accomplish.
I think the best part about being a founding member of a new sorority is that even after the constant obstacles, I get the creative freedom to make this sisterhood whatever I want it to be! There are no precedents or stereotypes standing in my way, and at the end of the day I still feel like my authentic self.
My biggest piece of advice to any founding member of a sorority, and especially any RMVP of a new sorority, is to really trust yourself and trust your team. You can’t do everything alone, and you’ll accomplish an insane amount if you have a team that respects each other and works together. Being a leader is more than just telling people what to do. It’s about working with your team and being a resource for them to reach their fullest potentials. Lead with compassion and lead with respect. Don’t expect it to be easy. It won’t be. In fact, you’ll often have no idea what you’re doing, but trust yourself and trust ADPi. We live for each other.