How to Balance Work and Being in a Sorority

Can you be in a sorority and have a job? What’s it like to balance sorority events and work?

Going through sorority recruitment, accepting a bid, and running home to your new sorority sisters on Bid Day can be one of the most memorable days of your college life.

However, once the warm feeling of sorority rush settles down, reality hits, and it’s time to pay for college tuition, rent, food, and gas (among other things).

For many sorority women, having a job in college is essential to make ends meet when student loans don’t cover everything or if you want extra money to go shopping or go out to eat with your sorority sisters.

However, balancing a job and being in a sorority can be challenging. And many girls, before they even join a sorority, wonder if it is possible to be in a sorority and have a job.

While the thought of having a job and being in a sorority is overwhelming, I’m here to tell you that yes, you can work and be in a sorority (and stay sane at the same time).

In this blog post, I am going to share how to balance having a job while being in a sorority.

how to balance work and being in a sorority during college

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Time management will be key to your success

If you are already overwhelmed by the thought of juggling work while being in a sorority, don’t worry–you’re not alone.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in 2018, 43% of undergraduate students worked full-time and 81% of undergraduate students worked part-time while going to college.

Many of your sorority sisters are probably in the same situation as you and need to work while being in a sorority to pay their bills and sorority dues.

However, for you to find success in balancing sorority events with work you need good time management skills. Especially since both work and your sorority are huge time commitments on their own.

Here are some tips and tricks to managing your time while working and being in a sorority.

Get a good planner (and actually use it)

Whether it be a digital or paper planner, having a good planner that works with how your mind operates will be your lifeline when it comes to balancing work and going to sorority events.

Not one planner fits all, so play around with different planner styles and modalities (digital or paper) to see which fits your needs the best.

I personally find bullet journaling to be the best planning method for me.

During my undergraduate degree, I used a bullet journal to balance part-time work, sorority commitments, and taking a full college course load.

Bullet journaling is also one of the simplest, yet flexible methods of planning because all you need is a blank journal (like this one) and a pen (my favorite pens are these ones) and you are set to go.

If you want to get started with using a bullet journal to help you manage work and sorority life here is an amazing bullet journaling for beginners video:

At the end of the day, whatever planner you chose, make it a habit to refer to it often and to update it as your work schedule changes and sorority events get added into your busy schedule.

There is no point to having a planner if you don’t use it!

Use the Pomodoro Technique to make the most of every minute in your schedule

Sometimes when you look at your planner it can be overwhelming seeing everything that you need to do and you probably start thinking, “I can’t get all of this done, this is impossible!”

But in reality, it is possible. How so? The Pomodoro Technique.

If you haven’t heard about this incredible time management strategy, the Pomodoro Technique helps you make every minute of your day as productive as possible without feeling burned out.

It is a wonderful time manage strategy especially when balancing work and being in a sorority because you can get all (if not most) of your tasks done by using this strategy.

In a nutshell, the Pomodoro Technique has you break down tasks into short periods of time, called “Pomodoros,” with breaks in between.

You can watch the video down below about how the Pomodoro Technique works or keep on reading below the video.

The standard Pomodoro is 25-minutes with a 5-minute break. And all you do is set is a timer for 25 minutes, work on a single task, like writing up a discussion board post for one of your classes.

After those 25-minutes of working you take a 5-minute break and then start working again for 25-minutes.

While utilizing the Pomodoro Method, it is vital that you DO NOT have any distractions. So no phone or no TV show running in the background. Just total focus on one task.

Even if you do not have a full 25-minutes to work on a task, you can still utilize short periods of time productively. Even if it is 3-minutes here and 5-minutes there, I promise you, these small-time periods of productivity will add up and make balancing work and being in a sorority so much easier.

Be prepared to make sacrifices to balance work and sorority life

I’ll be honest with you, it will not be easy to balance work while being in a sorority. There will be sacrifices you will need to make to manage everything.

You may not have time to join any other clubs on campus

Work is already a huge time commitment by itself and a necessity if it is the only way for you to pay your college tuition and meet your basic living needs. But on top of that, being in a sorority is a huge time commitment as well.

While in a sorority you typically have weekly chapter meetings that can last from an hour to even 4-hours, recruitment events, Sisterhood events, date nights, mixer events with other fraternities and sororities on campus, sorority big little week, retreats, initiation week, and more.

There will be a lot on your plate when it comes to managing work and being in a sorority and this can prevent you from joining any other on-campus clubs or activities.

If you want to have a job, be in a sorority, and not go crazy, it’s probably not the best idea to join a ton of clubs while in college.

This can be difficult, especially if there is a particular club or academic fraternity that fits your career goals or interest more than a social club (aka a sorority).

You’ll need to decide by yourself whether or not being in a sorority is worth the time commitment and what the benefits will be for you long-term by staying in the sorority.

However, also be encouraged that you can work, be in a sorority, and also be in multiple clubs. I know several sorority Sisters who seemed to be able to do it all, but you know what you are able to handle, so don’t stretch yourself too thin by trying to do all the things.

You’ll burn yourself out quickly, lose motivation in college, and may end up resenting your job and or sorority.

I recommend only joining one or two additional clubs if you plan on working while being in a sorority.

You may not be able to attend every sorority event

There are many sorority events and opportunities to get involved with your sorority.

Luckily, not all of these events are required, but many sororities actively encourage you to attend most, if not all, events to represent your chapter and keep your chapter’s morale alive.

However, when you are working and are in a sorority, you most likely will not be able to attend every sorority event.

Of course, you need to make the required events like sorority recruitment, Sisterhood retreat, big/little reveal, initiation, and chapter meetings a top priority in your schedule since there are usually hefty fines attached for missing those events.

However, date nights, Sisterhood events (unless required), semi-formal or formal, and mixer events can be attended as able if you are struggling to balance everything.

Just be aware that attending only the required sorority events can make it difficult to establish strong relationships with your sorority sisters.

It can also lead to FOMO (fear of missing out) when you see your sorority sisters having fun on Instagram stories or Snapchat while you are working a closing shift.

The easiest way to handle FOMO is to disconnect yourself from social media, and instead, focus on your school work during the time you would be scrolling on your phone.

Also know that you are not a bad sorority sister for not attending all of your sorority events.

You just have different priorities than the sorority sisters who do not need to work or sisters who do not work as many hours as you do. And that’s ok. You have to feed, clothe, and keep a roof over your head somehow.

Give your work enough notice so you can attend sorority events without backlash from your boss

When trying to balance work and being in a sorority, you need to keep your work in the loop, so you stay on good terms with your boss and co-workers.

If you know you have a sorority event coming up you provide your work at least two weeks’ notice in writing that you’ll need to take off work or switch your shifts around that week.

It may also be a good idea to talk to your boss or manager and let them know upfront that you have joined a sorority.

And even better, if you have a list of required events you need to go to and their corresponding dates, give your boss or manager a copy of the list. They will appreciate you being proactive and giving them adequate notice.

Just don’t forget to remind them two weeks before the event that you will need to take that time off of work.

Also, know that not all bosses and managers will be as friendly or warm about you taking off of work to go to a sorority event.

It can be disheartening getting attitude or guilt-tripped by your boss, but if being in a sorority is important to you, then don’t let your boss or managers make you feel guilty for wanting to spend time bonding with your sorority sisters.

Just give your boss/manager adequate notice that you will be taking off work (remember two weeks’ notice and in writing), make sure your shift(s) are covered and go enjoy yourself! You only get the chance to be in a sorority once.

Put money aside for sorority fees and fines

If you need to take off work to go to a sorority event make sure you have enough money to cover your bills to make up for reduced work hours.

I always recommend having an emergency fund or, even better, a checking account specifically for sorority expenses in case:

  • You need to take off work to attend a sorority event
  • You miss a sorority event for work and having to pay the fine for not attending
  • You lose your job, sorority membership dues are coming up, and you still want to be part of the sorority

I recommend having at least $1,000 dollars set aside, but I know this may be challenging for many college students.

If possible, try to at least set aside 10-20% of each paycheck from work in a separate bank account from your everyday checking account, so you can cover yourself if needed.

Don’t compromise your grades to juggle work and be in a sorority

There are some sorority women who prioritize being in a sorority over everything. And that’s when being in a sorority becomes risky.

If there is one piece of advice you take away from this blog post it is this: Don’t compromise your grades in order to “balance” working while being in a sorority.

It’s just not worth it! And you honestly are not balancing anymore. You are instead struggling to balance work and be in a sorority.

Remember, you are in college first and then a sorority. Not the other way around.

If your grades are suffering because you are trying to make it to every sorority event–there’s a huge problem with your ability to prioritize. If you are unable to pay rent because you skip out on work to go to a sorority event that is also just as bad.

Additionally, your sorority can penalize you for having low grades.

Typically, each semester, your sorority’s Academic Chairwoman (or equivalent position) will access all sorority sisters’ grades and identify sisters with a low semester GPA that is set by your sorority chapter’s bylaws.

If you fall below the required semester GPA to be in good standing in the sorority you could be restricted on what or how many sorority events you can attend, may have to have increased study hours, and in the worst case scenario, have your membership terminated.

In order to balance being in a sorority and having a job, you have to make sacrifices. You can’t spend an equal time amount of time towards working, going to college, and participating in your sorority. If you try it is a recipe for disaster.

Instead, try to make it to the sorority events that align with your schedule, work enough hours to pay your bills and maybe have some fun money on the side, and stay consistent in your college studies.

I promise you, you can have a very fulfilling sorority experience without having to attend all of the events.

Try to get an on-campus job instead of an off-campus job

If working while being in a sorority is a priority for you, but you want a job that is more accommodating to your sorority events, try getting an on-campus job instead of an off-campus job.

On-campus jobs are a good choice because:

  • Hours are capped at about 20 hrs/wk *but check with your university’s human resource department for specifics
  • Your work hours will be around your class schedule
  • Your boss will tend to be more understanding if you need to take off of work to study for a test or go to a sorority event because they are used to working with and interacting with college students
  • Tend to be less demanding than working at an off-campus retail store or restaurant
  • Your boss may let you do homework while on the job, especially if it is a slower day

On-campus jobs are not a good choice because:

  • Because hours are capped, your paychecks will be lower versus working a full-time job
  • You may lack separation between work and school since with an on-campus job you tend to never leave campus
  • May be more stressful especially during the first and last week of school
  • If the department you work for experiences a budget cut, your hours or pay may be cut as well

I personally have worked two on-campus jobs (as a tutor for student-athletes and a student assistant for the Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life) during my undergraduate degree and loved the flexibility each gave me to pursue my academics and still be fairly involved with my sorority.

Concluding thoughts on balancing work and being in a sorority

As a busy and ambitious college girl, I know you want to be able to handle it all.

And although it won’t always be easy, you can and are capable of managing work while being in a sorority. All it takes is great time management, pre-planning, and compromise.

By implementing the tips I provided in this blog post about balancing work and being in sorority, you can fit both into your schedule, make ends meet financially, and have a memorable time in your sorority.

Related posts about balancing work and being in a sorority:

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work during college while being in a sorority

Thanks for reading about what’s it like to balance sorority events and work.

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