what I learned from my sorority days!

Spoiler Alert – I am jamming to Rusted Root while writing this post…….

This weekend, I saw Rusted Root play live at a local fundraiser.  What a blast from the past this was for me!  Rusted Root is a Pittsburgh-Bred Band that broke out in the 90’s.  The band was hugely popular in State College, PA – home to Penn State – where I went to college.  I have SO MANY memories of seeing Rusted Root live and just hanging out and listening to them during those years.  Seeing Rusted Root this weekend really made me feel nostalgic for those Penn State days and my sorority sisters……

Spoiler Alert #2 –

I am going to write about what I learned from my sorority sisters……

When I finally turned my computer on for the first time this weekend to write on Sunday afternoon (yes – you heard me right – Sunday afternoon!), I flooded with memories of my Penn State years.  I suddenly realized that most of what I know in life & who I am today, I learned at Penn State.  Not directly from attending classes (which I did with regularity), but from my sorority sisters.  For real!!

It does not matter if you were a member of Greek Life or another student group/organization, but I am sure that you can remember the MEETINGS that played a part of these groups.  Do you?  Those long and lengthy meetings in which you discussed t-shirts for Homecoming ad-nauseam; who was running study halls; or who was a good partner to match up with for a charity project?  I think the great t-shirt debate – long-sleeved vs short-sleeved, navy blue or forest green, small logo on the front or not – is quite possibly where I developed my love for detail.  I remember debating late in the evening on this t-shirt issue many a time.  Last week, I found myself totally caught up in small details of my business that were irrelevant to long-term scheme of things.  Now, I know where I adopted this love of irrelevant small details.

Most important about those sorority days, were the bonds that we created.  These tight bonds formed over the years of living in close quarters and surviving the ups and downs of early adulthood (if you can even call it that) together.  As young women away from our families, we learned to listen to one another, help when needed, and survive in a group situation.  Sound a little bit like a big work project that you have to work on with multiple personalities?  You got it!  I am obsessed with detail due to those days, but I also can maneuver group dynamics, listen well, and credit my managing of my entrepreneurial team to those years.

It has been a LONG time (I am not going to tell you exactly how long), but there is a greater sense of connection among us gals.  Lately, I have been talking a lot about mentoring with some fellow women entrepreneurs, and it occurs to me that my sorority gals have been some of my first turning points.  If not for mentorship, these gals read the blog, answer surveys, and in general – SUPPORT me.  Facebook has not only connected us so we can see everyone’s awesome photos and lend support when there is an emotional need, but also we can keep up with the big picture.  Today – I am so excited to be able to MENTOR a sorority sister of mine who is a SAHM turning mompreneur.  I am able to share my adventure with her and act as a sounding board for  her ideas!  How AMAZING!

I definitely felt a little older listening to Rusted Root this past weekend, but I was able to take a fabulous walk down memory lane.  Better for my sorority sisters that I write this blog because as many of them know, I also love to scan in old photos!

Lately, I have been into extracting mompreneur lessons from real life experiences, so here it is  —  Most of being a mompreneur, I learned from my sorority sisters.

  1. I learned to pay great attention to small details. Sometimes Helpful, Sometimes Not.
  2. I can tolerate spending long periods of time with a lot of different personalities.  Awesome quality for working on big projects with many people.
  3. There is a lifetime network available to me and all the other gals which is downright FABULOUS.

As entrepreneurs, mompreneurs, or solopreneurs ~ We can find valuable lessons in many stages of life!  Thanks for reminiscing and having a bit of fun today….stay tuned here for my upcoming video on essentials of being a mompreneur. RB

{ 31 comments… add one }

  • Merlyn Sanchez March 7, 2011, 11:26 AM

    Great lessons Rachel! It’s so true that we learn much from “having” to collaborate (and exposure to so many personalities)when we are members of groups such as sororities. No amount of team-building in corporate America can replicate those experiences!

    Have a great day!

  • Geraldine March 7, 2011, 11:57 AM

    Rachel! Like You, I learned a lot from my sorority days! Its actually been approx 5 years for me since I joined but here is what I learned to piggy back off your list.

    1. Team work is necessary.
    2. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
    3. Resilience is the key.
    4. Keep your eye on the prize.
    5. No excuses! Period. Point Blank.
    6. You are either in Full Force or Out.
    7. Team work generates fantastic results
    8. You help me; I help you (Vice Versa!)

    I think the above lesson will generate phenomenal results in those aspiring to be entrepreneurs. Thank you for this post and allowing me to reflect. Now I just got a new fire inside of me!

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 8, 2011, 6:42 AM

      Geraldine — I adore that you mentioned “don’t judge a book by its cover”…YES! This is crucial to life. Glad that your fire kicked up! Keep it going — RB

  • Laurie Hurley March 7, 2011, 12:11 PM

    Hi Rachel – I was never in a sorority so I didn’t have that “sisterhood” experience that you had that was obviously so beneficial and continues to be for you. Talk about a built-in support system! Fantastic for you that your close friendships and sorority days have come in handy and laid the foundation for you launching “it” with all the right systems and details in place! I think my results-oriented, detailed nature comes from being an over-achiever in the workplace immediately upon graduation from college. Young and sassy I was up against crusty “old” men who were set in their ways. They weren’t ready for a trailblazer like me! Funny how our experiences were different but the results very much the same!

  • Nicole March 7, 2011, 12:14 PM

    While I wasn’t involved in Greek life during school (really wasn’t a big deal on my campus) I DID get involved in other groups. The same lessons learned applied from them. Thanks for reminding me where I first learned many useful skills.

  • Haralee March 7, 2011, 2:41 PM

    The Greek system was not big when I was in College at my school, but the lessons learned as a young adult living on your own impacts live forever.
    Good for you to call on those lessons for your new business life!

  • Jen Sako March 7, 2011, 3:20 PM

    Very cute post! Lots of life lessons learned there. Glad you had great sisters to gather around you and lift you up! BTW, I’m moving to Pittsburgh in 2 weeks! Yippee!!

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 8, 2011, 6:41 AM

      Jen – thanks! Let’s grab coffee when you are here and settled!! RB

  • kristin konvolinka March 7, 2011, 4:28 PM

    My lessons in long, sometimes off track meetings, support (maybe a little competition) and dealing with lots of personalities started really young. I was a 4-Her from the age of 9-19. I agree, what I learned from being a part of a group larger than myself was priceless and still pops into my life years later. Thanks for the great post!

  • Judy Stone-Goldman March 7, 2011, 8:25 PM

    I just love how experiences evoke memories, and then from those memories flow life lessons. I was not part of the Greek system, but I had my share of college experiences that stick with me to this day. I relate to the bonds that were built then and then sustained over time. Really enjoyed your flow of memory and the pleasure it brought you, as well as your lessons learned.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer

  • Susan Berland March 7, 2011, 8:37 PM

    I never went to college so was never a part of a sorority. Reading this post made me a little jealous but I found life’s lessons in other ways that serve me still. It’s just a matter of keeping your eyes (and heart) open to them!

    Susan Berland
    A Picture’s Worth

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 8, 2011, 6:40 AM

      Absolutely Susan! We can derive lessons from so many places — just need to keep our eyes open! RB

  • Rita Brennan Freay March 7, 2011, 11:44 PM

    I can totally relate to your post! It made me laugh as it brought back many memories of college. I was in a group – College H and also Alpha Phi Omega so I experienced these things many times! Lots of people and life lessons:) The meetings, the details, what color shirts, the carnival, the social projects, and the list goes on and on….all while taking a full load of classes! So, unknowingly, it did prepare me for the real world and my jobs…isn’t that great:) Who knew? And, best of all, as you mentioned, I made lifelong friends in these groups, many of who came to my wedding, and I am still in contact with all these years later. Supporters. We all need them!

    Rita Brennan Freay

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 8, 2011, 6:39 AM

      Rita — so glad that you mentioned your load of classes. I neglected to mention that in between all the meetings and fun — yes, we all found the time to get all our coursework finished! HAHA! RB

  • Lisa Ann Landry March 8, 2011, 3:45 AM

    I attend an all women’s college and although I did not get involved in sorority life I learned a lot about myself which enabled me to be successful in my career and in my business.

    Lisa Ann Landry
    I’m an exuberant force of light… Come light up your life

  • Janice Schwarz March 8, 2011, 9:50 AM

    It never occurred to me that a sorority or fraternity would teach people to get along with a variety of personalties. Awesome. While I never was a member of one, I too have found the ability to work with a wide range of personalities to be a valuable tool in life. Not everyone thinks like ourselves, and that can be so very useful in so many ways. It can solve more problems that one would think it could make.

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 8, 2011, 9:20 PM

      Janice – It is so great to get opinions of others – to avoid tunnel vision! BTW – I love your weekly posts…RB

  • ceniccola March 8, 2011, 11:38 AM

    Love this post, Rachel! And not surprised to see that you are a fellow-Penn Stater and Pittsburgher!

    I too was in a sorority at PSU and could related to what you have said, along with the comments of others. My biggest take-away: we don’t have to do this alone! Whether it’s college, motherhood, business – we have a team of support out there just waiting to help. There’s this unspoken ‘competition’ among some women in the workforce and I think that’s a shame. In reality, we’re all just one big sorority and we are here to support one another!

    Thanks for the insight!


    P.S. WE ARE…

    • Rachel Blaufeld March 8, 2011, 9:18 PM

      Wonderful thoughts Theresa! It is so great to not feel alone! AND, I always love hearing “WE ARE” Rachel

  • Robbie Schlosser March 8, 2011, 5:06 PM

    Hi Rachel,
    NICE story, and all the interesting comments you’re receiving! One way or another, EVERYONE has experiences they learn important lessons from, and you describe how life in your sorority was a potent source of these “teachable” moments, especially about dealing effectively in a group. Interesting how many of us learn basically the same basic life lessons from such a diversity of experiences. Wherever we are, whatever we do, the key is to learn worthwhile habits and information from all our experiences.

  • Brandy Mychals March 8, 2011, 9:16 PM

    Super-cool, Rachel 🙂 I lived in a sorority also and had so much fun…there was always someone to talk to and the house was just gorgeous (historical landmark, 5 floors, river, ducks…) It was the best. Plus it was a fun group with diverse personalities, never boring! Sounds like you had a fun trip down memory lane… 🙂
    Brandy Mychals
    Communications Coach
    Effectively Communicate with Confidence

  • Pat Zahn March 8, 2011, 9:59 PM

    Rachel – I went to a technical school, so no sorority. However, we were all transplants so we bonded and supported each other in our endeavors. Almost 30 years later (yes, I will say how long) my husband (whom I met there) and I are still friends with some of our classmates. The things I learned about life, work and play with this group are priceless. Thanks for prompting a trip down memory lane.

  • Bill Browning March 9, 2011, 10:54 AM

    My biggest lesson that you pointed out was learning to live with so many different personalities. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Louise Edington March 9, 2011, 9:48 PM

    We don’t even have sororities in the UK and I went back to school at 30 anyway having traveled and done a few other things in my twenties. I too am slightly jealous that you have that lifelong bond as I don’t really have that having moved so much and having done things differently. HOWEVER, I do feel I am finding my own sorority of sorts through blogging and social media coaching. I am developing strong bonds now with some wonderful women – never too late eh? Oh and I feel I learned a lot along the way in different ways that help me as a mompreneur!
    Louise Edington
    Finding YOUR Freedom

  • Manhattan Beach Momma March 10, 2011, 11:41 AM

    I can totally relate, Rachel. When working in tv, I had to work with all kinds of personalities – some sane, most not so sane. You are right, it really is a great skill to be able to work with all types of people.

  • lisawifemom March 10, 2011, 2:21 PM

    Bummer, I thought I had commented when you first posted, but only see my “like” here. Anyway, I have no idea who Rusted Root is, but excited for you! 🙂

    I never did the sorority thing, but totally get the support system part of it, I’m from a family of women. I grew up super close to my mom, sister, 4 aunts, & 2 cousins; we were all together a lot.

    My best friend from back in those days was part of a sorority and although she doesn’t keep in touch with any of them now, I often see her using the skills she learned back then.

    Good for you for recognizing it.

    Lisa Vitale

  • Donna McCord March 10, 2011, 6:00 PM

    I was not in a sorority, but just living in a dorm and learning how to get along with your roommate and others living on your floor was a great lesson on many different levels! That is so wonderful that you have such warm and positive memories to enjoy and that you are able to connect with some of those same friends and even be a mentor!

  • Fiona Stolze March 10, 2011, 7:07 PM

    I went to university but because I lived at home at the time, I was never really part of a sorority. Given that time again I would definitely move in as a student.

    I love the valuable insights you gained and the skills you learned. We learn for life , don’t we and it’s always amazing how the skills come in useful in the most unexpected ways.

    Great post.

    Fiona Stolze
    Inspired ARt and Living

  • Carrie Hansen March 10, 2011, 9:40 PM

    Isn’t it interesting how many early life experiences like that shape our life way into our adult years and beyond. What a fun post, Rachel! Thanks for sharing your stories with us.

    Carrie Hansen
    Studio C Interior Design

  • Yvonne Hall March 11, 2011, 1:54 AM

    I was not in a sorority … but was on the volleyball team at my college. I always felt like it was our on little sorority. Did not have the formals or the charity projects though. And we learned more of how to come together in diversity and listen to the tyrants of a bitchy coach while doing wind sprints. But it too had merits for mompreneurships!;)
    Thanks for takin’ me back a “few” years!
    Yvonne Hall

  • Darcie Newton March 11, 2011, 1:50 PM

    Loved the glimpse into your college years and the lessons you garnered. I love that you thought so much about the lessons you learned and how they apply to your current adventures. You’ve got me thinking about what I learned from my college days…the first thing that comes to mind is independence. I’ll have to put some more time into thinking about it…thanks for the inspiration.

    Darcie Newton
    Discipline for profit, none for jammy zins and memorable necklaces


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