By Rissa “Iris” San Miguel, Staff Writer

Summer season is in full gear, and many sisters have headed back home to take a break from the rigors of academia — some have graduated (belated congratulations!), ready to take the next step — but with the onset of real life pressures in the “grown-up” and professional world, more often than not, we begin to lose touch with those we used to spend every free minute with.

As sisters, we encounter the same dilemma with our own set of friends, and it’s more or less the same in regards to the sorority. Having a full-time job, a husband and a myriad of other responsibilities, I’ve noticed there’s a paradigm shift in priorities, and simply less time in the day to spare.  Crystal “Alize” Phommasathit, a fellow sister since 2004 and a graduate from the University of Cincinnati, has also observed these altered circumstances and its effects on her participation in the sorority. “I love spending time with my sisters, but living in a different city makes it harder for me to stay in touch, and the stress from trying to establish my career leaves me too burnt out to do anything else.”

Granted, the sorority recedes into the background during the summer and after college, but in my opinion, the friendships I’ve made since joining are not ones I’m willing to let fade away.  I’m guilty of postponing dinner dates with my little one too many times because of conflicting schedules, or staying home instead of supporting some chapter event just because I’m tired; there’s nothing wrong with that. But I know how much just showing up means to the girls in my chapter, and so when I can, I make the effort. I was in their place once too! The point is, just because we “grew up” doesn’t mean we grew out of it — maybe some of the extracurricular activities, certainly, but the meaning of sisterhood should still hold true.

So what’s the benefit of keeping in touch at all? A national, even international network of women who share the same ideas, possible job hookups and reliable references, and at the very least a free place to crash for the night? Those are all tangible. But there’s the simple truth that being a part of something, whether it’s family or sorority, gives us a sense of belonging; a home away from home. Maslow’s Pyramid ring a bell, anyone? Without getting pedagogical on it, having a group of girls who care about us and know us from our past keeps us grounded in the present. As alums, we can give a lot of valuable feedback based on our experiences, and we show that just because we’ve graduated doesn’t mean we left the girls behind us. On the other hand, being “old school” sisters, we tend to feel out of the loop, so it’s important for active sisters to reach out as well. Keeping in touch is as simple as sending a text to say hi, sending out a mass email about you or your chapter’s big happenings or keeping up to date with and reading the sorority newsletter (shameless plug).  It’s not hard, just do what it is you’re doing with your current circle of friends and family, and simply push that circle out a little further.