Take A Breath and Count to 10

Take a breath. Count to 10. Before you exhale and start a sentence, think about what you plan to say.

Your sorority is now connected to a photo going viral online featuring a few women making bad choices. Really bad choices. Or let’s say an email from a woman who happens to be in a sorority goes viral the same way. More bad choices.

Now, read the headlines and blog posts and pick out the labels being applied. This is where you count to 10. This is where and when you decide to take a high road. This is a test of your character and tipping point.

Should you speak up? Start a debate? Offer apologies? Remain silent? Or let all sorority women simply be maligned?

It’s a given that the media will make us a target and slap us with labels and ugly stereotypes. It’s also a given that bad choices generally have consequences. In between those two extremes, there is this to say to young women – what you do, what you say, what you post, what you snap, what you share (or what your friends share) – is subject to crowd scrutiny and crowd mentality.

Often, it’s brutal.

Often, it cannot be retracted or explained.

And it remains online forever.

Most colleges and universities, by the time you read this, will have slowed down for the summer with the majority of their students heading home, to internships or new adventures.

So let’s think about this over the summer as our sorority conventions begin and as students, the ones who make good choices, are rewarded and recognized by their sisters.

Making a mistake has consequences today that didn’t exist before the days of email. Today, the online crowd can be merciless. Remember this in your summer convention moments and celebrations. Talk about the importance of your personal and sorority brand. Remember that young women have miles to go and mentors they need to make the better choices in their lives. Then, act accordingly.

And don’t forget to exhale.