The sheer mention of college fraternity and sorority (a.k.a. "Greek") life automatically triggers images of out-of-control Animal House nights in my mind and in the minds of many other Americans. At some point Greeks got stamped with the reputation of being preppy college students living a lifestyle full of power-hour drinking games on Monday nights and sex with no strings attached on the weekends. However true or false this is, for most non-Greeks and non-college students this is the life of a Greek-affiliated student.
As a late Greek bloomer, I didn’t join a sorority until second semester of my freshman year. Therefore, I’ve seen both sides of college life: as a lowly independent, and the high life as a resident of "Greek Row" on campus. How I ended up Greek was not by desire but more out of a weak moment of wanting to uncover the world of sororities.
Not being Greek is like being born in a country outside the US and never traveling outside of its boundaries. By some standards, leaving your home and coming here could be better, and provide you with more opportunities. However, if your home was all you ever knew, why would you necessarily want to move? It isn’t until you start to watch American television shows, see the Western ways, or are perhaps socially suppressed in some way by your own country, that the benefits of America become apparent. America may, ultimately, be no better for you, but it’s the stark differences that make a person curious to find out.
That’s just like Greek life. With bright, Greek lettering adorning t-shirts, and Nike shorts with Sperry Topsiders parading around campus, it’s hard to ignore the Greek students. Once you notice the presence of Greeks it can begin to feel like you’re the only one left out of this mysterious world. Joining a Greek chapter can be the best or worst thing that’s ever happened to you. It’s all a matter of whether you’re willing to try it or not.
As a freshman I was convinced that I was perfectly fine on my opposite continent, also known as the non-Greek community. However, living in a dorm where sorority and fraternity shirts, parties, and social cliques were more than evident, curiosity converted me. I was sucked in, just like that. A second year live-in in my sorority house currently, I’ve seen all the pros and cons of Greek life. For me, the pros continue to outnumber the cons.
The automatic social network is reason enough to join a Greek chapter. No matter what your major, there’s usually another member who has the same one. This usually means that they have some sort of different connection into the industry besides the ones that you might have.
I’ve directly benefited from this instant network when I received a writing internship on campus through a girl in my sorority house. It has essentially launched my love for writing and bulked up my resume considerably. It’s connections like these that make joining a sorority worth all the petty fights, drunken outbursts, and occasional backstabbing.
When it comes to the social lifestyle, depending on the person, weekends really can be an episode of the clichéd Greek life. However, I also know many people who make a moral choice not to take part in the parties. Greek life does bring along with it a lifestyle, but the choice to partake in it is completely up to the individual.
A believer in working hard and playing hard, I’ve taken advantage of the academic bonuses as well as the social bonuses of being Greek. I try not to drink too much of the punch, but fraternity parties always make good stories the next day so I find it hard to say no.
Nevertheless, when it comes down to the bottom line, I’ve found that many Greek affiliated students are some of the most dedicated, involved young adults, who have the same mentality as I do. They work hard to make good grades with the help of their brothers or sisters and then celebrate with the help of their brothers or sisters afterwards. The lifestyle might be crazy and exhausting, but I see it as a once in a lifetime chapter of our lives that isn’t worth missing out on.