It’s OK to be Greek, too.
In Annemarie’s recent blog post “Not Greek? Join the club,” she wrote about how, basically, it’s OK not to be Greek. I totally agreed with most of what she said, despite being part of a Greek organization.
My goal of this is not to talk about how perfect Greek life is, because like any organization, it isn’t, but instead to show that there is so much more to Greek life than meets the eye.
Being Greek is not for everyone. I say that from my own personal experience freshman year when I didn’t think it was for me, either. Hear me on this: if you don’t think it’s for you, there would be no purpose in spending time and money on it and pretending to like it. But what I would say is, there are aspects of “being Greek” that I think are unknown to those outside the system, and therefore overlooked when people talk about fraternity and sorority life. It’s these hidden gems of Greek life that are the reasons I joined.
Greek life is not all about making friends or only being friends with people in the Greek system. In addition, as much as the other blog didn’t out rightly say this, we don’t “pay for friends” either. Yes, we pay to be apart of our organization, but I would argue that most organizations have some sort of fees, or you pay to go to events, dinner, expos, retreats, etc. I guess what I’m saying is, Annemarie talked about friends, making friends, and keeping friends, but I want to emphasize that there is way more to it than that. Of course, the social aspect is a large part of it, but I would say my favorite aspects about Greek life would be based less on making friends and more on making connections.
Yes, I have made close friends through my organization, but I am also looking forward to what my organization can mean for me in the future. When you’re in a fraternity or sorority, they will tell you time and time again that your house will be essential for networking one day. They tell you all the people you could potentially meet, be interviewed by, and work with could be some of your sisters, and you being part of this organization could have an impact on your future. Now me saying this, you probably think I joined just to put it on my resume. That’s not true, as I didn’t really think about any of that stuff when I joined, but since I learned about it, I couldn’t be more excited to soon (in four short months) become apart of a massive alumni network and continue to have a support system for the rest of my life.
In addition to networking, the skills, attributes, and values that I think have been gained and grown in by being in Greek life are ones I wouldn’t have found anywhere else. I, too, am involved in other organizations on campus (that’s another myth: once you go Greek you don’t have time for anything else. So not true for everyone!) but the skills I have learned in each of them are all very different from each other. Through Greek life, I have learned how to be a better friend, a better leader, and a better member of an organization, too. I have grown in my values, and have learned new ones from my sisters. I have learned to be more accepting of everyone I encounter and, I think, have learned to be more open to new ideas. You could argue that you can learn these things in a variety of organizations, and I’m not saying that’s not possible, but those are the aspects that I credit wholly to Greek life and my organization.
Finally, let it be known that we don’t all hang out with each other 24 hours a day, seven days a week (shocking, right?). The majority of my closest friends (that I have been friends with before recruitment even happened) are not in my organization, and some aren’t even in Greek life at all. Yes, last year I lived with a member of my organization, but I also lived with someone from another sorority, and the year before that, someone from yet another sorority. This year, my roommate isn’t involved in Greek life at all. We definitely do hang out with people outside not only our organization, but also outside of the Greek system all together. That’s what’s great about being involved in other clubs on campus – you get the chance to meet tons of people, from different walks of life, and who are passionate about different things.
It’s true, Greek life may not be for you. And that’s okay. But it’s also okay to be in an organization, apart of a system that is often misconstrued and misunderstood, and be proud of it.