I am in a sorority. I was also someone who said I would never have joined one in the first place. Why? Because I thought that Greek life was shallow, air-head men and women who partied and hazed. That's what everyone sees and hears about on TV and social media, after all. Thing is, I was wrong. The media only ever raises awareness about the negatives, but you don't realize how rare the negatives actually happen, especially at Lawrence Tech.
I'm here to bust a few myths about Greek life through my experiences. 10 Greek organizations, 10 myths.
Myth 1. Your entire life is consumed by your Greek organization.
You have a life outside of Greek life if you choose to. Some people love being all about their organization and that's cool too, but if that's what's keeping you from joining Greek life, let me help. I have a job, 17 credits, I am on the executive board of two organizations including my sorority and am an active member of society. I'm alive and well and honestly, I am able to do these things with the encouragement of my sorority. They hold me up when I'm overwhelmed, and I could not be more grateful. There are many members of Greek life that are more involved than me with more than one job, more credits, more organizations, and yet they find a way to fulfill all of their responsibilities. Don't panic, Greek life isn't going to take over your life.
Myth 2. You're buying your friends.
Let me break down what dues pay for. If you're national/international, you get insurance to protect your members in case of bodily injury or property damage that takes place during a chapter affiliated event as well as assistance in lawsuits filed against your chapter. Dues pay for formal, social events, sisterhood/brotherhood, retreats, recruitment, fundraising supplies, philanthropy events, leadership or professional opportunities (should the organization do so), sometimes transportation, and parent/alumni events to show what your organization has accomplished. You personally benefit from the money you pay and no one in the organization gets that money in their pocket. So no, members are not paid to be friends. It's a pool of funds for everyone's advantage and enjoyment and well-being.
Myth 3. Your grades and health will suffer.
You will be surprised to know how supportive a Greek organization is. Most organizations have a minimum grade point average just to join and some even set, record, and monitor goals for each member based on what they want to accomplish, health-wise and academically. You basically have a support system and cheer-leading squad behind you every day. Get a good grade? Everyone is happy for you. Lose weight or get stronger? Everyone is telling you how good you look. It's an amazing feeling to have people encouraging you and having your best interest in mind.
Myth 4. You will be hazed.
Listen up. Hazing is illegal. There are cases of hazing, but more organizations have joined the anti-hazing campaign than not. Many organizations have contracts to send to their national boards saying they don't haze and they will prevent hazing. If there is a suspicion of hazing, the board will investigate you and shut down your chapter. I can speak for my organization that we DO NOT haze and are strongly against any organization that does.
Our campus has an anti-hazing seminar that all Greeks have to attend or they will not be seen as an active member by the school. You are safer than you realize being in a Greek organization and you will always have people protecting you. If you witness or are a part of hazing, it is your duty to report it. Do not hide it or suffer through it because you want people to like you, it's not worth it.
Myth 5. It's 100% social.
I hate this one. Greek life is so much more than mixers and sisterhood/brotherhood. I have grown so much by being a member of the Greek community. You learn professional skills, leadership, how to run a business meeting, and Robert's Rules of Order. Depending on what position you hold, you learn how to work with money and properly budget a chair and/or event. You learn how communicate with other organizations and with your national board in a professional way and how to manage stressful situations with grace. I strongly encourage Greek life if you want to build yourself as a person.
Myth 6. Other organizations hate Greeks.
The Greek community at Lawrence Tech are large supporters of other clubs and organizations, and those groups return the favor. We make it a point to attend athletic events, Out at LTU with Friends events, international student organizations, Society of Dramatic Arts (SODA), and other Greek organization's events like a volleyball tournament for Leukemia Lymphoma Society, just to name a few. Most of Greek life is involved in at least one other organization or sports team and it's an amazing environment to be a part of.
Myth 7. You have to drink and/or smoke.
This is short and sweet. Nobody can make you do anything you don't want to do. I know plenty of people who don't drink or smoke and nobody forces them to do so. Stand your ground and people will respect you and your decisions. It's a plus if you can be the life of the party without being under the influence.
Myth 8. People will always look down on you for being Greek.
It's true that some people who don't know the inner works of Greek life judge you pretty hard for being a part of it. However, that's what our voice is for. Speak out, share what each organization is all about and the differences they make in the community. Remove the stigma surrounding going Greek. You'll also be happy to see the large alumni network connections Greek organizations have in the working industry. If a job AND a great group of people during your college days and long after isn't a wonderful reason to join, I don't know what is.
Myth 9. Greeks don't talk to you if you decide not to join.
Not joining a Greek organization, or joining a different one, will not make people stop being your friend. As much as people want you to join, you're still going to be their friend; after all, they wanted you for a reason. Don't be afraid to take a chance on finding your perfect fit because of the people around you. Do it for you and the real friends will stay.
Myth 10. Rushing an organization isn't worth it.
Rush, rush, rush! It's always worth it to rush! Free food and events, people constantly asking what you love to do, and finding common interests with people you may have never met otherwise. You might just find a group of people you want to spend a ton of time with even if they have just started the rush process themselves!