How I managed my friendships outside of Greek life.

Joining Greek Life Doesn’t Mean Losing Your Other Friends

Help! How do I balance everything after rushing?

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I know everyone says it, but Greek life isn't for everyone and everyone who decides to rush does so for different reasons. Yes I know it's cliche, but "the secrets to life are hidden behind the word cliche" -Shay Butler.

Personally, there were a lot of different reasons why I decided to rush, but mainly I knew I would regret it if I never tried.

I chose to go a little out of my comfort zone rather than wonder what-if and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made that semester.

However, I'm very thankful that Syracuse makes freshmen wait until the spring semester before joining Greek life.

The first semester of college is scary and intense wherever you go and unfortunately, there's only so much advice and planning you can do to prepare. With that in mind, it's still possible to have a good first-semester experience.

The first month of college you're going to meet A LOT of people, some of whom you may grow apart from pretty fast and others who will be there for the long run.

I'll admit it was hard putting myself out there and trying to make new connections in the beginning, but fortunately, some of the awkward first-days encounters turned into some of my closest friends.

Whether it was floor meetings, going to some of the beginning of the year activities, sitting next to someone in class, or if it wasn't until later on, I'm thankful for all the friends I made during my first semester.

One of my biggest worries after pledging was trying to manage everything. Although I don't regret my decision for a minute, trying to manage the new member process was stressful in the beginning. I was trying to meet all my new sisters while still keeping up with my classes and making sure I kept the relationships I made with people outside of my house.

I was worried about what my friends who didn't rush would think of me.

Obviously, it wasn't that they would hate me, but was more along the lines of not wanting to insult them. I didn't want my friends to think I rushed because I didn't value our friendship (since that was so far from the truth) but the thought crossed my mind.

I guess I was so worried because everyone knows someone, whether intentional or not, who forgets about their other friends once they join Greek life. For me, it was challenging because I had to find a way to balance meeting and bonding with all of these new people while also having time to hang out with the other people I care about.

There were times when I felt I wasn't doing such a great job.

As a somewhat shy person, it was hard at the beginning of my new member experience, especially since my school work left me feeling like I wasn't giving my full attention to either group of friends. Looking back at it, of course even though we were in the same house we'd just met and friendships take time and really I had nothing to worry about.

As for my friends outside of my house, most of the "problems" were really just in my head.

While my schedule did become a lot more busy for a couple weeks I still got to see them. Luckily, most of my friends lived in the same dorm as me, which really helped us stay close, especially since most of us "lived" in our lounge on the weeknights.

Yes, there were times when I was stressed or worried, but it's possible to balance everything.

Sophomore year I'm living with three friends I met during the fall semester who aren't in my sorority and I couldn't be happier.

While it's easy for your life to be turned upside-down in the best way possible when you join Greek life, it's also possible to hold on to your first-semester life. Although some of my friends did eventually became my sisters and I made a ton of more friends since joining greek life, I wouldn't change my first-year experience at all.

Cover Image Credit:

Allie Slagter

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Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

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I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

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Yes I'm A Sorority Girl, But Here's What I'm Not

I didn't "buy my friends"

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I think there's such a negative stigma around Greek life in this world. Movies and TV have made it out to be crazy, continuous partying and full of hateful people all based on looks. I love being a part of Greek life for so many reasons. Here are some misconceptions about Greek life debunked.

1. I Didn't "Buy My Friends"

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My sisters are my friends because we all share common values, likes, and dislikes. We spend every day together, live together in the house, share group chats, and have similar majors so we are always together. No amount of money could've made the bond my sisters and I have and I wish people would realize the true bond between sisters because it's magical.

2. We Really Care About Our GPA's and Grades

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There's a certain GPA every Greek house requires you to meet in order to stay an active member. Plus, we always encourage study dates with other people in the house and some houses even throw study events to raise money for charities. Also, some of the top scholars known were in Greek life soooooo...

3. Philanthropyyyyyy!!

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Many people think we don't do anything but socialize when really our whole existence is based on philanthropies! We spend every semester raising awareness and money for the foundations we love and we have all ended up being some of the primary monetary donors for those causes!

4. We Don't Judge Based Off Looks

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It's what's on the inside that truly counts. We all have found our houses by our personalities and values, not by our looks. A house will want you if you share the same value as them and that's how you'll find your people.

5. We Also Don't Judge By The Brands You Wear

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It's true that many of the girls you may see in one house might all have something similar by a certain brand altogether, but that's just what being sisters is like. it's not like you have to buy certain expensive brands or dress a certain way to "fit in." Greek life is all about being yourself!

6. I'm Not Living Off "Daddy's Money"

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Most of us are on academic scholarships and have to maintain grades and a good image to keep going to our college. Not all of us were born rich, you know?

7. Partying. Nonstop Partying.

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It's true with any college student that it's fun to go out every now and then, but it isn't what Greek life consists of. Greek life is supposed to be finding your forever people, your second family, and your home away from home. These are the people you will rely on on your best days and worst, you don't have to party for that to happen. Plus, believe it or not, there are certainly Greeks who don't party or choose to stay away from that lifestyle.

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