An Insider's Perspective On Greek Life

An Insider's Perspective On Greek Life

What Greek life really has to offer.

In our world today, the media tends to scrutinize Greek life at universities. The problem isn’t Greek life itself, rather the activities that come along with being a member of this community. Whether it’s dangerous hazing, drug use, out-of-control parties, underage drinking or even sexual assault; all of these things are thought to be a huge part of being a member of Greek life.

Why is it that Greek life receives such a negative connotation? Well, when good things happen in this community, they are commended internally, but these benefits are almost never publicized to the world outside of Greek life.

Like many, I am a member of a sorority, but I did not join for a social life or for crazy parties. Being a member of this community is much more than excessive drinking, hazing rituals, and other things that often don’t even happen in our tight-knit world.

Being in a sorority has taught me things I could not have learned elsewhere. Here are three major aspects of Greek life that are important to all members of this community.

Philanthropy

Being a member of the Greek community has strengthened the importance of philanthropy in my life. Although I was always engaged in charity work through high school, after joining Greek life, my commitment level was enhanced. Being in this community, you are always encouraged to partake in activates offered by other chapters or other members of Greek life.

This is how I found myself becoming a member of Go Blue Wear Pink: a campus organization that raises funds for breast cancer. Without Greek life, I wouldn’t have found this charity that is so prominent in my life.

Social skills

When going through recruitment, you talk to many people about various topics. Although to the outside eye, this may look like a materialistic process, the conversations I had during rush are ones that enhanced my ability to interact with others. Through rush, I was able to connect with girls about things we shared in common and learn new and interesting things about our culture and my school.

If I wasn’t in a sorority, I would have never been able to learn how to have productive conversations with people who started as complete strangers and end up with some significance to my life.

Friendship

The cliché part that comes with joining a sorority is “making friends that will last a lifetime.” When joining a sorority, I knew this was the expectation behind “sisterhood” but never really imagined the extent to which it would happen to me.

On bid day last year, I met girls who I shared many things in common with. Now, over a year later, I am confident that these girls will be my future bridesmaids, best friends and forever my sisters. Living in the house only increases these feelings.

Being surrounded by 74 girls who care about you and your general well-being is one of the most comforting feelings in the world. I know that because of my sorority, I have a support system that will be there for me at my highest of highs, and lowest of lows. Without my Greek affiliation, I would’ve never been able to meet the people I consider to be my family.


When considering if you should join Greek life, exclude what you’ve heard on the news or from your parents or from anyone who has not been a part of this community. Being a part of this has opened my eyes to new experiences, friends, and memories that I wouldn’t have found elsewhere.

Greek life is more than hazing stories in the news or intoxicated teenagers; it has molded me into the person I am today, and I am forever grateful for my experience in this community.

Cover Image Credit: Halle Blum

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Why I've Stayed A Part Of Greek Life

My sorority has always been incredibly important to me, but that doesn't mean it's always been easy to stay.

As I'm writing this article, it's recruitment season for sororities here at Penn State. During this whole process, I've been reflecting on my time thus far in Greek Life. I can confidently say that this week has made me a tiny bit - okay, more than a tiny bit - nostalgic.

I wouldn't trade my sorority for the world, but I will start by saying that I was that girl who signed up for recruitment at the very last minute.

Neither of my parents were part of Greek Life during their time at Penn State, and I have no older siblings. So, I didn't have many people to turn to for advice. To rush or not to rush? I contemplated it for so long.

For me, the hardest part about coming to college was leaving my best friends. I'd also have to make new friends - I hadn't done this since middle school so you can imagine my anxiety level. Wondering how I would do this, I took a leap of faith, and decided to rush.

Like I mentioned, I rushed because I wanted to find those go-to people: girls who would be there for me when I got homesick, girls who would give me boy advice, girls who would help me study for big exams, and girls who would answer the phone at 2 a.m. when I needed someone. Spoiler alert: I found all of that.

But I found more than wonderful friendships when I joined a sisterhood. I was also given unbelievable leadership opportunities, many service opportunities, and developed a better sense of self.

I'm cringing at how cheesy that all sounds, but it's true. I've always been a little bit more of an introvert - and a little bit more of a follower, rather than a leader - but my sorority taught me how to step out of my comfort zone. This year, I represented the sophomore pledge class on the Nominations Committee for our new Executive Board, which allowed me to sit in on all interviews and help out with the election process. I also got the position of assistant Vice President of New Member Education, which will allow me to help guide and educate the new pledge class.

In terms of service opportunities, I complete a certain number of service hours here at school each semester. In addition to that, I got the chance to go on a week-long service trip to New Orleans this past summer to help the community affected by Hurricane Katrina.

I know I'm only 20 years old, but I've learned more about myself this past year than ever before. I've learned what it means to put others before myself most of the time, but not all of the time. I've learned how to better manage my time, due to all the events, service opportunities, and meetings I have to attend. I've learned so much from Greek Life, and I'm so thankful that I get to carry all of it into life outside of my sorority.

It's not easy to remember to pay monthly dues, or come up with the money in the first place. It's not easy to ignore the stigma that typically accompanies Greek Life. It's not easy to attain service hours, or make it to certain meetings after a long day of classes. But I've stayed because my sorority has truly given me so much; the least I can do is keep my promise and remain a loyal sister.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.instagram.com/sammimilillo

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9 Things Every Girl Should Know Before Joining A Sorority

Debunking ignorant myths about greek life.

Growing up in Texas caused me to have a negative view of sorority girls since birth. I thought only tall, tan, and pretty blonde girls that love parties and frat boys joined sororities. Legally Blonde did me so wrong. In reality, it is far from greek life in movies. It wasn't until I actually joined a sorority that I learned what they are really about. Being a part of a sorority is nothing like you see in the movies, and I'm here to prove it to you. Here are some common misconceptions about sororities, debunked.

1. You're just paying to have friends

This is the most common, most annoying phrase I had to deal with while rushing. Yes, paying to be in a sorority means you suddenly have hundreds of other girls around you that value similar things, making you more likely to become friends with them.

However, our national dues pay for the upkeep of the house, the support of the national sorority, the cost of events, and our philanthropies. You could use this same kind of thought process to argue that people only pay to go to college to make friends. Paying to put yourself into situations where you're likely to meet people does not mean you're buying their friendship.

2. All sorority girls do is party

This statement really couldn't be more wrong. Sure, some sorority girls party a lot, but most don't. I'm pretty sure the non-greek girls living in the room next to me, blasting old Justin Bieber songs at 11:00 p.m. on a Monday night, party way more than I do.

3. We only support our philanthropies because we have to

I'm confident in speaking for all of the sororities on my campus when I say that we all genuinely care about our and other chapter's philanthropies. My chapter's devotion and emotional connection to our philanthropy was actually the deciding factor for me on our last night of rush. It's still amazing for me to see how passionate all of my sorority sisters are about our causes.

4. We only date fraternity men

I have a little spoiler for all of you: in my experience, frat men don't date. I'm not trying to hate on all you brothers out there because I'm sure some of you are decent human beings, but frat guys fear commitment.

5. You won't have any non-greek friends

This one is only true if you make it true. If you tend to only hang out with your greek community, then it's a no-brainer that you will only have greek friends. Personally, I have several friends that aren't greek; it just depends on whether or not you put yourself out there.

6. Sorority girls are superficial and girly

Disclaimer: I adore Legally Blonde, and aspire to be Elle Woods. That being said, Legally Blonde gave all of us sorority girls a bad reputation. Some girls are going to be superficial. It happens, but I've never made friends with a girl in my sorority by ogling over tanning, bikinis, and the latest hair trends. The girls in my sorority are some of the most genuine human beings I've ever met. They inspire me to be a better sister, student, and even a better person. There's nothing superficial about that.

7. Sorority girls judge non-sorority girls

Let me keep this one simple: no one cares. Most people drop their egos when they get to college. They realize that everyone is here for the same reason: to get a degree. We all just go about it differently.

8. If you join a sorority you will be hazed

I actually had the opposite experience while rushing. This used to be true, but times are changing. People have realized that hazing is backward and pointless -- so most campuses just stopped doing it.

9. We're only in college to meet our trophy husbands

This is the most anti-feminist bs I've ever heard in my life. Sororities actually have GPA requirements to stay in the chapter. The average GPA of a sorority woman is generally higher than that of a non-greek woman.

We also have various programmes to help members that aren't in good academic standing. My sorority likes to constantly remind us that we are students first and sorority always comes second. Sorority girls don't have time for anything else.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram | @sorority_girls

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