If you asked me a year ago, I would never see myself defending Greek life in any form. As I can’t see my life without it now, it took me until this time last year to fully commit to participating in formal recruitment in the upcoming fall. Especially in the South, it seems like girls are pretty much born into it as they grow up planning what they will wear when they finally get to go in the house that their mom and grandma were in once before.
Growing up in the Midwest, being in a sorority is not something you consider until you are a freshman in college and even then you might not. I have always been into “girly” things and cheered my entire life but not for any particular reason, I just never saw myself joining a sorority despite people telling me my whole life that a sorority is “just so me.”
This past school year has been extremely rough for Greek life. If you look on any social media or news site, it seems to consistently be overwhelmed with the newest Greek scandal making headlines. By no means am I saying these incidents don’t deserve the hate they got, especially coming from a girl who goes to Alabama where many of the problems originated, but Greek life as a whole isn’t as terrifying and dangerous as the movies and news articles make them appear to be.
The biggest problem society has when speaking of Greek life is the stereotyping of the type of people that join. In just my chapter alone, there are 500 girls coming from a vast sort of backgrounds, ethnicities, countries, and interests. By focusing on a small group of people who ruin the Greek community as a whole just does not accurately represent the people I’ve encountered since attending college.
I cannot speak for everyone’s experiences as I am only telling what I’ve witnessed, but my chapter along with many others at my school is filled with some of the most hardworking, intelligent leaders that this entire university has to offer. From Student Government positions to landing amazing internships to helping those in need overseas, these are the type of girls that walk through the doors during recruitment in the Fall. While there are a select few that slip through the cracks of the hundreds of girls that are not in a chapter’s best interest, the MAJORITY of the girls are in it for the right reasons.
From the outside, it can be hard to understand girls put themselves in these situations to “fit in” and “pay for your friends” in college. Even just a few months back I couldn’t answer these questions myself. What I found out on my own terms were the benefits you receive by joining an organization outweigh the weekly meetings and the “annoying” study hours that you complete as a new member.
Being a freshman in college coming from a state 8 hours away is hard for anyone and having that sense of belonging and making friends is essential to a good college experience. Yes, there are other ways to make friends but having 500 girls to share experiences with makes things a whole lot easier and despite what you may think, I’ve never been hazed in any form.
Just freshman year alone, I’ve joined multiple clubs including writing for Odyssey, chose my perfect major, created the best memories and made so many friends solely because of my sorority sisters. I hate to disappoint as many of you opened this article expecting stories of horrific hazing and girls who secretly hate each other, but in all honesty that just is not the truth of Greek life.
If I enjoy being a part of an organization that gave me the BEST year of my life while helping me reach my collegiate goals, then I guess like my friends always told me, being a sorority is “just so me.”