Greek Life is a sensitive subject for everyone right now, regardless of affiliation. I'll admit, I am slightly biased. I am member of an organization full of kind, intelligent, beautiful women. I wholeheartedly support the continuation of Greek Life and all that it promotes – scholarship, philanthropy, loyalty, and above all, unwavering support and friendship.
But how many times have I heard the typical stereotypes for sorority women? Way too many. Being a “sorority girl” or a "frat guy" has become something seen as negative and shallow, where people are embarrassed to even admit they’re in one. The assumptions people have for how we act, dress, and are as individuals can sometimes create an inaccurate depiction of what greek life is actually like. Despite there not being a specific “mold” or stereotype, I often feel like all I have to do is tell someone I’m in Greek Life and it’s like, *cue the eye rolls* due to the negative connotation attached to us now a days.
At the end of the day, these jokes are not what is frustrating. We brush them off. What is frustrating are jokes and rumors like these, and the stereotypes they perpetuate, have allowed the media to take hold of a system that so many people are already against, and show it as a system that contributes nothing to the larger community. It becomes especially frustrating when all of the greek community has such a spotlight on them, and every wrong move made by one person becomes the responsibility of an entire organization within days. However the assumptions people make about us as a whole are hurtful and entirely false. It becomes more upsetting when you actually dedicate yourself to a sorority and see the amount of pride and work that goes into it, and how truly special and important it is.
The problem with Greek Life isn't Greek Life, the problem lies in the stereotypes we've had for decades, and the willingness to jump to conclusions. The problem is the lack of constructive conversations and acknowledgment for good we do. We're college students, and we're as imperfect as they come. The difference with me being in Greek Life is that I've seen first-hand the kind of support you gain, no matter what challenges life throws at you. The expectations we give to members of our organization. People tend to forget that sororities, like mine for example, have rules. We take pride in our sorority and it’s values and reputation, so being less than classy wouldn’t make sense and it’s not taken lightly.
Not all sororities are the same and I know some have bad reputations. But taking from my own personal experience, being in a sorority so far has helped me set higher standards for myself, because I don’t just represent myself anymore. I represent 100+ other girls that are important to me, and I think about them in every decision I make. It helps you develop character and morals that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life. It’s a gateway to helping your community and organizations that people participate in worldwide.
Being in a sorority is like finding all of your long lost best friends. Every single one of us went through recruitment, but chose the same sorority because the values and members are all personally important to us. It’s always having someone by your bed-side in the hospital. Someone to stay in and cuddle with you if you don’t feel like going out. Someone to text your parents if you’re unable to. Someone to make it their mission to get you home safely if you’re having too crazy of a night. Someone to confide in and cry to without any questions asked. It’s having over 100 someone’s.
If you want to know the truth, joining a sorority has been the best thing to happen to me since starting college, and it wasn’t too long ago that I did. No, it’s not because of the hundreds of girls who are now “required to be my best friend,” but because of the experiences, support, and growth my organization has given me in just a few, short months. Being in a sorority has gave me the courage to want to do more and be better, and I can’t think of anything better to be a part of.
So I ask you, next time you want to judge someone for being a part of Greek Life, despite what's going on in your community, think twice because we are much more than what you probably think. No organization, Greek or otherwise, is perfect. We sometimes make mistakes just like everyone else. But the good that we aspire to give to the community and the members of our organization is unwavering, and always will be for as long as we're here.