College campuses are full of ways to be involved. Whether you’re joining a new activity at the start of the year, trying out for a new team, or deciding to be a part of something far bigger than yourself, there are countless ways to keep yourself busy and gain new experiences. One of the largest choices for young men and women on college campuses is the decision to join Greek life, aka rushing a fraternity or sorority. Deciding to go through formal recruitment is a life changing choice; participating in a house and committing to honor and uphold all it stands for can become a defining factor of who you are and who you become. So, why is it whenever I mention I’ve decided to rush, people choose to mock me, shame me, and question why I would want something like this?
Seriously, what’s up with these reactions? Yes, Greek life is surrounded by stigmas and negative connotations. No, that doesn’t mean all members are crazy college drunks who focus on nothing more than fun. There are negatives about any and all campus organizations, yet Greek life seems to take the most heat. When I announced to my loved ones I would be rushing during the fall, I was greeted by groans and a pure distaste for my choice. “Do you really want to be one of those girls?”, I was asked. “How could someone like you actually be interested in that?”
Well, it’s simple, really. I was always active in groups, clubs, and volunteer organizations in high school. I care greatly about my grades and think it’s important to grow my resume and be an excellent candidate for potential employment opportunities. I love surrounding myself with loving people who also share my devotion to leading a life dedicated to growing and bettering myself and others. It makes perfect sense for someone like me, who knows how to have fun but also prides themselves on their nights spent in the library each semester, to want to become a sorority member. I’m looking for other girls who share a similar mantra, so it just makes sense.
Besides, Greek houses have GPA requirements, service hours, and, often times, also include mandatory study hours. Those who are seen in that negative Greek life light are often kept in check and given more guidelines than those outside. Assuming someone in the system is shirking their responsibilities and only joining a house for crazy fun is misinformed – know what you’re describing before you tell someone else “facts” about being Greek.
Maybe it’s hard to see the truth if you don’t know a lot about college itself. But, as someone who let shamers talk me out of rushing my freshman year, I can honestly say these stigmas are not the end all be all of fraternities and sororities. I spent my freshman year learning the truth behind college living and getting to truly see that joining a house can be a positive, uplifting, and overall amazing experience for anyone. There will always be the not-so-good side of any group, but the premise of Greek life is meant to bring people together through common philanthropy and belief in how you should grow and live, through college and beyond.
Don’t listen to the shamers. It’s time we stop letting others and their prejudices make us feel bad for wanting to join a community of great opportunities, resume-building activities, and sisters or brothers who want the best for us. If you choose Greek life, you’re not choosing wrong.