If your school has Greek organizations, you probably faced (or will face) the big question: to participate, or not? Each student will face this question in his or her own way, but there are a few things you should think about well before rush week.
Greek life is a great way to find your niche on campus. You will definitely meet friends, and have opportunities to network at social events, formals, and mandatory meetings. Unlike clubs that focus on a specific interests, Greek organizations bring together a diverse group of students. I was involved in a number of clubs on campus, but was feeling limited because I was only meeting students who shared my same interests (like photography). I was attracted to Greek life because it brings together a lot of different people.
Greek life is an investment. It requires time and money. (Scholarships can help you out with this, so don’t make money the deciding factor!) Most Greek organizations at my college have mandatory chapter meetings on Sunday evenings, which can be difficult to make on busy weekends. Outside of weekly meetings, there are committees, community service events, and social outings. This can be difficult to juggle with academics, work, and family life. It took me months to figure out how to manage my time once Greek life got involved.
Greek life can help you network for your career. Greek organizations can give you a leg up on the competition if you are going into certain fields, like business. Professional fraternities can help you gain contacts, even after graduation. I’m a member of a pre-med professional fraternity, which brings in speakers every week. I loved hearing their stories and found it was a good way to connect with local doctors. (Network, network, network!)
Some colleges are more serious about Greek life than others. My school is about 30 percent Greek, so most affiliated events are open to non-Greeks as well. For example, I attend our annual “Greek Sing” event every year to support my friends, even though I’m not in a sorority. Do some digging about the exclusivity of Greek events at your college. Will you feel left out of the fun if you don’t rush?
In the end, I decided not to join a social sorority. I just didn’t have the time, and had already found my niche through student government. Though the decision is tough, it’s important to realize that deciding to go Greek (or not) is not the end-all-be-all of your college experience.
If you are having a hard time deciding, my advice is to at least try it out. A few of my friends went through rush week and decided later on that they didn’t want to join. Even though they didn’t pledge, they made new friends and learned more about what college has to offer. Going Greek is a great way to personalize your college experience, but it is what you make of your decision that really counts.
Photo Source: reccaphoenix at Morguefile