By Ana | September 21, 2012
I get asked this a lot: why did you join Greek life? What do you do? What’s it all about? Isn’t it all just like Animal House or something? Why should I join?
As a senior now, I can say that joining Greek life was one of the best decisions I ever made in college, period. Just like any other organization, it may not be right for everyone. But what I do tell underclassmen is to give it a shot.
I was one of those people who never thought I would EVER join a sorority. EVER. Growing up, I didn’t have too many female friends. I liked sports and gangster movies and loud rock concerts. I never had an eye for cute or trendy clothes like the other girls did and still don’t really know how to put on makeup. Most of my friends from high school that I still talk to and hang out with are guys. I never saw myself as the “type” of girl who would join a sorority, and I assumed all “those” girls were dumb and shallow anyway.
Without knowing a thing about it, I automatically assumed that it wasn’t for me because I only knew the stereotypes about Greek life. I assumed that they were all a bunch of partiers, that no one cared about academics, that people in Greek life didn’t have non-Greek friends, etc. I couldn’t have been more wrong about all of that, and I’m glad that I took this opportunity to learn not to believe in stereotypes and not to instantly judge people I don’t know because they seem really different from me.
I went through formal recruitment in January of my sophomore year. I was very shy back then (hard to believe, I know!), but I was ready to get more involved on campus and meet new people. I was extremely reluctant, but I had several friends who had joined Greek life when we were freshmen, and they had nothing but positive things to say about their experiences. They encouraged–well, pestered–me to go through recruitment. They assured me that if at any time I felt it wasn’t right for me, I could drop out of recruitment, no problem.
Although it was a hectic two weeks of recruitment during a cold and icy January, I am so glad I did it. I was immediately welcomed with open arms into an outstanding group of women. I had 100 new friends from all over Ohio and several other states, who were involved in dozens of organizations on campus, with a vast array of different majors, interests, and backgrounds. These were women who shared my personal values, and also cared about my individual goals, passions, and aspirations.
That winter quarter was a blur. I spent many happy hours hanging out with my new sisters and getting to know them. It’s a type of bond that I can’t really describe, and it doesn’t just apply to my own chapter. When I met a girl from our chapter at the University of Akron, we had so much in common and felt like we knew each other very well, even though we had only just met. It’s a wonderful feeling, like seeing an old friend after a long time.
These women are not just my friends for college. These are my friends for life. I am still close with girls who have graduated (like my sister in grad school in Scotland, who I visited this summer when I was studying abroad!), and I know I will still be close with current members as well as other alumni when I graduate in the spring.
And my circle of friends is not limited to my own chapter. Thanks to becoming more involved in Greek life and on campus in general, I have met some seriously awesome people from other chapters, too. In fact, several of the other girls on my study abroad trip are also sorority women at Ohio State and we have become very close friends.
I learn something new about each of my sisters every day. They make me laugh daily, probably hourly. They are there for me. They are my home away from home. I know that wherever I go (even across the Atlantic!) that there are sisters with open arms–even ones I haven’t met yet.
That is the point of it all. Greek life has no parallels to other campus involvement. You can join a club and forget about it the next semester if you want to, but this is different. This is being part of something much, much bigger than yourself. It’s a lifetime commitment, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
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