A Girl's Guide to Going Greek
This past semester, I took the plunge to pledge. I'd thought about going Greek for over two years during my college career, and finally decided to go for it. You only live once, right?
For me, it was a choice that made sense. The president of my sorority is also my peer mentor within my major - a mentor that I respect and look up to. My grades and my campus involvement well-exceeded the requirements to pledge. I was more than qualified, and more than enthusiastic.
However; there was still a pit in my stomach about society's perception of sororities. The way the world tends to view sororities is as a school-condoned clique - requiring elaborate hazing ploys, many drunken nights, and slutty behavior. In fact, when I spoke to my mother about considering to pledge, she said "you don't need to pay for your friends, Laura!"
The hazing and initiation was what worried me the most - we'd hear rumors or see extreme examples in movies and on television, but it was still up in the air as to what, exactly, we would have to go through during the initiation process. In the days leading up to rush, I was full of doubt.
Since joining my sorority, I have words of advice for other girls who are thinking about pledging. Joining a sorority has honestly been one of the best, most rewarding decisions of my life - but there are several points to take into consideration before you rush!
Probably the most important thing to consider when looking into joining a sorority is your purpose. What do you hope to gain from this sorority?
If you aren't sure exactly why you want to join, think about all the things that drew you to the sorority? Do you have friends in it? Is it an academic sorority? Did you attend an event that the sorority hosted and have fun? Everyone has a different reason, but it is important that your reasons are based on something more sustainable than "because everyone else is doing it." This is not the time to join something just because everyone else is.
It is also important, not only to know your purpose for wanting to join a sorority at all, but to know your purpose for choosing a particular sorority. Be honest with yourself. Are you looking for a full-time party? There is a sorority to meet that need. Are you looking for networking contacts in the business world? There is a sorority for that. Are you looking for a group of close-knit friends that have similar interests to you? There are usually several great sororities to choose from!
Choosing which sorority to pledge is almost harder than choosing a school! You have to weigh your options carefully, and really take into consideration what kind of person you are and what kind of person you want to be. Then, choose the sorority that best aligns with those two things.
Do Your Research
The next step is to research the sorority, inside and out. What are the founding principles (and are they still upheld?) It is actually very important to understand the politics behind the sorority before you join. You should also look into what sort of commitment you will be making by joining.
Knowing all the background on the sorority will help you to not only choose the right sorority for you, but during the pledging process, and once you've become a member of the sorority as well.
Do the members of the sorority get along really well? Do you have to live in off-campus Greek housing, in a specified region of the campus, or in regular dorms? What is the extent of sisterhood?
You can find a lot of this information online - both on the sorority webpage and through social media, as well as by talking to members of the sorority.
It may sound slightly selfish, but it is important to consider how the organization is going to help you, just as it is to consider how you can help it. A sorority is a give-and-take opportunity, and you want to make sure it will be a balanced addition to your college life.
Going Greek is not an easy decision for some. Deciding whether to pledge, and where to pledge, can be a tricky choice.
Joining a sorority is one of the greatest decisions I ever made, but there is a lot to consider before jumping into Greek life.