When you first come to a campus with Greek life, it can be a little overwhelming; Greeks look like a bunch of people with shirts that somehow seem to cluster together in a group of people with similar letters that you don’t quite understand. Once you are a part of Greek life, you see it in a completely different light, but you have to experience it first. I am going to prove and disprove some different stereotypes about Greek life. I am not here to sugarcoat Greek life for you, because just like with any gathering of people, people who belong to Greek organizations sometimes make dumb mistakes. I am going to let you know that a few bad apples shouldn’t ruin the whole bunch and that if you look deeper, you will be able to find an organization that prides itself in breaking these barriers and one that prides itself on sisterhood or brotherhood.
1. Greeks don’t care about grades. Sure you have those people that never seemed to get this school thing–but I feel like you get that everywhere. Greek organizations require at least a 2.5 to stay active. There are some Greek people who don’t care about grades, but they usually tend to shape up or ship out because most organizations want their GPA to dangle around the 3.0 mark if not better.
2. Greek life is one big party. Greek life doesn’t make you become a party person automatically. I can count the number of parties I have been to since I joined Greek life on one hand. There are people in Greek organizations that like to party, but there are also many people who would rather stay in and have a Netflix marathon and eat popcorn all night. Greek life exposes you to many different types of people not just avid partiers.
3. Hazing. This is one that I refuse to sugarcoat. Does hazing happen? Yes. Does every Greek organization haze? No. Hazing occurs, and I hate when Greeks try to conceal it and say it never happens ever, because it definitely does. Some people go through a crappy version of the new member process where they’re hazed, but on the other hand, many people have really great new member experiences. As a person going through the process of finding their Greek forever home, you have to be smart. You have to be able to think for yourself in terms of what is and what isn’t hazing. If you would like to know more about hazing laws, go to StopHazing.Org; they have a page on laws by state, so that you can look up your state and figure out what hazing means there.
Another stereotype about hazing is that it is somehow exclusive to Greek life. Hazing is not a term explicitly defined for Greek life–you can be hazed by any group whether it be a sports team or a chess club–while it is probably more prevalent in Greek life or sports teams–hazing can happen anywhere. Even if you do not plan on becoming a member of a Greek organization–I would encourage you to read up on your local hazing laws.
4. It costs a ton of money. While it does costs a ton of money, your money is going torward a great experience. Obviously I could do a lot with the $1,000+ I have put into my sorority over the years, but I wouldn’t have all the experiences I have had. I wouldn’t have met some of the people I have met, and I wouldn’t have some of the best memories I have had. I would never have my bid night, which was probably one of the best nights of my collegiate career.
In addition, the money goes towards a lot of things. It helps our national headquarters provide lots of services for us and it helps pay the amazing women who do so much for my organization and allow me to be a member of the Greek society I love. The money also goes toward the local organization in paying for a place for us to hold meetings and paying for the t-shirts and events we host. So yes, it does cost money, and that can be a turn off–but the money is worth it if you have the money to invest.
Yes, Greek life has flaws, and we don’t have it all quite figured out yet. Sometimes, people who wear Greek letters do something that makes us all look bad–but we are all a family. It may be all Greek to you, I know that for me it was all Greek at one point to. I couldn’t tell the difference from one organization to the next and Greek life was the furthest from my mind. Almost two years in now, though, I don’t know what I’d do without my sisters. They complete me, and now I know why people love Greek life so much.