Balancing Greek Life
One of the biggest questions students ask themselves when they are deciding whether or not to rush a sorority or fraternity needs to be, “Can I handle the time commitment?” This is most definitely something to consider when deciding to make that commitment to Greek life. Sororities and fraternities participate in tons of campus events, attend other Greek organizations’ events, and have to work on their own philanthropy events, not to mention the social aspect of it all. But if joining Greek life is something you really want to do, it’s important to learn how to balance all the responsibilities it involves as well as your school work.
So you decided to go through with rush, got a bid, and decided to pledge a sorority or fraternity on campus. Now what? The new member period of a Greek organization can be a very exciting and overwhelming time. After a long week of rushing, you will probably have so many emotions racing through you that you won’t be able to think straight. New members are always very excited and eager to get involved. However, it is important to make sure you take a step back and realize that with going Greek comes great responsibility. Not only will you now have a mandatory weekly chapter meeting, but you will also be required to participate in several other events such as philanthropy events for your chapter as well as for other Greek organizations’. Then there will be campus events such as Greek Week or Homecoming, socials, retreats, and more. Your attendance will not be required at all of these events, but you will most likely want to attend as many as possible to stay involved and support your chapter.
However, it is important to remember in the midst of your now super busy schedule that school is the number one reason you are in college. Good sororities and fraternities take academics very seriously and fully support the fact that school always comes first. All Greek organizations have a grade point average (GPA) requirement that members are required to maintain in order to remain in the chapter. Not meeting this requirement can result in penalizing consequences and even dismissal from your organization. With that being said, your sorority or fraternity will undoubtedly become a very important part of your college experience, but it is important to find a balance between Greek Life and school.
First things first, the easiest and most important way to keep balance between school and Greek life is to schedule. There is no way anyone could keep track of all the events going on with your organization and schoolwork without writing it down. Chapters usually give out monthly calendars with all the events for the month listed with dates and times. When you get this information it is crucial that you write it down with your schoolwork in your planner. This way you can see if you have schoolwork due around the same time as an event you would like to attend. One of the main things you will have to make sure to plan around is your weekly chapter meeting. Your chapter meeting will be on the same day at the same time every week. It is important to make sure you block out this time from your schedule every week at the beginning of the semester. This way you know that this is a time when you will not be able to catch up on homework, participate in a study group, or cram for a test you have the next morning. After you block out time for your weekly meetings, you can schedule the other events you have coming up. When looking at your planner, always look at least two weeks in advance so you know what you have coming up and can plan accordingly to get your work done in time to attend any mandatory events for your chapter. The mandatory events are the most important to plan for, so make sure you keep up with school in order to ensure that you are able attend them without neglecting your school work. After you’ve planned for the mandatory stuff, you can try to work in other optional Greek events that you want to attend, just make sure they don’t get in the way of your studies either.
Although planning ahead really does help keep you on track, there will be times when you have several events in one week on top of a lot of school work, and you won’t be able to make it all fit. That is okay. When this time comes, you will have to make a choice, and it is important to choose wisely. This is most definitely the hardest part of balancing Greek life and school, but also the most crucial. You have to get all your school work done as well as make it to your mandatory events that week, so the first thing to knock-off is non-mandatory events such as socials. This is hard because these events are often the most fun. You will want so badly to put on your stars and stripes and head to the America social on a Thursday night. However, when you have this much responsibility you have to have self-discipline. It may sound difficult, because it will be at times. But I can promise you this, you will not miss that much if you have to skip out on some of the Greek life events, and you will always thank yourself later when you ace that test.