Greek Life Pros and Cons

Posted by in Life in College

typewriter-389708-mQuestioning whether or not to join a sorority or fraternity in college is something that many college students do. This choice is generally made within the first two years of college, when most people decide to go Greek. Whether you attend a huge university or a tiny private school, Greek life is everywhere. There are many positive reasons to join the Greek community at any school. However, it is important that you know there are many common misconceptions about Greek life. By understanding Greek life’s true purpose, checking into the many activities for fraternities and sororities, and remaining aware of the true pros and cons, you will develop a more accurate understanding of Greek life and be able to make an educated decision about whether or not to join.

Often when people think of fraternities or sororities they only think of partying in Greek letters. If you did not think of it when you first read the title of this blog you are probably lying to yourself. Greek life has a great deal of misconceptions attached to its name. While the media and Hollywood like to portray Greek life as only about parting, its purpose is far greater. One of the most important reasons people join sororities and fraternities is for the friendships. Joining a brother or sisterhood through a Greek organization is a wonderful way to quickly develop friendships while being new to college. Generally these friendships continue on through all four years of college and often turn out to be some of the most important and valued friendships people have while at school. They may even become lifelong friendships.

Another reason Greek life can be such a positive aspect of the college experience is the plethora of activities it offers. In college many people will get involved in intramural sports, service organizations, leadership opportunities, or even study groups.

By joining Greek life you gain all of these opportunities and more. Almost every sorority and fraternity offer intramural teams for many types of sports depending on the season. Also, each Greek chapter has a philanthropic organization that they support through fundraising and service events throughout the year. Taking advantage of the leadership opportunities in Greek life is another wonderful way to be involved with your organization. Even things like study groups are positive outcomes of the connections you can make. Often within a chapter you will find multiple people in the same major as yourself that may have similar long-term career goals. Because of this common occurrence, Greek life is one great way to meet people to team up with for tough classes your major requires.

Greek life benefits can vary from really obvious reasons to the smallest of features. In today’s culture, networking is one of the most important things you can do to succeed, no matter what you aspire to do in life. Through participating in a Greek organization, you can form lifelong friendships which may become important connections down the road. For example, if you are looking for a job at a certain law firm and know that several people in high positions are from the same Greek organization as yourself, you can use that personal connection to introduce yourself as a potential candidate for hire.  It would help make your name stand out and perhaps even ensure an interview with the boss.

Whether you decided to join a fraternity or sorority for the friendships, the activities, leadership opportunities, or the networking benefits, Greek life is a great opportunity for all. Personally I think it is a wonderful way to bring many different people together to better themselves, their campus, and their communities.

 Now that I’ve told you all about the many pros and benefits for joining a Greek organization, it is important to also look at some of the limitations. Greek life isn’t always the best fit for everyone. One of the biggest concerns for people is the time commitment. Greek life takes up a great deal of time each week of each semester. From intramurals to philanthropy events, many Greek organizations have some type of activity going on every weekday and all members are expected to stay involved. These activities often take up a few hours of each day depending how involved you get. The key is balancing your schedule and responsibly planning around your classes and other obligations if you want to add Greek life to your college career. If these are not strengths for you, balancing the time commitment of Greek life, at least the first year of college, might not be a good idea.

Another downside is often the cost. Every Greek organization has certain payments, dues, and fees members are required to pay, and often this big price tag can be a large turn off to students. Many students even have to pay for it themselves and work part-time jobs to keep up with the cost. To help give you an idea, most of the cost, apart from the normal membership fee, includes things like t-shirts, social events, formals, and if your chapter has a house, members often pay fees for utilities and maintenance.

Another negative aspect for some people is the reputation. Some students are nervous to get involved with an organization that has a negative reputation. Some may feel that Greek life is too rowdy or could take students away from their studies. However, it is important to remember that just like any organization there are always going to be positive and negative aspects to take into account.  The most important thing is doing what is best for you, not your friends, siblings, or parents. Whether you join four different independent organizations or decided to join a single Greek organization, choosing what will benefit you the most while providing the best experience is what it all comes down to. You are only an undergrad once; why not make the most out of every opportunity and make some great lifetime memories?