You’ve got enough on your mind as a new college student without worrying about going Greek, what with your responsibilities working and paying bills, keeping up with chores, signing up for and passing classes, traveling home on weekends to visit family, trying to make relationships work, and somehow--somehow, dear college student--getting some blessed sleep.
So when you’re ambling red-eyed to Comp I and someone in Greek letters standing at one of the booths by the student center calls out to you, asking you if you’ve ever considered joining a fraternity or sorority, you nearly let them have an earful--do they even know how late you stayed up last night writing that ten page expository essay, just so your professor can tear it apart? But something in you makes you stop dead on the sidewalk and make eye contact. The brother or sister smiles at you. You smile back, shake his or her hand, and though you’re late for class, you ask for contact info. Why?
Because you’re a Greek.
You just didn’t know it until that moment, when someone asked the question. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the hum drum of task after task, responsibility after responsibility, you realize. You’re going to get in touch with this chapter later, or look into Greek chapters on campus in general, and find the right fit for you (more on that below). At any rate, you’ve decided that the life of a sorority or fraternity member is the one for you. Now that you’ve turned in that paper, class has been dismissed for the day, and you’re thinking more and more about your potential sisterhood or brotherhood, sit back on your dorm bunk, relax, and let OmegaFi give you our 3 Tips on Going Greek.
Tip 3: Give It a Second Thought
“Blasphemy! I’ve thought it over once, and that’s enough,” you’ll say. “Once you know, you know.” You know? But in reality going Greek is not something you’ll want to make a snap decision about. In this case, we’re talking about joining any Greek chapter on campus. Talk with recruiters, but don’t let them sway you on the spot. They’re good at smooth talking, even though what they’re saying may very well be true. But they’re also trying really hard to sell you on Greek life, and not just Greek life, but their chapter’s vision of it.
These brothers and sisters aren’t lying to you, or at least we assume most are not, but they’re giving you their spin on why they love their particular chapter. That doesn’t mean you aren’t your own person. This is a big step, and you need to decide if you can handle the responsibility, if you can afford the chapter dues, and if you are willing to contribute and work hard, all while focusing on school at the same time. The recruitment brothers and sisters would love to snag you for their respective chapters. However, both you and they will regret it if your joining is a mistake and you become a hanger-on, sparsely attending events, not able to pay dues, and otherwise not helping contribute to the chapter’s goals. Look your class load over twice, consider any other obligations you have, check your bank account, and sleep on it. If you decide going Greek is still right for you in the morning, you’ll be glad you came to a sound decision without “rushing” into disaster.
Tip 2: Find the Value in Going Greek
That is, find the values--plural--that align between yourself and the chapter you choose to try to join. Make sure you speak not only to one chapter, but several. Visit their websites, and talk to current brothers or sisters (not just at recruitment events). Ask a lot of questions. One of the central goals of these conversations and research is to find out what each perspective chapter’s values are, and how they align with yours.
It’s okay to be wary of chapters who are in the news for having broken hazing rules, or who’ve had other misconduct that leads to negative stereotypes. Are University Police lights always flashing outside a chapter’s house? If whispers are going around about a chapter’s bad or potentially illegal or harmful behavior, it may be rumors. But then again if enough people are saying the same thing, be very careful and scrupulous in deciding whether to join that chapter. Remember that as much as they’re recruiting you, you are recruiting them. Often a great way to join a chapter is to talk to a friend who is a Greek, who already shares the same values as you. If they care about you beyond the aspect of recruitment, they’ll be honest about their experiences.
Tip 1: Quality over Quantity
We’ve talked before about chapter size and how a small chapter can still have the same rewarding impact as a large chapter with proper planning. We’ve said it and we’ll say it again: One size does not fit all. One pitfall of going Greek is that you immediately go after the biggest, most popular chapter on campus. You know what we’re talking about--the chapter with the most lavish, biggest chapter house, the one every other chapter is in envy of. You can’t get through a class without one of these brothers or sisters sporting their letters and talking about what a killer social they had the other night. They’re always snagging dates. They’re, in short, the bee’s knees.
People still say “bee’s knees,” right?
Anyway, just because a chapter has hundreds of members and is renowned for their party acumen doesn’t mean it’s the right one for you. What are their goals as a chapter, besides just partying all the time? Do they have study hours and a focus on academics? What’s the cost of membership versus other chapters? Are the members quality people? What kinds of philanthropies are they involved with? How do they represent themselves on campus? If you’re looking at a smaller chapter, are they sustainable and dedicated? Do they have a solid national foundation? There are many more questions you might ask. Make sure to tailor your questions to what you want to get out of Greek life.
Regardless of which chapter you join (or don’t), you’ll be content to know you made the right decision after you consider these 3 Tips on Going Greek. Those already in a chapter, what do you wish you had known when you were going Greek? Those still looking, what questions do you still have about the process? Let us know in the comments below!