“You’re in a sorority? But you don’t seem like a sorority girl…” I constantly hear this phrase throughout my time being in a sorority.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand where people are coming from. Greek Life tends to have a bad rep, but that’s also because the media portrays the wrong idea of what being in a fraternity or sorority is all about.
After being a part of Greek Life myself, I’m ready to share with you what media and pop culture don’t tell you about Fraternity and Sorority Life.
Media and pop culture definitely influenced my perception. Coming into my university, I too, had a negative perspective of Greek Life. I never truly understood the purpose of it and had no interest in joining an organization that I did not fully believe in. When rush session came along, my friends encouraged me to come out to events to find out more information about Greek Life. I reluctantly went and was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed it. I visited each sorority and personally had very thought-provoking and meaningful conversations with them about the values they stand for and the charities they support.
What the media and pop culture do not tell you about fraternities and sororities is the community outreach aspect. Every fraternity and sorority has a national philanthropy project that they support. Throughout the academic year, we as an organization do countless fundraisers and community service events to benefit and donate to both our national and local philanthropies. From St. Jude Children’s Hospital to Children’s Miracle Network to the Women’s Valley Crisis Center, we not only love and fully support our own organization’s philanthropy, we also take the time to show our support for other organizations’ charity focus while promoting Greek unity within the university as well.
Not everyone in the Greek Life are crazy party animals or social butterflies like media suggests. Some of us stay reserved and are still a little shy even when we’re a part of a social organization. Joining a sorority or a fraternity does not always mean people automatically break out of their shell, and that’s okay. Since going Greek, I have noticed a big difference in my confidence as well as my professionalism. I have taken on leadership roles that I never thought I could handle, and have learned to deal with different situations appropriately. Through Greek Life, I have grown tremendously as a student and a young adult.
Academics is highly valued in Greek Life. Yes, this is true. Believe it or not, my sorority has about 15 sisters who are on the Dean’s List and some are even a part of the Order of Omega, an honor’s society reserved for the top 3% of fraternities and sororities. Not only that, almost all of us are highly involved in other clubs and organizations as well. Furthermore, students involved in Greek Life also challenge themselves to pursue their education in STEM majors, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This is especially important because of the underrepresentation of women in these fields.
Personally, being a part of a social sorority and a co-ed professional fraternity made my university a home away from home. It has introduced me to people with the same goals and aspirations as well as morals and values. My brothers and sisters have truly become family and have been the ones pushing me to realize my fullest potential and motivate me to be the best version of myself possible. From research, internships, and leadership opportunities to studying abroad, I was able to do all of that through my network of friends I’ve developed in Greek Life. I am forever grateful to have such a big support system and if you are given the chance, I would highly encourage you to check out Greek Life at your own school with an open mind. Fraternities and sororities are not for everyone; however, I do believe that everyone can have a more positive perspective on Greek Life and its intended purpose: sisterhood/brotherhood, self-development, community support.
I hope that this article gives you a little bit of insight on what being in a Greek organization is all about. If you still have questions about the rush process and what it actually means, I will be writing an article about that very soon so stay tuned!
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Rei is a Psychology student at the University of California, Merced. As a Vietnamese immigrant, she understands the challenge of balancing both Vietnamese and American cultures. She is passionate about equality for minorities and wants to introduce the world of possibilities for first generation Vietnamese-Americans. Rei hopes to inspire the youth by sharing her stories in obtaining higher education and the resources available for them to achieve their own success.