Perhaps the biggest social decision you will make during your college experience will be whether or not you join Greek life. There are a lot of benefits that come with being a member of a sorority or a fraternity, but there are also many drawbacks to the lifestyle as well. While I personally did not rush, my roommate, Megan, did. As an incoming female college student at a University with one of the biggest yet most competitive Greek systems, I wasn't sure at first whether or not I would go Greek. I eventually decided against it. In this post, I'll tell you why I didn't rush, and I'll write another post soon after which will be an interview with Megan about why she did rush and how the experience was for her.
I don't know much about the experience for a guy, but I do know that as a girl, you have to pay a $70 fee just to go through the recruitment process. Keep in mind that you could potentially be paying to not even get into a sorority. Once you become a sister, there are housing fees and activity fees (such as formal fees and buying a dress/shoes/accessories for formal events), and you will probably want to buy clothing with your chapter letters on them, and it all adds up very quick. In addition to those costs, you're also required to wear certain types of outfits for each day during recruitment (business casual, "going out to dinner with your friends", cocktail dress, etc.), and a lot of girls go shopping for these outfits. Most sororities cost $8,000-$12,000 to live in (housing and meal costs combined), although I do not know if it can only be paid out of pocket or if you can use a loan to cover the cost. While this isn't true for everyone, I personally don't have the extra money to partake in Greek life even if I wanted to. I'm not at all saying that the reason that I didn't rush was because of money, that was just a contributing factor.
If you live in a sorority house, there are rules that you have to follow within the sorority. Some of them include studying during certain hours, eating whatever the house chef cooks for you, and restraints on when and where you can hang out with your friends. Some girls really love the rules that come with the lifestyle because the structure is good for them, but I like to decide what I do when it works best for me, and I like to control what I eat and when I see my friends, etc. (What I mean by seeing your friends is that you may not be allowed to have friends stay over.) I like to make my own schedule, and that's another reason for why I decided against joining a sorority.
I love all of my girl friends, and I love spending time with them, but girls can be so moody! Can you imagine 50+ girls all on their periods, living in the same house?? While spending time with your girls is so great, and making new girl friends is awesome, I totally need my personal space.
That being said...
I love taking the time to do the things that I love, whether that be reading a book or listening to my iPod or totally vegging out and watching episode after episode of something on Netflix. I love spending time with myself, and I feel like I wouldn't really get that opportunity to just relax with myself while living in a house full of girls.
My best friend, Shelby, is transferring to IU next school year, and she hasn't ever considered going Greek. I would have hated to be limited to only hanging out for a few hours or to only being able to have sleepovers when it worked out for her since it would have to be at her place. I also would have hated to go to college with her (we haven't gone to the same school since middle school, so it's a pretty big deal to us) and to have not lived with her! We plan on getting an apartment together for the upcoming school year (:
Being in a sorority opens you up to a lot of great opportunities. You get to take part in a lot of philanthropic activities, you can receive special scholarships, and it's a great tool as far as networking goes. However, Greek life is also known to be big in the party scene, and that can get dangerous very quickly if you aren't careful.
For girls at IU, the recruitment process is like this: you come back to school about half a week before school starts. There's an orientation type thing held the first night, then the next day, and for the remainder of the week, you go from house to house to talk to existing members and impress them enough to make them want you to be part of their chapter. These sessions are typically 12 hours long, from 8 AM to 8 PM. From what I've heard, it's emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting.
For girls who have no problem being outgoing and talkative, this probably doesn't seem like a huge deal. However, I'm typically a really shy person when I first meet people, especially when I feel like I'm under pressure to make a good impression and impress someone. This anxiety can be even worse when you know that you have to make a good impression to several groups of pretty girls who are, for lack of a better word and not to be taken in a negative connotation, judging you! Just the thought of that makes me nervous! Plus, in addition to stressing out about making girls like you, you're competing against thousands of girls for the very limited spots that are available in each chapter! It just seems really demanding to me.
I think that covers pretty much everything that contributed to my choosing not to join Greek life! I do want to say that although I don't think it's for me, I do not, in anyway, dislike people who are in Greek life or think that it's bad. There are a lot of non-Greek students who hate on sororities and fraternities (and in turn, there are a lot of Greek students who hate on non-Greek students), but that's not what I'm trying to do. I just want to provide girls with information that I think is useful to know, and a perspective from a female student as to why I chose not to become a sorority girl.
If you have any other questions or want to know more, feel free to contact me! You can leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter, my handle is in the top right corner of my page.
I'll have Megan's perspective up shortly as well! Thanks for reading (: