By Sarah Moran
When you first arrive to college as a freshman, everything can seem overwhelming.
It may be the first time you are living on your own, you have to make a whole new set of friends and you are probably trying to get adjusted to the college lifestyle (the great balancing act of juggling your social life, academic life and sleep).
Most people make some of their friends through their freshman dorms, their classes or groups they end up getting involved in on campus.
Another great way to make new friends that you might not have otherwise interacted with is through Greek life.
People usually go through recruitment and rush a sorority or fraternity during the spring of their freshman year.
Recruitment alone helps you meet a ton of people.
During recruitment week you will meet a lot of other freshmen going through the same difficult process as you, trying to figure out which group they feel they mesh with the best or if they even want to be involved in Greek life. Throughout the process you will also talk to a lot of upperclassmen involved in each of the organizations.
Then, if you do end up joining a fraternity or sorority, you just gained at least one thing in common with around 100 other people on campus who are all excited to have you in their organization and be your friend.
The important thing to remember when going through rush is to keep an open mind.
A lot of stereotypes of different organizations float around campus, and sometimes it’s hard to forget those at the beginning of recruitment.
But try to not let those stereotypes affect you! You never know who you might meet or what group you might end up clicking with.
The most common thing you’ll hear during rush is to “trust the system,” and although it’s annoying, it’s very true. You will end up exactly where you are supposed to be.
Once you’re in Greek life, it might help you get involved in other activities.
For example, all of the Greek groups on campus have organized functions and activities that allow you to spend time together and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Greek life can also provide you with the opportunity to help the community through philanthropies and charities.
Every Greek organization has at least one philanthropy they raise money for through putting on different events.
Joining a sorority or fraternity can also give you the opportunity to build leadership skills.
All sororities and fraternities have a group of members who serve on a council, which runs the organization. There are many positions that need to be filled in order to keep the operation running smoothly. A leadership position in your organization will look good on a résumé, and you’ll get some valuable work experience in the process. Plus, most of the time, it’s pretty fun!
A lot of people worry that if they join a Greek organization, it will take over their lives and they won’t have time to do anything else. However, the nice thing about Greek life is you can really choose how involved you want to be in your organization’s infrastructure.
Even if you don’t want a position within the sorority, participating in other groups or clubs represents your organization well, too.
Greek organizations really like to brag about their members who participate or have leadership positions in outside organizations, so don’t be afraid to branch outside of Greek life after you’ve joined. Greek life is a great opportunity to meet new people and create a new social network of friends you may have never met, but it is definitely not your only option.
Joining a Greek organization could be just another thing that will help you make friends you’ll keep for the rest of your life.
Give it a chance! You’ll be glad you did.
By Mason Davenport
When I was first asked to write about my decision to not go Greek, I found the answer pretty easy after listening to the latest BBC World News podcast. Here’s the deal. I really do like Greek life. Who can complain about the fantastic yogurt, cheese and wine that come with Greek culture? I’m just not about all that lavish spending and perception of not working hard enough on the part of the Greek people. I mean, EU — it gives them such a hard time.
In all seriousness though, choosing whether or not to join a fraternity on campus can be an incredibly strenuous, not to mention daunting, task.
Greek life offers a certain sense of stability, friendship and support, amongst other positives, like community service and engagement.
I’ll also pull the cliché here and say that plenty of my friends are in Greek life. I find that, while there is certainly a relational divide between Greek and non-Greek students, there’s not much animosity against each other.
All that being said, I decided not to rush a fraternity my freshman year, and I am (still) a proud, happy GDI at Wake Forest.
The reality is this: many guys coming in freshman year will say that they’re “looking” at Greek life. However, in actuality, only about a 1/3 of guys join Greek life, with that number being about 2/3 for girls. So, just on the numbers game, there is plenty of Wake Forest that associates outside the Greek community.
“But Mason,” you may ask. “Where will I go if not into a fraternity/sorority? I need guidance as to what to do.” You need not worry for three reasons.
One, you aren’t excluded from Greek life activities or people if you decide not to join. Plenty of students get into Greek parties and events regardless of their affiliation.Furthermore, you are still allowed to be friends with Greek students. I promise there’s no mandatory sectioning off. I’ve found many fruitful, enriching relationships with Greek students at Wake Forest.
Two, there are plenty of other ways to get involved in the school. This option is perhaps the most pertinent to my experience. Often times Greek life can be an incredible time commitment; not joining can give you the extra time in your schedule to do other things you are passionate about.
For example, I joined the Old Gold & Black and a number of other student organizations. For you, it could mean that you also sign up as an OGB writer (seriously, do it). Other possible activities include club sports, social justice groups, faith-based organizations, PREPARE, Student Government, the Student Union, Screaming Deacons, etc.
Honestly, there is no limit to what you can do at Wake Forest, and, while these opportunities will be available to you regardless of whether you join a Greek organization or not, having that extra time to devote to a cause you’re passionate about or a pastime you love can make all the difference. These groups will also offer ways to find people you share common interests with, otherwise known as potential friends.
Three, Greek life can be cost-prohibitive. Not joining can save you (or your parents) quite a bit of money. I’m a believer in prioritizing what you want to spend your money on.
For me, I needed to save so that I could support myself financially over the summers. However, even if that isn’t your financial situation, spending hundreds of dollars each year in organization dues puts a lot of your financial eggs in one basket.
Look, all cards on the table, I never really considered joining a fraternity. I wanted a college experience that I felt could be best found outside of Greek life.
However, whatever you personally decide, remember you are not alone (one way or the other) in what you end up doing, and that both choices can be enriching in their own unique ways.