This post is not intended to bash Greek life. I know lots of great people who are a part of it. The lifestyle simply wasn’t for me, and I am sharing my story.
I was in a sorority once….for a grand total of three days.
I remember getting ready for my freshman year; I was so excited for rush. That year (2014) Mizzou had the second-largest sorority rush in the nation. That’s pretty crazy. I even decided not to pursue marching band (which was my obsession in high school) because I wanted to join a sorority instead.
I did all the right things. I got recommendation letters from alumni, I researched the philanthropy for all the sororities (there are over 20 at Mizzou so that was no small task) and I learned as much as I could about Greek life and how to stand out during the recruitment process. I even spent a lot of money on the perfect outfits for each day of the process.
Everyone talked about how open and loving the community was, and how sororities had changed girls’ lives forever. I was so excited to gain hundreds of friends my first week at college, and meet people who would become my bridesmaids one day.
Although I’m sure Greek life is amazing for some people, it really wasn’t for me. Here’s why.
I was totally aware that sororities would drop me throughout the process. They have to make tough decisions, I get it. But, let me just say one thing. Getting rejected by multiple sororities during your first few days away at college is not a great experience.
You’re already in a vulnerable place. I cried when my parents left me in my dorm room. And then you’re supposed to immediately enter rush and face rejection after rejection? It’s kind of harsh, to be honest. I know it’s nothing personal, but it sure does seem like it when you’re 17, away from home for the first time and don’t know anyone.
The way rush works is, you go to each house and get paired up with 1-2 members. They talk to you, get to know you and tell you a bit about the sorority. I had pretty good conversations with most girls. So, when you get your slip of paper the next day and you see that seven houses have dropped you, it really stings. It makes you feel like you’re not good enough. You thought you made a genuine connection with these really nice girls, and then they go and cross your name off their lists after you leave.
I know this isn’t exactly how it works. These girls have to make hard decisions and a lot of the time people just slip through the cracks. However, I am explaining how it feels from the standpoint of a young college freshman going through the process for the first time.
If you doesn’t have great self-confidence, the cut-throat process can really hurt your feelings. Every day I witnessed countless participants crying after they received their papers. Not a great way to start off your college experience. Although I was ultimately accepted into a sorority made up of really nice girls, the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth, and I wasn’t able to get rid of it.
The time commitments
I remember going to my first chapter meeting. By the time I walked out, I felt really overwhelmed. I had barely started classes and already this organization wanted me to commit more than 20 hours a week to sorority events and other things. I remember they said freshmen were required to complete 15 hours of “pomping” each week (it’s a homecoming thing). That’s a full-blown job! And that’s not even counting the endless amount of philanthropy events, meetings and other things.
For someone new to college who hasn’t learned how to balance life and school yet, this can be very overwhelming. It was for me. I wasn’t sure I could handle it, and it stressed me out to the point where I felt I had to leave.
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The party culture
Now, I know this reason might be controversial. I want to be clear that at no point did I feel pressured to go out and drink. However, it was apparent to me from the beginning that that was a large topic of conversation among the members. People were always asking each other, “Which house are we going to tonight?”
While this is totally fine, it just didn’t fit with my personality. I have never been interested in partying; I would much rather sit at home with some popcorn and have good conversation with a few great friends.
I am more of an introvert, and being around all these girls talking about going out and being in social settings all the time honestly made me stressed. I felt like I wouldn’t fit in if I was constantly turning down offers to go out.
I’m sure Greek life is an amazing opportunity for some people, but it just wasn’t for me. If you’ve had a different experience, I would love to hear about it!