As a student living on-campus at a renowned party school in the United States, I expected to feel a little pressure to join a sorority. I was definitely not surprised when I saw the sheer amount of fraternity and sorority houses located near the Main Quad when I first moved in, to say the least. Recruitment dates were quickly published in chalk art and on Facebook. Fraternities, in particular, started advertising their parties as soon as they were able. It was impossible to ignore the massive amount of people flocking toward the fraternity house hub since my dorm is fairly near that section of campus-town.
When I applied to colleges, the last thing on my mind was the party atmosphere. That being said, I do appreciate the social aspect that Greek life brings to campus. It’s impossible to ignore such energy when you hear sorority houses chanting in the evening to welcome their new recruits or when fraternity houses blast their music as loud as possible to rival even our theater’s acoustics. For some people, that draws them into the scene, but for me, I’m not that kind of person.
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If you’re looking at colleges now and relate to my sentiments, take the time to research other student organizations that fit what you’re genuinely interested in. Most colleges tout record numbers of these groups. My university offers more than 1,400 RSOs (Registered Student Organizations), ranging from academic-related clubs such as Anthropology Club to more interest-based clubs such as October Lovers.
People often talk about “getting the real college experience” and how it’s important for students to stay involved. Joining Greek life isn’t a mandatory piece of the “college experience” if it doesn’t interest you. There is an overabundance of other organizations that you can participate in, and sometimes these groups are more specific toward your career goals and can provide better guidance. Besides, it’s not as if RSOs don’t have social events of their own; the volunteerism organization I’m a member of hosted an out-of-town trip to an apple orchard, for instance. Sure, it didn’t involve music cranked to max, but it was an enjoyable break away from midterms and the busyness of campus life.
I highly recommend joining at least one RSO during your time in college, especially if you aren’t drawn to Greek life. Dedicating time to a group helps build dependable friendships and can develop anyone’s social skills, which is rather comparable to what you would get while part of a fraternity or sorority atmosphere. Instead of being a part of a house, it’s possible to be part of a smaller group that focuses on volunteerism, leadership, or even coffee appreciation.
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I came to “party” campus, saw rows of Greek houses, and joined RSOs in the face of it all. Don’t be intimidated if going Greek doesn’t fit your interests and passions. There are thousands of other organizations waiting for you to knock on their door to be a member of their community.