Greek life gets a bad rap. In some cases it’s well deserved – the system has a lot of flaws to work out – but there is so much good that comes out of the Greek system that goes relatively unnoticed.
I’ve been planning this post for a while, but I recently found a website that lets me stream unlimited episodes of “Greek” so I’m having a marathon and ready to rumble. I have an unconventional Greek life story, so here’s my tell all.
I skipped sixth grade and while that doesn’t seem like relevant information right now – it meant I left for college a year earlier than I would have otherwise. I definitely don’t regret skipping a grade, and I also don’t regret my one quarter at UC Santa Barbara, but it took me about a month there to realize I wasn’t where I wanted to be and wasn’t doing what I wanted to do. I came back home and went to community college for two of the hardest years of my life. My hometown is small – people talk – and I was embarrassed. I worked, I studied, and I was accepted into a specialized merchandising program at San Francisco State. I was determined to get it right this time.
I showed up in San Francisco with my Honda Fit packed full of all my belongings and I knew no one. My solution? Rush the Greek system as a junior transfer student – not your typical rushee. As I went through the rushing process I definitely had an idea of which sorority I wanted to pledge, but I met plenty of girls who had no idea. The thing I learned along the way is that the Greek system totally knows where you belong – even if you don’t. My advice? Trust the system. It knew exactly where I belonged.
One of the biggest misconceptions about Greek life is that you’re “buying” your friends. Sure there are dues to pay (and I can’t lie, dues ain’t always cheap), but those dues pay for opportunities not friends. During my two years in the Greek system we went on retreats where we had experiences that encouraged leadership and networking, we had weekly meetings where the importance of appropriate “badge attire” (business casual) was drilled into our heads – and yeah okay we also got some really cool tee shirts. Point being that the friendships I made were a result of the experiences I had in the Greek system and if anyone wants to call that “buying” friends – well shucks they’re pretty cool people and I’d pay for them all over again.
I wasn’t the conventional rushee not only because I was older and a transfer student – I also was not a big partier. I was pretty sure, like my experience at UCSB, that this would be a problem. Instead of being teased, ridiculed, or excluded, the Greek system let me be me and I could hang out at every social without shame. No one cared if I chose to drink or not because everyone was cool with people being exactly who they were – plus everyone’s favorite person at the end of the night is the “sober sister.”
Although philanthropy isn’t always our favorite part of Greek life (6 am wakeups in college were torture) – we cared about it. Even after we graduate we still care about it. I can’t even stroll past the Marina Green here in San Francisco without reminiscing about the JDRF walks (fighting type 1 diabetes!). A lot of us are really fortunate, but we rarely make time to give back. One of the most awesome things about the Greek system is that every single organization has a cause and they advocate the heck out of it.
I transfered to San Francisco State to study apparel merchandising and was actually elected as the purchasing coordinator for my sorority – this meant getting some hands on experience in my field of interest! I spent my days designing witty tee shirt designs, sourcing, and purchasing. My sorority let me pursue my interests and gave me some ammo for my LinkedIn profile. I walked away with awesome experiences that employers cared about – oh and did I already mention the cute tee shirts?
The friends I made in the Greek system are still my friends today – three years after graduation. They were there for me every meeting, every retreat, every day, every month, every year – and they’re still there for me now. I rushed the Greek system thinking I’d find a casual social circle and I walked away with a crazy, big family I wouldn’t trade for the world.
And if you couldn’t guess from the photos, yes I am a proud alum of Alpha Gamma Delta.
Greek life helped me find my sense of purpose! Are/were you a member of Greek life or another organization on campus that helped you kick your butt into gear? Tell me about it in the comments below!
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