Before my first year of college, I fully planned on joining a sorority. Television shows, movies, and my friends’ older sisters had made Greek Life seem like such a big deal. I thought that by joining a sorority I’d get to experience a 24/7 slumber party with a group of girls that I would feel connected to for life, and not just in a social sense. I knew that having a Greek organization on my resume and possessing certain philanthropic accomplishments under my belt would only make me more appealing to potential employers and most importantly, the grad school of my choice. However, by the time Rush season came during my first semester I was completely turned off by the idea of joining a sisterhood that I would be aligned with for the rest of my life. With no disrespect to Greek Life or those who joined (and probably don’t regret the decision to do so), I had seen how stifling the academic requirements were to keep your membership, I was informed just how expensive paying your dues was (which was something me and my family couldn’t afford), and then the biggest turn-off of all hit me like a truck – what if I didn’t like these girls that were forced to become my “sisters?”
I can only judge the Greek system that was installed at my university. I can also only admit to seeing what the structure and integrity of a sorority entailed from an outside perspective. Even with these two limitations, I feel that I made the right decision in remaining an independent student. I don’t believe that I would have thrived as being part of a group and having to adhere to most of the guidelines and expectations an established sorority places upon you. My academic progress belonged solely to me and the rate at which I succeed should have no consequence on whether or not I invest my time in a group of friends or a charity of my choice. If I may be blunt for a moment, I had also made my own friends by the time rush season began. I no longer had any desire to conform myself to a group of hand-selected girls and be designated as a chosen “little” to one female student who was older than me and therefore, considered to be more “experienced” and “wise.” At the end of the day, I chose to continue on my path that was absent of mandatory charity work (if it’s compulsive, does that really make it charity?), a microscope on my grade point average (which would only add more pressure to an already stressful academic infrastructure), and use my money to not pay for communal t-shirts and a dance “mixer” I wouldn’t have enjoyed anyway.
This is usually the point where I put my tail between my legs and admit that I made a mistake (which I’m not unaccustomed to doing), but not when it comes to this. Two of my best friends from university were sorority drop outs, each one from an opposing organization. The first friend left because of the amount of restrictions her sorority put on her social life and the micro-management her “big” implemented on her study habits. The second friend left because her sisters didn’t like her boyfriend; he wasn’t in a fraternity and apparently, spending time with him distracted her from being in a sorority. These two former letter-wearing girls made me feel secure in the decision I had made one year prior to their departure from Greek Life. To be clear, I don’t think that joining or belonging to a sorority is a bad thing, it just wasn’t right move for me or my close friends. It’s important to consider the commitment you’re making and the stipulations that go along with it before signing off on the next four years of your life.