This is going to be one of those topics that angers some and thrills others; just as controversial as its subject – Greek life. I completely understand that I can only speak for some of the individuals involved in Greek life. For those of you who may not feel the same way, I can only hope you’ve changed your mind by the end of this. These are the kinds of stereotypes that Greeks are known for that need some serious rethinking:
1. Hazing: I suppose I can only speak for my own experience, but I never have encounrtered or witnessed any type of hazing during my experience in Alpha Omicron Pi. We DO NOT joke about hazing. It is an extremely serious matter that is taken by active members, alumni, and advisors. We’ve all seen movies that portray Greek life as the root of all evil when it comes to making “pledges” jump through hoops to become “one of us”. However, I am proud to be one of the many Greeks working to change that.
2. Alcohol: Alcohol is largely associated with Greek life, much because of the way Greek life is portrayed in the media. I’m not saying that drinking doesn’t happen, I’m just saying drinking doesn’t happen in Greek life alone. I was newly 20-years-old when I joined AOII in the spring of 2013 and I certainly will not pretend like I never tasted a drop of alcohol before the following fall semester. However, never once have I felt uncomfortable or excluded when I’ve made the decision not to drink.
3. Paying For Friends: This may be my favorite Greek stereotype….and I use the word “favorite” very loosely. Greek life is not cheap, but if you think I’m paying several hundred dollars each semester for my friends, you better think again. I do not pay for my friends; I pay for the suite for which I have total access to hang out with my friends. I pay for the events and programs my friends and I host. I even pay for the t-shirts to commemorate the fun times I have at said events and programs with my friends. I pay for a lot of things, but friends is not one of them.
4. Do you do anything besides party?: Why yes, we do. Like the majority of my sisters and other Greek women I know, I am extremely involved on campus. In addition to being involved, Greeks often have some of the highest GPAs on campus and participate in countless organizations that better their respective community. You can also find many Greek men and women in leadership positions in campus organizations. All because of these things, Greeks often build strong relationships with superiors in their chosen career field and have numerous opportunities to network. So yeah, we party and we have a good time with our Greek and non-Greek friends, alike. But when we’re not out enjoying ourselves, you can find us sitting in the suite studying, doing community service projects like building beds for children in need, or just grabbing lunch in between classes with the people we love the most!
5. So, what kind of girl do I have to be to be in a sorority?: This may be one of the biggest misconceptions of Greek life. To non-Greeks – and even sometimes Greeks – certain organizations appear to have a “standard” for each of their members. Don’t get me wrong, we certainly have standards. But our standards are not what one may think. Our standards certainly do not include blonde hair, blue eyes, and beautifully tanned legs. By those standards, I would have NEVER been offered a bid from one of the most honorable sisterhoods. No, our standard as Greek women is to find worthy, young women who share our love for sisterhood and philanthropy, and want to share that love with future members. We accept each other for our own individuality and unique gifts we bring to the chapter. AOII didn’t change me, it helped me become the best version of myself.
There are many reasons why I chose Greek and there are so many more reasons why I chose to stay in my organization. The bonds I’ve formed over the last two years with these incredible women are irreplaceable and I am truly grateful for the experiences I’ve had. I would encourage any person to find out more about Greek life at their respective school and give it a shot. Joining a sorority is a commitment; a commitment to uphold the principles and live the ritual that founders have set years ago.