Getting All The Benefits Of A Sorority Without Being In One
Much of Big Ten students’ college experiences come from joining Greek life. The lifelong bonds, the inside jokes, the pairs, the mansions, the parties all shape a lot of people’s time at school. However, is it possible to get as much out of your college experience without joining a chapter? Absolutely.
Whether rush didn’t work out for you, you dropped out/got kicked out, or just didn’t go through rush in the first place, it is more than possible to gain the same benefits as being in a sorority without actually having to live in a house with over 100 girls. Girls and all their hormones just aren’t my cup of tea and I have way too many pairs of shoes to try to squeeze into a tiny shared closet, so I guess you could say I “chose the geed life.” Well, I love it. There’s nothing wrong with Greek life and college is not Greeks vs. Non-Greeks like the media portrays it. If you don’t have friends from all walks of life, then you’re just plain boring and likely judgmental. That said, Greek life does offer some advantages that Geed life doesn’t.
As an independent (a geed), I guess you need to work and network a little harder to make your friends. You can’t just join an organization and automatically have them. Personally, I prefer that because I’ve met a much more diverse group of people that I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. There aren’t those people you have to hang out with but secretly aren’t a fan of either. These people are absolutely lifelong friends (S/O to GDI PC ’13) and I don’t ever question whether or not we would be friends if we had or had not joined the same group of letters. If you have a close group of college friends, they’re going to be your lifelong friends anyway because honestly who else doesn’t judge you for the ridiculous things you’ve done with them. These are the only people who tell you it’s okay to go streaking by the bars (or rather, encourage it) with a pledge as your getaway driver, so whether or not you’re in a house, hold onto them.
You don’t have to be in a sorority to go to fraternity parties, so it’s not like we’re at a disadvantage there either. Yes, all sorority girls would like to think what they’re attending is super exclusive, but I’ve never had an issue getting in anywhere, and half of the time the guys there would rather talk to geeds because we don’t have to follow any protocol or act a certain way without risking visit to standards. Yes, Greek life is not all about the parties, but come on…that’s a fun chunk of it. Yeah, you may not be able to go to every pregame, but that part is awkward about 98% of the time anyway. Once you show up, you can actually say “party’s here” and only sound a little douchey (okay, still douchey, maybe refrain). There’s no stamp on your forehead that screams geed so frat it up all you want.
There are also a lot of benefits when it comes to dating and hookups. You never have to have that little voice of doubt in the back of your head wondering if a certain guy is talking to you or not talking to you because of whatever house you’re in. There’s no chance that you accidentally hooked up with the ex boyfriend of your grandbig’s twin’s best friend in the house and will end up shunned for a few days. Plus, it doesn’t reflect upon anybody’s reputation but your own if you’re dating a guy in a not-so-great frat. But who cares, you’re clearly dating him for a reason. There’s really never going to be a stereotype attached to you from the get-go, people actually have to get to know you before they decide they don’t like you. It’s also never a big deal if your boyfriend passes out in your room while watching Netflix all day with you. You will not be sent to standards! If you know enough guys who are fraternity members, you’re also probably going to get asked to at least one formal.
You may not live in a mansion, but you probably have way more space. Those things end up seeming really tiny once you’re dividing the rooms between 100 girls. Yes, I’m sure it’s really nice being able to share 100 closets, but that also means when you lend clothes or shoes out, you’re probably not going to see them for a very long time. Not being in a house, your chances of seeing your things again are much higher because your sister probably didn’t lend those Jeffrey Campbells to your sister who let your sister wear them and accidentally left them in a certain room at a certain frat. You’re also allowed to wear what you want to wear. Just got new combat boots, but really want to wear a dress? There’s no rule against that!
Joining campus organizations and things that are primarily Greek are also really great as a geed because a) people will remember you and b) you’ll meet more friends in the Greek system who are cool. There’s no obligation to only sit with your sisters while wearing your matching quarter zips and talk about how unappetizing dinner was tonight. Plus, you’re not being forced to get involved in certain things on campus; you can join something you genuinely enjoy! Philanthropy is still philanthropy; you’re just not doing it because you’ll get fined otherwise.
In general, the Greek system is great. It encourages philanthropy, friendships, and well, partying. However, you don’t have to join to reap these benefits. Make friends, enjoy your big closet and private bathroom, and spread your wings and flock to frat parties because intermingling is fun! Just leave those cargos at home because they’ll never be okay.
Written by Claire Hitchins, a contributing writer for 10Worthy attending Indiana University.