Duke It Out: Going Greek

sorority

[It’s pretty obvious that the average CollegeCandy reader has some very strong opinions. Opinions that she likes to share with everyone on the site. We love a strong woman, so we thought we’d give her a real forum to discuss her thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. Every Friday I’ll be featuring a hot topic (like dating a geek!) and leaving it up to you, the readers, to duke it out. So, read it and get your debate on in the comments section below!]

Having spent my college years at a *ahem* non-traditional school, sororities were never something I considered – we don’t even have a campus, let alone a Greek system. But nonetheless, I suppose I’ve always looked down a bit on sorority girls… at least until recently when one of my best friends told me she was going to rush this year. So now, in all fairness, it seems like I owe it to these Greek girls to re-examine my thoughts.

I can certainly see the appeal of a sorority – the belonging, the sisterhood, and it would definitely have been handy to have some older girls around as a kind of mentor for those times when I let myself get out of hand. You have a place to live (a place that’s probably nicer than the dorms); you have a choice of what kind of group you want to be with, so you probably have some things in common. By being thrown into a sort of automatic family, you up your chances of making friends, moreso than in most ordinary social situations, and you are more bonded with those friends because of all that you share.

Greek life is also known for creating strong leaders (look at how many politicians were involved in a frat or sorority) and can be a great networking opp since many former Greek-ers (like, maybe, your boss), will go the extra mile to help out someone from their old house.  You never have to spend those sad nights (or weeks) alone, camped out on your bed after a breakup with no one to talk to. Plus, sororities (from what I understand) tend to organize parties and events and things that would force you to get out and have fun, even if you were, say, a shy underclassmen.

The downsides, of course, are related to many of the same things. Sororities tend to be about the group, which can throw a lot of peer pressure into the mix and that can be hard to deal with unless you’re very assertive.  And that pressure seems particularly counter-intuitive since this is the time in our lives when we’re supposed to be finding ourselves. The group is very self-contained (ie. they protect their own, and if you threaten that, you have a problem) and can also be time consuming (especially if you get into a leadership position), which means you had better be really good at organization or your grades could suffer over something that probably won’t make much difference on your resume.

And all of those social engagements, well once you’re in, you’re expected to represent your house so you might not be able to just blow off some fundraiser you don’t care about, even if you really need to get that term paper done. And for that same reason, it’s probably going to be much harder to keep up friendships with people who aren’t in the sorority, since so much of your social life will revolve around the house.

The biggest downsides to sororities, of course, are the most obvious and talked about. We’ve all heard the stories of sororities who refuse to accept or kick out girls of certain body types or ethnic backgrounds, and I won’t even get into hazing since it’s technically banned on most campuses (but a cursory Internet search can give you more horror stories there than you ever wanted to know).  Oh, and by the way, there are usually dues. That’s right, at most sororities, you have to pay to stay, and if you’re strapped for cash already, that might be bigger commitment than you want to make.

So, what do you say ladies? Am I being unfair? Are the benefits of belonging to a sorority worth the risks? Would you go Greel, or do you still not get the girls of sorority row?

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