Throw What You Know

By Megan Baker

Buying friends, only in it for the parties, stuck up, spoiled, exclusive, no new friends.

These derogatory words describe the most significant opportunity that has ever happened to me. Greek life has a way of being judged negatively, however there is so much more to what these organizations are really about. It may not be a way of life for everyone, which is acceptable considering that before college I had my own similar opinions on the idea.

Growing up I was always a shy person, the type to stand off in the corner and need a comfort person around (such as my mom or a close friend). I grew out of this shell of course, but when the time of choosing which college I was going to be attending in the fall came around, I wanted to follow in the footsteps of the easiest path that would make me feel most comfortable. Although I knew there were much greater options out there than staying in state, I still applied to the school that basically my whole high school would be going to, Colorado State University.

I thought that I was going to be a ram… This seemed to be the right choice until I spontaneously applied to Arizona State University.

And I got accepted.

This was an eye opening experience for my me and my family because this is when I knew that there might be more to college that reliving high school at CSU.

Choosing between the school of my dreams, and the school that was my comfort blanket may have been one of the most confusing times in my life. I can remember going to get ice cream during these months with my best friend Anna, and standing in front of the flavors not able to make up my mind. I had a block in my head about making decisions until I knew which school I was going to.

Fortunately, I knew from my gut that if I did not go to ASU I would always question what I was missing out on, but I had a close group of friends in high school, so I questioned how I was going to find good friends in college. I knew I was going to have to break down my walls, which twisted my stomach into knots just thinking about at night.

The only knowledge that I had about sororities were that they were partiers, had a lot of money, and that I could never be in one. On the inside I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself, but I did not know how to achieve this. So, I went to my cousin, who was a Pi Phi and University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. She is one of the most inspiring people that I have ever met, but wait she’s not the typical snobby sorority girl. She told me how much she loves all of her sisters, and how she would not have experienced college fully without being in a sorority. This opened my eyes to the idea.

August 20th, 2014.

This day was the first day of recruitment. I had never wanted to be a part of a sorority so badly in my whole entire life until this moment. The days were long and exhausting, but after a long week of screaming girls, bouncing hair, and finally perfecting my girl flirting, I was ready for bid day.

I had no idea who these women were, or why they had chosen me, but I was now an ASU Alpha Phi, and I could not keep the smile off of my face.

I had gone from knowing less than ten people on the campus; to almost 300 girls that treated me life I had known them for a lifetime. Of course this process of finding friends may seem cheesy to some people, but it was what I needed at the moment of adjusting to a new place of living, a new school, and no new friends. I instantly started to get to know these girls that called me their ‘sister,’ and I realized I had made on of the best decisions of my life.

The experiences that I have had while being in a sorority, that I would not have been able to do if I was not in one, are uncountable. I have learned more about the importance of giving back to others, how Greek life is not a competition, but a community, and that I would always have a comfort blanket within this new home I was getting myself into.

When I try to explain what my life in a sorority consists of to my parents, they naturally question if it is really worth it for the money. Personally my life would be completely different if my college career did not consist of Alpha Phi. Knowing that if I chose not to go through the long days of recruitment I would not have met my new best friends, I would not have events to go to constantly, questions what I would be doing with all of my free time. This is a decision that I made to be apart of, so I would never ask my parents to add another huge cost to their bank account for them to pay on top of college. This was a benefit to me, so I pay for being in a sorority all on my own. It is an accomplishment that I am proud of, so that when people ask if it is just a bunch of rich kids, I can prove them wrong.

Less than 2% of a college student’s expenses go towards paying for Greek Life. This number is particularly low considering that seven million dollars is raised annually nation wide for different causes, by these same people.

Stuck up they say. Conceded even.

When I joined Alpha Phi I knew that I was joining an organization, where I would hopefully make many friends. What I did not know was the Greek life community that I was also joining. In movies, or through stories people make it seem as if the rivalry between different sorority or fraternity members were very apparent to one another. However this is completely false. Greek life as a whole is small compared to the overall population of Arizona State University. With this being said, it is important to boost each other up, and come together as a strong community instead of showing negative, rivalry to everyone else. Panhellenic love is a term used on every campus, and it is vital to keep true. It is important to prove positive outlooks on Greek life, so that it remains existent on campuses.

With any college experience there is an assumption of partying with mass amounts of drugs and alcohol. Of course these stereotypes account for a percentage of college students, but not everyone. This same assumption goes for members in a sorority or fraternity. Just because someone is associated with these organizations does not mean that they are getting ‘wasted’ every weekend like it is advertised in the media.

From personal experience, being in a sorority has helped hold myself accountable for finishing my schoolwork to get the grades that I want.

Hold on. Isn’t that anther stereotype, that most sorority girls and frat guys are dumb?

There a specific GPA requirements that must be met with each sorority. This is not to have a parental figure lecturing about grades, but simply to be aware of those whom might be struggling so that they can receive that correct support that is needed.

Any day of the week, Friday, Saturdays, and even special holidays, I have been able to find sisters to stay in and do homework, or watch Netflix with. The belief that Greek life is full of just dumb partiers is one that can go jump off of a cliff.

43 out of the top 50 of the nation’s top corporation’s owners were Greek men.

 76% of congressman and senators were in Greek life.

 All of the Apollo 11 astronauts were in Greek life.

Categorizing such a large population of the nation under the same stereotypes, just because they are Greek life members is unrealistic. There are 123 fraternities or sororities that have over nine million members in them…

I don’t believe that they were all stuck up, dumb, partiers.

When I first came to ASU I was afraid to even walk outside alone. I wanted to find a group of people that would understand me for me, instead of just fitting in with whoever I met first. Being in a sorority has truly blessed me beyond belief. I know that no matter where I go, there will always be a familiar face that I can go to which is the ultimate comfort blanket for me personally. Knowing that I am apart of something that is greater than just myself truly gives me a reason to be a better person. I would never want to be represented negatively, and neither would any of my sisters, which hold ourselves accountable for being the best versions of ourselves that we can be. Greek life may not be for everyone, but to me it is a home away from home where I can count on my friends to always have my back.

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