Whether you’ve seen the announcement fliers, glanced at a Facebook event or glimpsed at the lettered apparel, the thought of going Greek has certainly crossed your mind. Nearly every female college student ponders whether to rush.
Certainly, joining a sorority is no trivial matter as your Greek experience will be forever embedded in your college memories. You will have to decide if a sisterhood is for you.
Community service: Sorority life means participating in major charity events, which not only add to your resume but also expose you to philanthropy organizations. Simmy Bhargava, a senior at Rutgers University and president of its Kappa Phi Gamma chapter, said her sorority raises about $1,000 for the Children’s Leukemia Foundation annually.
Life-long friendships: A sisterhood fosters strong bonds between members; each sorority has its own specific theme and value system that bring sorority members closer together. Elle Fowler, a fashion expert featured in Teen Vogue, said, “I met Britney, who is now one of my best friends for life, through my sorority. We lived together in college for three years.” Bhargava added that in a sorority, “you really become yourselves around a group of girls you normally may not have opened up to.”
Multi-dimensional growth: The ideal college experience is a multi-faceted one that encompasses all aspects of personal growth. One of the biggest advantages of a sorority is that the experience aids girls in developing social skills, leadership qualities and moral values. Fowler believes that sororities “are a great way to become well-rounded. You have the charity aspect, the social aspect, the sisterhood.”
Time commitment: Fowler admits that “there are lots of parties involved. You have a really packed schedule outside of classes. It is very time-consuming.” Besides the parties, socialization in a sorority comes with many unofficial events such as dinner dates and movie nights.
Pressure: A study done at Lafayette College, researchers studied the effects of sorority membership on behaviors like eating disorders and self-objectification. The researchers found that sorority girls were more likely than non-sorority girls to have anorexia or bulimia. The study also found that sorority members were more likely to have negative body images and judge themselves on physical appearance.
Substance abuse: In September 2005, a survey done by National Institute of Drug Abuse showed that illegal substance use was more common among sorority members than non-sorority women. Furthermore, sorority members had higher rates of alcohol, marijuana and cigarette use. This correlation is generally attributed to the peer pressure prevalent in Greek life.
So, if you’re a student contemplating whether to rush or not, there are some questions you may want to ask yourself. Are you someone who can balance homework and social events? Do you prefer a regimen instead of a flexible schedule? Are you someone who can effectively deal with peer pressure? If you answered yes to all these questions, then you may find Greek life is well worth the drawbacks.
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