As a college professor, I can honestly say that no other issue inspires such heated debates among my students than the question of whether or not to join a sorority or fraternity.
We've had class debates, and countless thought-provoking papers have been written on the subject.
No matter what side they're on, all students have one thing in common: they have definite opinions about Greek life.
Some students think pledging is a silly, expensive waste of time. Other students swear that the people in their organization become wonderful friends and role models.
Greek life is a study in contrasts: college newspapers are constantly featuring headlines about drunken stunts gone wrong and illegal hazing, yet those same papers publish studies showing that sorority and fraternity members achieve a higher GPA than non-members.
You always hear views from people within the organization or from people who never wanted to be in one. What about the students who want in, but are rejected? Is this something inane, or does it really, truly matter?
This nicely written Essay from College News may help you decide:
At 8-years-old I remember hanging out in my brotherÂ´s fraternity house. It was a rickety old house with decaying walls, chipped paint and a pungent aroma of soured milk and aged garbage. I loved it so much that right then I declared one day I was going to join a sorority and live in a house exactly like that one.
When it was time for me to narrow down my college choices, Indiana University fell into the number one spot. Besides their great journalism program, they had one of the largest Greek systems in the nation. It was a perfect fit.
Within a few weeks, I had made a great group of girlfriends from my dorm floor. I couldnÂ´t wait for the recruitment process to begin; I knew my new friends and I would all end up in the same sorority.
It was the day after our last rush party, and our rush counselors were handing us our bids. One by one I watched my friends go into a room and walk out with grins on their faces. It was my turn. My heart was pounding. This was the moment IÂ´d been waiting my whole life for.
I anxiously opened the door and sat, wide-eyed, in front of my rush counselor. Her face was sullen, and eyes blurred with tears.
"WhatÂ´s the matter?" I asked with concern.
"I donÂ´t know how to tell you this-thereÂ´s no easy way, so…here." She handed me a thin envelope with my name typed on the front.
"ItÂ´s thin," I said nervously. "Thin isnÂ´t good."
Like a band-aid, I ripped it open. It read:
We regret to inform you that we could not place you in a sorority.
The most intense pain was the ache of rejection. WasnÂ´t I pretty enough? Smart enough? Did I not own the right clothes? I felt humiliated, like all my bad traits and unattractive qualities had been nit-picked and put on display for everyone to see. IÂ´d spent 19 years trying to build my self-esteem and in one instant, it plummeted.
The next day was brutal. All the freshmen girls were told to wear their lettered sweatshirts so the entire university could see into what sorority theyÂ´d been accepted. Everywhere I looked there were girls in letters; it seemed like everyone had gotten into a sorority but me.
I carried the hurt around for months. My pride and sense of worth had been squashed. But even so, I realized something incredibly important; something that not only got me through college, but also gets me through every day of my life.
Things donÂ´t always go as planned.
We can spend our entire lives thinking things are supposed to happen a certain way, and when they donÂ´t, if weÂ´re too focused on the couldas and shouldas, we miss out on what actually is there.What do you think? Are sororities and fraternities an important part of college life, or do they divert attention from 'more important' things? Have you ever been rejected from a Greek organization, or are you part of one now? Please share!