With so much writing I have been doing about what I wish I knew and what I learned from college I thought this is one topic that seemed to be the theme of many of the things I got from school. While Greek life didn’t necessarily shape my entire collegiate experience, it did pave the way for most of it. Many people have a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to fraternities and sororities. Side note, we don’t like being called Frat’s 🙂 if you really want to know a funny phrase as to why send me a message it’s not blog-appropriate. There are a lot of misconceptions about Greek life and much of it has to do with what is perceived through word of mouth, assumptions and television. I had most of these preconceived idea’s as well, but I was proven wrong time and time again.
My personal story starts during the summer before freshman year when the university had everyone there for a few days for orientation. My orientation leader seemed like a cool guy and we all hung out during our few days there. On move in day I ran into him again and he gave me a flier about his fraternity and I thought I would check it out. One event led to another and a few months later I was being initiated after pledging. I quickly became very involved in my fraternity and Greek life as a whole on campus joining committees and being voted onto the executive board of my chapter.
Being Greek had many benefits that continue through this day.
Networking – This could be the best benefit of being Greek. You meet unbelievable amounts and varieties of people. From school administration to business owners in the community. My fraternity started a veterans appreciation events on campus with hundreds in attendance raising over $10,000 for the event. We were able to bring in a correspondent from Fox to be our key note speaker, representatives from all branches of the military traveled to attend the event and many Gold Star Mothers from the area. I was also able to attend presidents academy at our national office in Missouri where I met chapter presidents and alumni from across the country. With social media what it is today the networking doesn’t stop when you graduate. There are groups where you can reach out to brothers/sisters from across the country for job assistance, recommendation, discussions and much more.
Skills – Another substantial benefit from Greek life was the skills I learned throughout my experience. From recruiting to finances and negotiation these were and are valuable real-life skills. Within your potential Greek organization will be finances, bank accounts, fundraising and bills, insurance and much more depending on the size and what you do. In addition, you have to learn and constantly groom your recruiting habits. People are different and we saw a different recruiting style my freshman year compared to four years later in my senior year. As the crowd changes you have to keep up. For those that pursued human resources or recruiting as a career path after college, these skills were incredibly valuable. Most Greek organizations also put on events such as formals at function halls, fundraisers and philanthropy. These events came with people management, security, risk management and contract negotiation. When all was said and done I felt like I was ready to run an entire enterprise!
Social – It’s no secret that fraternities and sororities tend to have a few social events and/or gatherings every semester. I can promise you that 90% of the time it looks nothing like what you see in movies with people hanging out of windows and passed out drunk in the front lawn. Much of this has to do with where you go. If you go to a party that is at a school which is heavily influenced on Greek life you might be partying in a million dollar house with more bedrooms then some hotels. In other cases you might be in a small apartment in a house. The experience itself is very regional as trends develop for different regions of the country, but all in all you are bound to meet people, have plenty to do and usually never a dull Friday night.
Pride – Don’t get this one misconstrued. While I am well aware of the “cocky frat kid” attitude, this isn’t what I mean. Similarly to how an athlete shows pride in their sports team jersey or an organization president shows pride in their organization by dressing formally on meeting days or the like, a fraternity brother or sorority sister should be proud of what they were able to achieve during their time. Wear the letter proudly and acknowledge your accomplishments through leadership and philanthropic efforts to the community. Many people go through their college time without getting involved or doing much but you chose a different path and helped others while doing it.