So You’ve Gone Greek

As they round the corner, the field comes into view, peppered with bouncing packs of color, coordinated sorority girls, all cheering, clapping and shouting their individual chants.
A cacophony of strained shouts erupts from these huddles, their vocal chords exhausted from days of excited conversation and bubbly songs perfected for rush weekend, as each skittle-colored group attempts to out-shout the other.
The marching legions of new members line up facing their new sorority sisters, a sea of grass between them. When given the signal, they sprint across the field with open arms, like something out of the movie ‘The Notebook.’
Chapter by chapter, new members collide with old; tears are shed, hugs are shared and words of welcome are imparted. The future seems to be brimming with promise and ‘BFFs.’
Yet despite all the celebration and buzz, as a new member of a sorority, you can’t help but listen to the stirring sensation in your gut that nags, ‘please girl, this is just the honeymoon phase.’ They bake you cookies.
They take you out. They shower you with adoration and affection. Your new letters are boldly displayed on your chest, an affiliation that suddenly becomes part of your identity.
You’re not just you anymore; you’re one of ‘them,’ whoever ‘they’ may be. Overwhelmed yet? That’s par for the course, but you’re not alone.
‘It’s unrealistic to expect to come into a group of 98 girls and expect to have 98 instant best friends,’ says Kathryn Lee, a recent graduate and alumnus of Alpha Phi.
She adds, ‘However, over the course of your membership in a sorority or fraternity, you realize what it’s really all about.
Sure, you meet a group of wonderful girls, come away with a few handfuls of incredibly close friendships, meet tons of new people, network, maybe get a few jobs from it, have some fun, but ultimately, it helps you define the rest of who you are as an individual, because you’re being challenged and shaped by your sisters or bros every single day. And that’s the real value of Greek life.’
It’s hard to flash forward to your senior year and attempt to visualize how membership in a fraternity or sorority will ultimately impact your college years.
But somehow, your parents sure can, and it involves a 2.0 GPA, a whole lot of Jaegermeister and a degree in Underwater Basket Weaving, but that is not usually the case. Besides, only the University of Central Arkansas has a degree in Underwater Basket Weaving (check it out).
‘Most qualified, accomplished, involved people I know at UCI are Greek,’ says Joshua Mora, a senior in Sigma Alpha Epsilon. ‘It’s overwhelming at first, to think that your life has to suddenly shift gears once you join, but it doesn’t change you necessarily, it just exposes you to all these new opportunities and outlets.
People who aren’t Greek don’t assume it’s like that, but it’s not just about hanging out with a bunch of people you can party with