Greek life is worth the cost

By Miranda Holloway

The common argument against joining Greek life is that it’s just paying for friends. In some ways that’s true, but writing off Greek life in this way discounts all the opportunities that go along with membership.

For the sake of transparency, I should say that I pay for Greek life, along with school, on my own. It’s not easy, and has lead to some high-stress phone calls with my parents, but I make it work because I find it to be a valuable investment in both my college experience and my future.

In a way, I pay for my friends. I do this in the sense that I pay for my sorority and I happen to be friends with the girls in my sorority, but there is far more than the friendships that make the cost of Greek life worthwhile. 

I pay my bill every month because it means I am part of something bigger than myself, something that provides academic, social and philanthropic opportunities while I am in school and that provides a network of support after I graduate.

At such a big university, it was important for my own sense of belonging to be part of a community. Greek life has provided a community where I gain leadership roles, interact with people I would have otherwise never met and be active in philanthropic activities I would not have access to as an unaffiliated student.

Greek life at the University is big, but the community is small, which provides for connections and a support system that gives students a greater chance for success.

As an academic advantage, many chapters have study files where students can see notes and quizzes from older members. Membership also gives younger students more access to older students in their majors who can recommend classes and give tips on extra-curriculars, graduate school admissions and more.

Attending a large university like this, it’s important for students to find a niche so they don’t find themselves floating around without a sense of direction. Greek life is a niche where students can peruse their strengths and test out new interests. 

If a student has always been interested in volunteering, they can work on their chapter’s philanthropy team. If they’re looking to go into business, they can be a treasurer. The list goes on and on, but the big picture is that while they are making friends in the Greek system, undergraduates can make connections and take chances that will benefit them academically, personally and professionally.

The buzz word of my argument so far is ‘connections.’ It’s not going anywhere.

I’m only going to be junior, but I have already been able to reach out to many of my organization’s alumni who are in my field to ask questions and do some early networking. I have gone to interviews where my Greek affiliation has been brought up and the interviewer has a personal, positive connection to someone in that organization.

And remember those friends you were paying for earlier? They don’t disappear after graduates walk across the stage. Alumni chapters around the country provide graduates with connections no matter where the wind blows them in their future, whether they were part of a local chapter or not.

I understand the hesitation many parents have about their child joining Greek life. There is some truth to the party-filled atmosphere and there are bad seeds within the community. The truth is, there are these influences in people everywhere on campus, not just in Greek life.

So, when you feel like all you’re paying for is for your son or daughter to stay up until all hours of the night with their new pledge class, know that they, along with these people, are a part of a community that will give them support and opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have.

Miranda is a junior in Media.

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