What to expect from Greek life at Illinois

By Andrea Flores, Longform Editor

At this point, you’ve probably noticed that Greek life is a large part of campus. It’s likely that you’ve already seen groups of students together, chanting and wearing the same shirts, and you may be wondering if sorority or fraternity life is right for you.

I knew nearly nothing about Greek life when I arrived on campus, and even if you have friends or family who have joined a chapter, you likely still have some questions of your own.

I did not join a sorority until my sophomore year, and the following notes are all aspects of Greek life I learned about in my year apart from the community, which eventually influenced my decision to join.

Financial responsibility

It’s no secret that college and Greek life are pricey, so if you’re considering rushing for a sorority or fraternity, be prepared to pay up.

Joining a chapter, as exciting as it is, will only add to an already expensive college budget, and it’s important to consider that before thinking further about going through formal or informal recruitment.

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    However, sorority and fraternity dues are manageable. I’ve been paying for my chapter’s dues out of pocket through part-time jobs on campus. I know many of my friends do the same, and other friends have help from their families or financial aid packages.

    Time commitment

    Movies and recruitment videos often don’t show how much dedication and consistency is necessary for fraternity and sorority life.

    There are a variety of different meetings, retreats, philanthropy and service events, both within and outside of each chapter, along with different social events. Some may be required while others are optional.

    Believe it or not, it is possible to manage classes, work, other Registered Student Organizations and Greek life. I am one to always have a lot on my plate, but somehow, I am still able to pull it off. I find that keeping busy makes my college experience feel much more fulfilled. If you’re like me, Greek life may be good for you.

    It’s not for everyone

    During my freshman year, I had several classmates who were dead set on joining a chapter, but when things didn’t work out, they were, of course, devastated. They felt rejected and disappointed, and their whole college experience seemed over before it started.

    But those feelings quickly passed, because everyone can find their own home on campus. There are so many RSOs and groups to pursue, all with extraordinary students, and it will only be a matter of time before you can find your people on campus.

    I am so happy in my chapter, but I know the cards don’t always line up for everyone. Greek life will not make or break your entire college experience, but it’s definitely a valuable experience.

    If you have the dedication and schedule to pursue Greek life, I would recommend it. My experience has been worth it, and I’m sure yours will be too.

    Andrea is a senior in Media.

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