At the risk of sounding cliché, I will admit that giving the Greek system a chance was the best decision I’ve ever made. Going into college, I was unsure about the idea. Despite my “black sheep” status, my whole family had been Greek, and everyone insisted that I at least give it a shot. I didn’t think I would like it, because I was ignorant enough to believe everything I had heard about sororities in shitty college movies and drunken horror stories splayed all over the media.
I was shocked when I found out that the preconceived notions I had on the average “sorority girl” were completely wrong. Simply put, I fell in love. When I eventually got my foot in the door and started involving myself, I was shocked to find that not only did everything I had heard turn out to be false, but there was a whole other world beyond the typical sorority girl image. At first, I wanted to tell the world what it was actually like. I eventually realized that I don’t have to.
Those who don’t understand the system will blow off the values we hold, and instead spread lies about the way we spend these treasured college years. They’ll say we’re dumb, despite the fact that we maintain a higher GPA average than the rest of the student body. They’ll say we’re alcoholics, exploiting the fact that we’re not afraid to have a good time. They’ll say we don’t care about our community, or anything other than ourselves for that matter. We still contribute more to our philanthropies than any other organization gives, and for reasons other than adding more T-shirts to our closets. We’re not blind to the stereotypes we fall under, or the stigma that our lifestyle suggests. We just don’t care.
This is because we know that being Greek is a privilege, not a right. Those who say they “chose” not to go Greek don’t quite understand what they’re saying. Nobody “chooses” to go Greek. You have to work for it. We spend our time racking up extracurriculars, service hours, and top-notch grades. We dedicate our time to being a part of something bigger than ourselves. We work every day to mold ourselves into women who lead, not follow. There’s a reason we display our letters when we go out. It’s because we earned them, and we aren’t afraid to be proud of that.
In a perfect world, we would be able to explain all the amazing things we take away from our sororities to those who hate on our system, but we can’t. How do you explain to someone the bond you feel with 100 or more amazing women? How do you put into words the overwhelming sense of support and love we feel on a daily basis? There isn’t a way to describe the days we laughed until our stomachs hurt, or the nights we cried until there weren’t any tears left, all while having a trustworthy group of sisters at our side. You can’t convey that to someone who hasn’t lived it, because the only way to see what being Greek is really like is by actually being Greek.
We aren’t hurt by the words of those who think going Greek is a mere choice, because we know that it’s so much more than that. This also is why we don’t feel the need to explain ourselves. Every Greek woman could spend hours debunking stereotypes thrown at her on a daily basis–stereotypes that scare others away from “chosing” to go Greek. In the end, knowing how much we get out of the experience helps us to rise above the negative connotations implied by the sacred letters on our chests.