Going into college, I never saw myself as a sorority girl. I’d seen the cliché movies and heard about all of the scary things that happen during pledging. Fast forward to sophomore year, where I found myself endlessly debating whether or not I wanted to pledge a sorority with my best friends.
I worried about pledging and what they would make me do. Hearing the pledge mistresses explain everything pledging entailed, I felt very intimidated. Wearing costumes? Writing on my face? Pledging didn’t seem completely worth it.
Pledging has gotten a really bad reputation in the past 10 years. Many college campuses are starting to crack down on hazing. Most of us have seen and heard about those crazy frats making their pledges drink excessively and the sorority making one of their pledges shave her head.
Pledging and hazing might seem like the same thing, but they’re definitely not. Pledging a Greek organization entails everything they make you do in order to get initiated. Hazing specifically refers to dangerous or harmful activities that might be required.
My college completely revamped their hazing policy this year to make sure that none of the pledges felt unsafe or uncomfortable at any point. Pledging started with meeting my sorority Big and her immediately blindfolding me. My new Big led me around campus. She asked me to do some silly things like sing songs, do a few pushups and write my letters on my face. None of it got that bad. I never felt like the situation could ever become dangerous.
As pledging went on I started to feel more comfortable doing crazy things when I saw other pledges doing the exact same thing as me and feeling the exact same way. You’re never going to be alone in the experience. I even got to the point where I felt fine going to class dressed as a cow.
I understand that pledging can sometimes turn into hazing or get out of hand. Sometimes schools should regulate it. But many times, the tasks that sororities require pledges to do seem negative to an outsider. But there’s nothing really dangerous about dressing as a cow or showing your pledge status to your entire campus.
Actually, I love pledging and think that it can make your college experience more complete. I learned to trust my Big while blindfolded. My pledge sisters and I bonded quickly thanks to all the things we had to learn. Though it might seem easy to memorize a family tree, the Greek alphabet and a bunch of other things about your sorority. Honestly, it feels more like studying for another four-credit class. I also met and became friends with all of the actives by doing things for them, even silly things like drawing them a picture. My pledging experience was a far cry from anything you probably saw on TV.
If you ask any sorority member, she’ll tell you that the goal of pledging should never be to hurt a pledge. In reality, the goal is really get to know you as a member and figure out who would best fit in their sorority. All of the pledging tasks should bring you closer to your Big, your pledge sisters and the girls in your sorority. So if you ever find yourself debating whether or not pledging is worth it—just do it. Don’t stress or believe that the things you see girls in movies do will resemble your actual experience.