Flirting for Friendship: Why Greek Life Wasn’t For Me

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I’m not ashamed to say I was extremely awkward my freshman year of college. I’ve come to terms with my awkwardness and it isn’t something I should be hiding. Coming from the comfort of the suburbs of a small town to go to college in San Diego was the biggest plunge I’ve ever taken. At the time, I thought I was more than ready to take on the challenge. I left behind friends, family and a cute shih tzu named Bruno who would rather laze about on the floor than cuddle with me. I did not expect from college was a total feeling of isolation and a longing to be with Bruno despite his aversion to me.

When you go to SDSU, the one thing you have to keep in mind is that the student body is swimming with cookie-cutter “brothers” and “sisters.” By the second week, the tents went up, as did the masses of Greek letter wearing, bro-talking, fist-pumping fraternities. It was almost like a culture shock to me. Two things went through my mind: “Don’t look me in the eye” and “Wow, these guys really want me to join.”

In a way, the rushing process is like going out on a date. You lie about your interests, say you’re in to stuff that you secretly hate, and wait until they accept you to let all of your flaws loose. I’m not one to date, but it was nice to flirt. Honestly, after all the frat stereotypes and hazing stories from countless viewings of Animal House and Greek, I knew that Greek life wasn’t something I wanted.

Prior to coming to SDSU, my cousin attended and rushed a fraternity. I don’t recall the letters, but I could say any combination of three Greek letters and it would sound right. One night he asked if I wanted free food and the college mentality made “free” the only word that meant anything. When we got to the restaurant, a saw a group of guys standing outside in a large circle. Poor, naïve freshman me didn’t realize that he brought me to a rush event.

Again, I didn’t really care because c’mon, free food. I attempted to mingle a.k.a make small talk about chicken wings and outdated references to when Jessica Simpson made that comment about how “buffalos don’t have wings.” I didn’t really hit it off with most of the guys and my cousin went off to talk to his old college buddies. There I was, an island amidst a sea of potential friends. It was at that point that I began to ask myself questions. Did I really want to be in a frat? It’s only the second week, I have time to make friends, right? I wonder if they’ll notice me sneaking out? I simply didn’t click with this group of guys.

I never really cast a negative light on the Greek system. If anything, I value the bonds they create, but that’s about it. I like the idea of being handed your friends for life (with a price), but a part of me wanted to actually try to make my own friends. It’s nice to have things handed to you, but I felt like there was more to my college experience and I hoped to find it on my own. My journey has been rough at times, but I managed to make it through without needing to flirt my way to friendships. The only downside is, my dog still won’t cuddle with me.

Jason Credo is a fourth-year English major at San Diego State University. He hopes to one day be able to write an Emmy award-winning TV show that gets ten seasons and then becomes syndicated.

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