The Greeks. You see them in the movies. You see the photos on Facebook. You see the strange symbols plastered on every tee-shirt, and have no idea what they mean. Some say the letters stand for brotherhood. Some say they stand for leadership. And some say they are fancy dollar signs representing the amount of money it costs to make friends in college. So, how do you know if Greek Life is right for you? Here are a few things you need to know before rushing into student organizations at your school:
Discover your interests
Before joining an organization, you must ask yourself, what am I interested in? Despite what the movies say, there is more to college than Greek life and athletics. Are you looking to get more involved with your major? Are you interested in community service? Your school offers something for everyone, but you may be unsure what it has to offer. Visit your student center or university website to learn about different opportunities waiting for you that don’t require a pledging process.
Keep your options open
Organizations are eager to recruit new students each semester. Think of these recruiters as salespeople. Every club is going to persuade you that their organization is perfect for you. But you wouldn’t buy a product without researching it first, right? If you buy the first car you see and look no further, you may find a better fit for you down the road. The same goes for student organizations. Learn about the sorority. Ask questions. The first club to approach you may not be right for you, so be patient and selective.
Spend your money wisely
Not all organizations are free. Some have a one-time fee, while others have dues every semester. Greek life is one of the more costly organizations, and has a higher initiation fee compared to other clubs. Don’t forget, social outings can add up quickly and are known to eat your wallet while you aren’t looking! Be sure to ask about dues before committing. Money may or may not be your deciding factor for joining an organization, but is definitely something you should consider.
So, what should you do if you are approached by an organization? Be yourself! Express your interests and explain what you are looking for in an organization. You don’t need to commit on the spot. Go to a few interest meetings and see if the club still appeals to you. Once you are adjusted to the new semester you will have a better understanding of what your schedule is like, what you have time for and what you are looking for. Good luck and don’t stress! Everything will fall into place naturally.
Image: Kent State University