More Than a Degree: Sororities and Fraternities, Experiences, Skills
By Tracy Wright
Many college students choose to live the “Greek life” during their educational pursuits. But is it right for you?
While you’re deciding, you should try to put aside the stereotypes – hazing and parties, most notably – often portrayed in the movies and media. Like any other big decision during your college career, an impartial outlook and some personal research can go a long way in your choice.
Pros: Community and Engagement
From housing to solid leadership opportunities, fraternities and sororities can offer all kids of benefits to their student members. But it is the social advantage that convinces many students to join. These organizations often stand on brotherhood and sisterhood as their founding principles, giving members a strong support group throughout their commitment.
Public service and a dedication to the community are a couple of cornerstones of “Greek life.”
Sororities and fraternities often make major impacts on their campus and in surrounding areas through fundraisers, volunteering and event planning. Putting their faces into the public spotlight is also a great way of spreading the word about their organizational values and goals.
Many members can also benefit from scholarship opportunities, not to mention the network of alumni ready to offer a helping hand. These connections can serve as invaluable ways to land employment after college, as well as lifelong mentor-student relationships.
Cons: Time Commitment and Cost
Aside from the sometimes negative stigma attached to members of fraternities and sororities, there are other cons to consider for any student looking to join.
Many organizations can be huge time commitments, making it difficult to fully focus on studies, work or other activities. Find out before joining exactly how much time can be expected of you, both during the week and at special events over the weekends.
Membership dues are also something to take into consideration. Many fraternities and sororities require regular monthly payments to keep up with facilities and programming improvements. Make sure you can cover these extra costs before you commit to take the pledge.
So, while you’re considering pros and cons, remember that research is key. Don’t be afraid to seek information on all campus houses you are eligible to join. Set up interviews and ask your adviser for recommendations. The more questions you ask, the better the chance that you will find the fit that is right for you.
College is a time to learn, but it is also a time of growth. Here are five must-have experiences you should enjoy and five must-have skills you should develop before graduation day.
These experiences will not only enrich your college experience but will serve as lessons you will take with you, helping you long after you’ve graduated.
- Reading as much as possible. Anything. All the time.
- Volunteering. Volunteer experience does look good on a resume, but it also is about being a part of something that is bigger than yourself. Find a cause you care about and give back.
- Getting work experience. Jobs teach responsibility. They provide us with an income and show us that we can collaborate with people of all different backgrounds and personalities.
- Taking at least one class just because. Because you’ve always been interested in modern architecture, because you wouldn’t mind knowing a bit more about drawing, because the astronomy class takes a field trip into the desert in November and it sounds awesome. Just because.
- Studying abroad (if possible). It combines travel with studying. And there is almost always a way to obtain at least a few course credits for it, if not an entire semester.
No matter what you majored in, some skills are universal.
- Strong people skills. No matter what your profession, you will need to network to be successful.
- Understanding how you work best. This allows you to create an effective routine so you can easily set and achieve your goals.
- Learning how to make your money work for you. Know how to set up and stick to a budget. This might seem like an easy task, but it will help you understand financial language, as well as the options available to you later on when you want to buy a car or a home.
- Figuring out what your personal brand is. Companies are constantly screening prospective employees. How do you want to look? Google yourself and see what pops up. This is what companies see.
- Incidental technical skills. Photo editing might not be particularly relevant to your career field, but it comes in handy in many jobs. You’ll appreciate it in your personal life as well. Soak up the opportunity to diversify.