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AEPhi Phollies at American University

Think Carefully Before Joining Greek Life

AEPhi Phollies at American University
By Tiffany Teng

To incoming college students, many of whom are away from the comfort of home for the first time, joining a sorority or a fraternity can be an alluring prospect if for those who seek an wide, easy-to-reach social circle. However, it’s not all fun and games for those in Greek Life. Here are some of the downsides:

  1. Hazing. Many are familiar with the concept of hazing, the subjection of individuals to humiliating and potentially harmful tasks. In order to be accepted into the Greek house, the person must complete a designated task in its entirety to prove his or her dedication to the sorority/fraternity. It is often considered a rite of passage for those seeking to enter Greek life. Hazing can range from something as harmless as making someone run a few laps around the track to forcing someone to chug unsafe amounts of alcohol. For the more extreme dares, joining the sorority is usually just not worth risking health and safety issues. For example, last year a Dartmouth alumni spoke out about how she was forced to chug 64 ounces of spiked punch and vodka shots, then was pushed out of a moving car. She woke up in the hospital later on the verge of a coma.
  2. It’s exclusive- but not in a good way. The desire to get into a sorority lies in its exclusivity, which typically makes something seem a lot more important than it actually may be in retrospection. The hype of getting into a Greek house may influence a person’s perception of their self-worth, implying that their value lies in whether or not they can be admitted to a sorority.
  3. Not including gifts for bigs/littles as well as other small gifts for other people, joining a sorority costs upwards of a thousand dollars per year to live in the house. Broke college students know that it is hard enough to pay for tuition, let alone presents for a lot of other people.
  4. They’re not real sisters. This one is quite obvious, but when you live in a house with other people, you are sort of obligated to like each other or at least pretend to get along. This may be exhausting to always have to put on a likeable front. Instead, you should seek to find a friend group that likes your company for what it is, not because they feel obligated to.

These are just some of the downsides of Greek life. However, many people still enjoy joining houses for its obvious benefits, including easily connecting with other people. As with many lifestyle choices, Greek life has its ups and downs.


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