Two years ago I made the best decision of my life when I chose to join a sisterhood and became a part of something bigger than I ever imaged for myself. No matter the chapter, Greek life is a unique community. For those of us that are part of it, we see firsthand how amazing it is, but for others who may not be, or whose parents are unaffiliated (like mine), they don’t always understand how important Greek life is. I have compiled a list of the top five reasons what my parents don’t understand about Greek life.
1. Paying thousands of $ in dues
I think this is one of the top reasons because, although I pay for the dues myself, my parents don’t understand why I can invest so much money into an organization, when I can barely afford to eat off of the dollar menu at McDonald’s. They don’t understand that I may be investing a huge amount of money, but the end return is far greater. We’ve all heard the saying, “If people say I pay for my friends, then I clearly didn’t pay enough.” This is completely relatable and something I’ve found myself saying to my parents, when they question why I chose to join an organization that is only putting me more in debt. What they don’t realize is that my sisters and friends that I am making within the Greek life community could potentially be the ones who could be helping me get a job in the future.
2. Hazing must be a real thing
Thanks to Hollywood and every other movie depicting sorority girls, my unaffiliated parents only know what the media feeds them. I know there have been multiple occasions, particularly when I first joined my sorority, where they would say, “Remember you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.” I took this as, ‘those girls are going to make you do things that make you uncomfortable, which is not something you should want to be a part of.’ In reality, hazing has gone down tremendously over the past few years and at schools like mine, it is taken as a serious defense and absolutely prohibited. We even have a whole week dedicated to hazing prevention, and my parents still continue to assume I am being forced to do something that doesn’t fit my morals.
3. So is formal, like another prom?
‘Tis the season for formals, and my mom constantly asks if the guy I’m going with will be coming home with me for Christmas? Obviously this answer is a big NO since I am more single than Chris Brown in 2009. Although formals are less fancy than our high school proms, they are still a highlight for everyone in Greek Life, and taken twice as seriously as prom was back in the day. My parents don’t see how I can afford to attend multiple formals and go with a different date to each one. They will see me post pictures on Facebook, and the comments will begin flooding in. I then have to remind them that going to these events as “just friends” is completely normal and that my relationship status isn’t going to be changing anytime soon.
4. Sorority House= “Animal House”
When I first told my parent’s that I would be living in a house with sixty girls, they thought I was joking and that I was completely insane. They pictured our house being exactly like it has been portrayed in multiple movies over the years, but to their surprise, my house is the complete opposite. Our house has rules, restrictions and even our own house mom to make sure that we don’t destroy the house or live up to the stereotypes portrayed in those movies. We eat more than the average-sized football team, forget to clean up after ourselves, live in sweats and big hoodies, and are not all bubbly and giggly 24/7. We all are unique and not one of us is perfect, but that is what makes living in the house such an incredible experience. I am never going to be able to say I lived in a house with sixty girls ever again.
5. Why do you call them “sisters” if they aren’t biological?
This is a question I find myself quite frequently being asked. People don’t understand that the relationship I share with these women is more than just saying we are all best friends. The girls in my chapter have become my family. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying,
“Friendship is not about whom you’ve known the longest, it’s about who walked into your life, said I’m here for you, and proved it.”
This is true for my life, so yes, although I am not related to these women by blood, they are still some of the most important people in my life. At the end of the day I know they would do anything for me, which is what family is all about.