Opinion by Tom Scearce
My family would ask me things like, “What clubs will you join?” “Will you work at school?” or “Will you get along with your roommates?”
To all, I simply replied, “I don’t know.”
However, when the question “Will you join a fraternity?” popped up, I knew, flat out, what the answer was: absolutely not.
I had seen the movies that depicted collegiate fraternities. In no way, shape, or form was I a “frat boy.”
I did not fit a single one of the “frat boy” stereotypes. I had no doubt in my mind that I was doing the right thing when all of my friends were registering for Fall Recruitment.
Then, Recruitment Week had passed and before I knew it, everywhere I looked I saw Greek letters.
All of my friends were discussing what fraternity or sorority events were approaching. Every time I spoke to a friend, the conversation somehow took a turn toward Greek Life.
When I wanted to plan something with my friends, many times I got a response like, “I can’t, I have something for (insert fraternity or sorority name here).”
I felt left out. I knew that only a small percentage of the student body participated in Greek Life, but it certainly felt like I was the only person not affiliated.
Eventually, I ended up becoming really close friends with people on my floor, both affiliated and unaffiliated.
However, nearing the end of the semester, I was almost sick of seeing their faces (I still love you, third floor Stalnaker).
I had spent a bit too much time with them, and I wanted to meet new people.
With that in mind, and also hearing all of the great stories coming from my Greek friends, I decided to rush in the spring semester.
I was nervous for rush, after having a semester to learn the “stereotypes” of each fraternity.
I learned which one was “the party frat” and which one was “full of jocks.”
What I learned through rush, however, is that you cannot judge a book by its cover.
While the stereotypes may, for the most part, be true, there are going to be cool people in each house you will mesh with.
So, you need to figure out what’s important for you, and what you want out of a fraternity or sorority.
When I went to the rush event for the fraternity I eventually joined, I immediately felt at home. Granted, they were playing my favorite game (Cards Against Humanity) and eating one of my favorite foods (Chipotle), but I still felt something.
I did not feel that the members were trying to put on a fake face. I did not feel like they were trying to sell me on anything. I was impressed by the camaraderie between everybody, and I wanted to be a part of that.
Looking back on the decision I made, I am glad I signed my bid. Being in a fraternity has taught me the importance of loyalty, brotherhood, respect, responsibility, friendship, philanthropy, leadership and a host of other qualities I do not have enough space to list.
I found a group of people who I am proud to call my friends and brothers. It is making me a more well-rounded man overall. I am excited for what experiences I will share with my brothers in the coming years.
My advice for students looking to rush in coming semesters: Do it, even if you are unsure like I was.
It is the number one best way to really decide if it is for you.
Talk to upperclassmen, focus on what you want to gain from Greek Life, and go into rush with an open mind.
Yes, you may be deterred from it from the stereotypes you hear, but remember those are all subjective. You will find a place where you fit in.
Going Greek is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Trust me, you will not regret it.
Scearce is a first-year news-Internet major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org