The benefits of joining a fraternity or sorority are many, and it's important to realize that Greek life in college has a lot of impressive things to offer. It's also important, however, to realize that there might be some challenges. So just what do you need to be aware of before officially pledging?
You Might Be Stereotyped by Peers
Even if you had a great impression of fraternities and sororities before you came to college - and an even better one once you learned about all the great initiatives your school's Greek organizations do - not all students share the same perception. Ignorant or well-informed, your fellow students might stereotype you once they know you belong to a certain Greek house. And while there might not be much you can do about that, it's important to at least keep in mind.
You Might Be Stereotyped by Faculty
You might be having an amazing, life-changing experience as a member of your fraternity or sorority. But your professors - who were, after all, college students themselves once - might not have had as great of an experience during their own undergraduate years. Or they could have had problems in the past with students from your particular organization. While you are your own person and should be judged accordingly, just be aware of the perceptions some faculty members might have about how you spend your time outside of class.
You Might Be Stereotyped by Future Employers
While your Greek organization might be dedicated to, say, the study of biology or to social justice, an employer might not realize that while quickly skimming resumes. And while belonging to a fraternity or sorority with a large network can be an incredible asset, there might also be some challenges along the way.
Being Active Can Be a Major Time Commitment
Does this necessarily have to be a drawback to membership in your house? Of course not. But it is something to be aware of in advance, especially if you struggle with time management or you know that your time is going to be extremely limited during your college years.
Joining Can Be Expensive
While there often are scholarships available to students who need them to remain members of their Greek community, there's no guarantee those scholarships are going to come through. If finances are tight, make sure you are aware of what financial obligations you'll have to your house. Ask about joining fees, dues, and other expenses - such as helping fund an annual event - that you'll be responsible for.
There Can Be Strong Personality Conflicts
This, of course, is inevitable whenever you're involved with a group of people. And you'll undoubtedly encounter personality conflicts in everything from your Chemistry study group to your rugby teammates. Keep in mind, however, that personality conflicts in a fraternity or sorority can get especially tense, given that people spend so much time together and often live in a shared space for several years in a row.
You May Sometimes Feel Stuck in Routine and Commitments
This year's Halloween party might seem like the most amazing thing ever. But after working on it for months in advance, three years in a row, the Halloween party during your senior year might lose some of its luster. There can be ways to branch out and try new things within your fraternity or sorority, and a good one will encourage you to do so. Just be aware of what it will mean to pledge the rest of your college experience to one particular group.