In addition to buying a bike and investing in a little company called North Face, the most important thing I’ve done in college has been deciding to join a fraternity — going Greek was easily the best decision I’ve made so far at Northwestern.
I only semi-thought that I would end up going the road of the Greeks. It was a quasi-idea, a miniature notion that I might someday join a fraternity and become Frat Boy (capitalized and titled here for dramatic effect). I exhibited almost none of the usual Frat Boy stereotypes, as per the traditional example of countless movies and TV shows. Me, Greek? I pretty much doubted that it would happen.
So then why did I actually decide to rush? Frankly, I don’t quite have an answer — but do I need to? Maybe I followed the bandwagon of all the other social males from E3 (that’s the third floor of Elder, baby) and trekked over to the fraternity quads each night for no other reason than because it was what I thought was expected of me to have a healthy social life. But for whatever reason, I was extremely happy with my decision, both in house and in theory.
But then it all changed: I joined a fraternity and immediately my GPA fell, my beer belly ballooned and I spent my days boozing and schmoozing with sorority girls with no care for anything else but The Almighty Frat.
The truth is, there are so many stupid stereotypes about going Greek that just drive me crazy. You’ve got people who say, “You’re just paying for your friends.” Yes, because that’s really how it all works: You shell out $20 and then get invited to date parties. Stupid people beget stupid stereotypes, and the Greek scene at Northwestern deserves far better than the lack of respect it gets from skeptical non-Greeks who couldn’t party their way out of a paper bag.
There is a huge social scene outside of the Greek world, no doubt. Some of my closest friends are unaffiliated, yet they suffer from no shortage of socialization or college fun. They’ve done swell, making friends and enjoying life, sans any and all affiliation.
But a Greek life is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, one that will always be at the forefront of memories of college. Being in a fraternity has taught me about brotherhood, loyalty, responsibility, friendship and a ton of other banal nouns that will, despite their inherently corny qualities, forever be a great reminder of my college experience. I think. Regardless, going Greek was the best decision I made last year, and I haven’t regretted it for a second.