One year ago, as I made the decision to attend the UW as a freshman in the fall, I faced deciding if I would try out dorm life, go through recruitment to join a sorority, or save money by living at home. I decided to rush last September because I have always felt shy when facing a new setting and new people, plus I thought living in a sorority would give me more opportunities to be social. I was also encouraged by former higher school peers currently in the UW Greek system.
At first, I just wanted to be able to make friends in college and from rumors I had heard about the UW, I was not confident that this would happen for me in the dorms. From Greek life, I had the opportunity to form friendships that would likely have been more difficult to form outside of the Greek system.
Living in a sorority house, there are rooms for studying, eating, and just hanging out with the other girls in the house, which helps us grow closer. It is easier to be isolated in your own room with Netflix in a dorm than when you live in a house with up to 120 people. Many dorms have a lobby and a restaurant with around 1,500 people, which make the connections less intimate. Dorms provide a place to live while the sorority provides an atmosphere that feels like home.
Although I have been told that by joining a sorority I am paying for my friends, I find this to be false. In the same way that not everyone on the same floor of a dorm becomes best friends, just because you live in a house with up to 100 other girls, this does not mean that you have to be friends with all of them. At best, everyone will treat each other with kindness and respect, and everyone will find their group of closest friends. I have found that living in a sorority has given me comfort and support that I had not experienced previously. Whether it is someone to keep me awake while we study at 4 a.m. for finals, give me a hug when I need it most, or just lend an ear to hear me complain without telling me to shut up, I always feel supported by the girls around me.
Will you make friends in college if you don’t join Greek life? Yes. Would I have made many close connections during my freshman year without a support system of girls in academic, social, and personal opportunities? I don’t think so. In a large and potentially overwhelming college such as the UW, it can be difficult to form close friendships without finding a smaller community, and Greek life is one successful way to do this.
My take: Greek life gives students the opportunity to form friendships that can be more difficult to form at a large school outside of the Greek system.
Reach writer Anna Crabtree at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @anna_crab