Before you pull out your Kleenex (for any reason), let me assure you that I’ve managed to get through college just fine.
I’m a musician, graphic/web designer and writer. In 2013 alone, I took 49 credit hours, was a Teaching Assistant and worked an average of 26 hours a week at my school’s largest technology lab. For those of you who are picturing a 5’3” outcast with a half-chub, go ahead and upgrade that image to a 6’2” outcast who’s full mast. Much like a large portion of the undergraduate student body (regardless of Greek status), I still found time to make it to the bars Thursday-Saturday nights, party at other universities and attend events with friends.
I dated a sorority girl – I’m trying to build some ethos with the naysayers vigorously penetrating my argument at this point – for nearly two years and loved her dearly. We broke up amicably (…yes, that does still happen) just prior to the start of this semester. If Greek community members aren’t already appalled that a member of Zeta Tau Alpha dated a geed for such a long duration, I’ve got more bad news for you: our relationship was never predicated on whether or not we were both Greek. Imagine that.
Now, there are some things I missed out on: I didn’t get to go to weekly Chapter meetings (…okay, even members aren’t attending those), paying monthly dues, being present at philanthropic events for which no member truly understands the cause, or forcing other dudes to vomit raw eggs on each other during hazing.
Despite not being in a fraternity, I was able to experience most of Greek Life's upsides. I got paid to create music mixes for Greek life events. I serenaded my then-girlfriend’s little and grand-little before their bigs were revealed. I attended the formals and semi-formals of several sororities (…during which I enjoyed free alcohol and dinner along with some great stories about what not to do on a charter bus). Essentially, I got to drive a Ferrari 458 Italia without paying for it.
So, I post this writing for anyone in or around college life; please stop blindly following trends and start doing things of which you’ll be damn proud 20 years from now. I’m not saying being in a fraternity or sorority will prohibit you from standing out. But by joining without a cause you’re no more original than will.i.am stealing songs from Arty or Flo Rida sampling a song that was already sampled by Avicii. Whether you have just been accepted to your dream school or are preparing to graduate from it, you are in a prime position to make a positive change.
As for you Greek gods and goddesses, use this valuable time – during which you have the energy, the reach and the ability – to stand up for people, not talk down to them. I ask you to please stop propagating the idea that people should be divided/ranked/valued based on their affiliation. Self-congratulations are fine in moderation but you’re pulling the wool over your collective eyes if you genuinely believe that people in fraternities and sororities are somehow above the “peasants” of your schools. Think of who will truly have your back once you’ve left college (see: not Sloppy Jimmy aka The Keg Master aka Snatch King 3000).
Oh and bear in mind, if daddy’s company crumbles in the future, plenty of us GDIs will be handing you an application form. And we'll not even bat an eye at part where you pad it with fluff from your Greek life days.
Max is a Senior at Miami University