The best treasure I’ve found in college has not been in classes or in sports, but in something I never imagined I’d join. Despite all the criticism it receives, I’m proud to stand up for what has given me so much — Greek Life.
Greek Life initially was not on my horizon when I came to college. I actually ridiculed my roommate — my high school best friend — for rushing and signing the fall of our freshman year. But during my first several months, there was something missing from my college experience. The friends I made through dorm life and classes were enjoyable, but I longed for the family atmosphere I had with my group of friends in high school — who had my back, who were with me through ups and downs, and who pushed me to be a better person.
With this in mind, I ventured into the fraternal experience during the spring of my freshman year by joining Beta Theta Pi. People say going Greek is buying friends, but I can tell you this — I was far undercharged for the value of my experience. Similar minds, bonded together through an unpredictable college journey, produce a brotherhood that cannot be measured. We remain connected for life, and no amount of money can buy the genuine experiences of Greek Life.
Greek Life has been a tremendous avenue for personal growth, especially in my leadership abilities. Just two months after initiation, I found myself on an eight-man executive committee of a fraternity with close to 100 members. Under the leadership of a faculty advisor who’s been with Beta for nearly two decades, the committee navigated the turbulence of leading a large and complex organization. That leadership experience cannot be taught in a classroom — it can only be gained through actual decision-making processes, an area which Greek Life has in abundance.
During my high school years, there was a lot of value placed in taking honors and advanced placement classes. Obviously, they provided an incredible academic opportunity for intellectual growth, but more so, the classroom environment led me to be a better student.I loved surrounding myself with peers brighter, more ambitious and more driven than I was, because it pushed me to be the best I could be. My competitive nature fueled me to match the success of my classmates.
In this same respect, I have found equal ambition and drive in the Greek Life community. As a freshman, contrary to my previous notion of fraternities, I was greeted by an abundance of upperclassmen with top-notch grade point averages, widespread campus involvement and resumés the Career Center would pin on the fridge.
I starkly remember meeting a future fraternity brother during my rush who helped shed new light on Greek Life. He was a junior who I certainly would have classified as a “jock,” but after getting to know him, I later found out he had taken seven advanced placement tests, came to Truman State on a full ride and now is employed at one of the most prestigious actuarial consultant firms in St. Louis. It is men like this who inspire me.
In this Greek Life community, I found my drive, my ambition and my longing to be the best version of myself. I do not believe this would have come about without my fraternal affiliation. I’m not sure where I’d be without Greek Life. The numerous opportunities it has provided me define who I am and where I am today, and most importantly, where I’ll be tomorrow. Many on the outside have chosen to write off the whole system as a waste.
If only they knew how wrong they were.