It’s that time of year again – the leaves are changing, the weather is getting colder, and Pacific’s sororities and fraternities are pledging.

Being in a sorority or a fraternity is a staple of college life. You choose a group, go through a series of secret rituals and become a member of an exclusive club, forming bonds with other members that are supposed to last for life. Seems like a good way to experience college, right?


Joining a sorority was the worst mistake I have made in my career at Pacific University. I came here a shy and nervous freshman, desperate to make friends, so I joined a sorority. I was forced to learn, in the hardest possible way, the realities of Greek life at Pacific University.

First of all, a sorority/fraternity may claim to value academics, but in the end, you are expected to treat the group as your top priority. Heaven forbid you should miss a meeting because you need to study for a midterm. If you miss an activity because of schoolwork, you are punished – made to do extra “fun” activities that only take more and more time out of your studies.

If you do not enjoy these “fun” activities, you are made to feel as though you are wrong, and a disgrace to the group. If you came to Pacific to socialize, rather than receive an education, than perhaps Greek life is right for you. But if an education is your first and foremost priority, do not join a sorority/fraternity.

No matter their claims of diversity, sororities and fraternities are a bastion of conformity and exclusivism. Anyone who thinks or behaves in a way that is outside the group is ostracized and forced to bare an onslaught of passive-aggressive behavior.  Rather than creating bonds of “sisterhood” or “brotherhood,” sororities and fraternities focus on reproducing a carbon-copy. God forbid one of their ranks should differ from the norm. If they do, a hefty dose of guilt and shame usually does the trick.

But if you really have your heart set on joining that sorority/fraternity, go right ahead. I’m not going to stop you. This is only meant to serve as a fair warning to anyone who wishes to “go Greek.” If you consider yourself to have an independent mind, avoid joining in with the conformity brigade. Spare yourself the pain, misery, and regret that I still experience.


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