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Explore the latest trends, tips, and experiences in college life in this blog written by fellow students.

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    Getting Into Greek Life: Things to Consider

    Alexis Phayakapong

    You know the feeling when a lot of things are coming at you at the same time, demanding your attention all at once? That is what college can feel like when you start as a freshman. Many extracurricular opportunities will be available to you all at once, including “Greek Life”. Research what Greek Life is like on your campus so you can better understand whether you want to join.

    Greek Life is not like the movies. I have learned that it can be truly beneficial if you find the organization that is right for you. I wish that I had explored the Greek Life scene as a freshman and checked out numerous sorority options sooner rather than later. Being a multiracial student, I found that I was not too sure about where I could really fit in. There were the Panhellenic sororities which were filled with extensive amounts of girls who with just one look, you could tell if you would get their attention or not. Then you had the cultural sororities including Pan-Hellenic sororities, which had their own dichotomy. The overall feeling was just different, with a bit more diversity than the others that I had seen.

    Recruitment week is a great time to get information and is different on every campus. At my university, we have a week where fraternities and sororities will scout out the new faces on the campus. This scouting can be incredibly intimidating because your confidence can take a hit, but receiving a flyer or invitation could be a confidence boost as well.

    The pledging process is different for everyone. They want to know that you will be dedicated to that sisterhood no matter what, and you have to be ready to prove that you are worthy of that bid and everything after.

    Sisterhood can come with a hefty price tag. Dues can be quite expensive and different sororities charge different fees. With tuition, books and rent, you’ll need to figure out if Greek life is worth it monetarily.

    The consumption of time is also something to take into consideration. From pledging to initiation and beyond, active members are expected to work around the schedule of the chapter. And many chapters have requirements about necessary GPAs so you must remain on top of your academics.

    Through the pledging process, you become part of a new family. I know many people who joined a Greek organization would never have had it any other way. These are truly their sisters/brothers and the connections both in the chapter and on campus are invaluable.

    Your wear your “brand” with pride. You can pretty much spot if someone is in Greek life or not in a few seconds around campus with all the gear (the backpacks, mugs, and t-shirts). I personally have found that sororities and fraternities have such creative ways to incorporate their organizations and market themselves in such a way that is admirable and I understand the appeal.

    I wanted to find something on my campus where I could feel like I belonged and although I was pinned and started the pledging process, I did not feel like it was the right thing for me in the end. I am so grateful to have met the girls that were with me through this process, and by going to social events from other sororities that I had looked into. I ended up meeting really great people.

    Ultimately, the best thing to do about Greek life is to really just ask yourself: 1) Can I afford this? 2) Can I make the time commitment? 3) What are my options? The only way to find out is to truly take that step and try it out for yourself. No matter what happens though, take your experiences as guiding tools to betterment. I wish you the best with this journey, keep an open mind and take advantage of opportunities to learn more about yourself and others at your university!


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    Speaking From Experience

    Alexis Phayakapong

    Writing this as I am finishing my Spring semester of my second year of my college career is incredibly euphoric. The person who I have grown into today has been through many ups and downs: academically, mentally, emotionally, socially, you name it! My experiences these last few years have opened my eyes and made me want to find a way to (hopefully) inspire someone to be a bit more aware about things you will encounter as a college student. Of course everyone is going down different paths with their respective majors but in all honesty, there is so much overlap with us all because college is a diverse playing field that you learn to navigate.

    My main piece of advice is to make sure that you are as open as possible your freshman year. Be open to new ideas, new food choices, new landscapes, and most importantly, seeing yourself and others differently. You have been surrounded by the same people for years and you feel like you might know who you are and what you are capable of – however, by being open to new ideas you might be surprised to find a new side of yourself! What college has taught me is that you can never be too sure of the future. Not everything is predictable or concrete. There will always be things that surprise you.

    Some of the greatest memories that I have made have been because I put my anxieties to the side for a moment and just tried something new. At first, I felt like I did not belong on my campus because I just could not seem to make friends with the right people and being that I am multi-racial, I felt like I was underrepresented. However, what kept me motivated at SDSU were the professors, and my hometown friends encouraging me to find the right people in which to surround myself.

    I continued to pursue what I love: fashion, brunch and marketing. I applied for the Marketing Committee and delightfully was accepted. I finally found a place to really expand my reach throughout the student body.

    I struggled with making sure I was investing my time at the right place. Who you decide to live with in the dorms is a big decision, and therefore it’s also important to keep an open mind about your potential roommate options.  There will be different people in your life –  classmates, people you hang out with, and true unconditional friendship that consist of meaningful conversations.  Having all three in one individual is rare so it’s important that you are able to differentiate between them all.

    Let people learn who they are as you learn who you are, and let that be enough. That goes with friendships, diets, relationships, and most of all, academics. I let issues in my dorm life take too much of a toll on me that it affected my learning in Business Calculus, which resulted in me retaking the course this past Fall. Although I had to retake the course, I am proud to say that I learned the material, went to office hours and retained it so much more this Fall than I would have had I just tried to pass the course.

    Failures and good experiences are just a few ingredients that are bound to be included for your Freshman year but I will leave you with a quote from my favorite Comm 101 professor, Master Rapp: “Be vulnerable. Allow yourself that much, without vulnerability, you will not allow love into your life and that is the biggest inconvenience you could do to yourself.”