LETTER: Because of Greek life, ‘cons have become pros in my life’

I read a recently published opinion post entitled, “Fresh perspectives: Freshman should avoid Greek life” and felt drawn to write in with my own thoughts. You see, I used to be a hater myself. My freshman year, I traveled the halls of USF announcing that “I would never pay for my friends!” Besides, I didn’t fit the mold — I wore Vans, liked rock music, hated Lilly Pulitzer and didn’t understand why people wore those string-things on the backs of their sunglasses. But I still found myself wondering what all the hype was about. So, I secretly signed up for sorority recruitment.

The girls I met during that week blew my mind. I met student leaders, artists, philanthropists, dancers, bloggers, photographers and foodies. I met real ladies with real stories, real struggles and real strength. But did I really want to commit to a Greek organization? As the writer of “Fresh perspectives” pointed out, there are pros and cons to Greek life. As a now-senior, I would like to address some of these cons and how they have become pros in my life.

Con 1: Greek life is expensive. Yes, yes, it is. I am one of seven children. If I want to spend it, I better make it. The money I have paid over the past three years is very real, and very much my own. However, that money goes somewhere. Those very real dollars fund equally real adventures to Disney theme parks, stays in hotels on the beach and formals thrown for 140 of my closest friends. Dues have become a regular part of my life, and so have the amazing opportunities that Greek life has presented to me using those dues. Paying for my own membership has taught me to work hard for what I want.

Con 2: Greek life is a big time commitment. Yes, yes, it is. Members of my Greek organization are required to participate in an outside organization as well, attend weekly chapter meetings and complete a pre-determined number of community service hours. But what are these “time commitments,” really? In reality, I am having fun with my sisters volunteering, planning and learning. Committing my calendar to my organization has taught me to plan ahead and balance my responsibilities.

Con 3: Social opportunities distract from academic success. Yes, yes, they do … if you let them. College has taught me that students will do what they want to do. College is the place where teens become adults by taking ownership of their own choices. The temptation to party is constantly present in college. But having sisters watching out for you makes it a lot easier to stick to your guns. Greek life presented me with social opportunities, but also taught me when to say no.

I hope that this response has helped illuminate some of the positives of Greek life. I owe many of the blessings in my life to my organization. My only regret is not joining sooner.

-— Anna Lejnar is a senior
majoring in communications.