To pledge or not to pledge
A decision you will face when you come to college is whether to join a Greek organization or not. For some students, they may know exactly what sorority or fraternity they want to pledge and it becomes a significant part of their identity. For others, they may take pride in being independent of the Greek system and would have never thought to join. For others still, their experience may fall somewhere in between.
Why Nate chose to pledge:
When I came to Doane, pledging a fraternity wasn’t high on my priorities. I had had highschool friends talk about Doane Greek life, and my father was a member of Tau Sigma Zeta, but I hadn’t put much thought into joining a Greek group. The first month of school was spent on homework and making casual friends while eating at Tiger in Perry, the kind of friends that you talk to but never have any meaningful conversations with. One day, while sitting on the benches in front of Frees Hall, I was casually invited to come up to “The Moon” by a few gals. The next day, I ventured up the one flight of stairs that separated me from “The Moon,” and was immediately greeted by a loud and excited crowd hanging out in the third floor lounge. I was amazed that going one floor up took me from a quiet keep-to-yourself hall, to a bustling community full of friends. There was no awkwardness from being a first-year student; I was immediately accepted and invited to join in the fun. We played video games, boardgames, told stories and danced to loud music (much to the dismay of the Resident Director one floor below, I’m sure). I had so much fun that I kept coming back everyday, after school work of course.
It was quickly apparent that the majority of my new friends were in the Greek system, with most groups represented. They broke what notions I had about people in Greek life. They didn’t discriminate against non-Greeks or each other, and they were quick to accept people as friends. I was once again interested in joining a fraternity. After spending the next semester and a half getting to know the different groups, I finally pledged Alpha Pi Epsilon (better known as the Apes). I liked what they stood for, and most of my best friends were Apes. By the time bids were handed out, I already felt as close as family. Joining just felt like making it official.
What I gained was a fun loving group of guys who don't take themselves too seriously, and know how to keep life interesting. I found people that I could depend on for help or advice, whenever I needed it, and the strongest alumni base of any group (I don’t know of any other group that has as many alumni visit so often. By the time Interterm was done I had met at least a baker’s dozen of them, if not more). I’m not saying it was all sunshine and rainbows. There have been disagreements, but what family doesn’t have drama?
When I graduate I’ll have many friends who I’ll be able to call up and reminisce about good times and the shenanigans we got into. The group has become such a part of my college life that there will be hardly a memory of this time that doesn’t involve an Ape in some way. Joining didn’t limit my group of friends. I have plenty of independent friends, but Alpha Pi Epsilon is just a bunch of guys like me. I know that if they weren’t a group, I still would’ve been friends with all of them.
So if you’d ask if I’d do it all again, I’ll give you one guess to what I’d say.
WHY ERIN CHOSE NOT TO PLEDGE:
I didn’t even think of joining a sorority until my sophomore year at Doane. Joining just didn’t feel like me. As I began to know more people in Greek life, and thus began to know more about the different sororities and fraternities on campus, I wondered if I had made a mistake by not giving the possibility of joining more thought. What seemed appealing about joining a sorority was the network it provided- the sisterhood and support. It made me question whether I was missing out on a good experience. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that while joining a Greek group was great for some of my friends, it still wasn’t right for me. The reason: I found other satisfying ways to thrive in college.
I was still able to build powerful networks both personally and professionally through extracurricular and academic activities. My involvement in other areas of campus, from music to journalism, allowed me to build strong friendships as well as find mentors.
I wouldn’t trade my time in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, where I met my best friend and roommate. I wouldn’t trade the long nights I’ve endured working for the student newspaper and magazine. I’ve created lasting memories. I’ll never forget filming a Doane Student Media “Harlem Shake,” the spoof awards the newspaper editors hand out at the end of the year called “fishwraps” or simply watching movies on the weekends with my friends.
I’ve realized I’m not missing out. I explored other activities and found places where I felt I belonged on campus. It was the right decision for me and my college experience has been just as rewarding.
Greek life isn’t for everyone. Depending on a number of factors, from your personality to the social environment you desire, Greek life may or may not be appealing to you. Ultimately it’s up to you. Forget the stereotypes and find out about the Greek organizations on campus as well as all the other organizations that are available at Doane. No matter what you decide to become involved in, you can find a place to belong on campus that is right for you. You’ll make memories, build relationships and discover many ways to create a satisfying college experience.