Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Greek life isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay

Disaffiliating is a personal decision
Collegian File Photo

Last year, I decided to join a sorority, but after only being a part of a Panhellenic organization for around eight months, I decided to disaffiliate. It was an extremely hard decision and it has taken me this long to finally speak about my experience openly.

My mother had been in a sorority, but I didn’t see myself following the same path in college. The University of Massachusetts did not have my mom’s sorority and only a small percentage of students were involved in Greek life, so I never thought it would even cross paths with me.

But, as sophomore year approached, I saw other girls rushing and I started to learn more about Greek life on campus. Many girls had told me stories about how they had never thought that Greek life was for them, but their sorority had proved them wrong. I never ended up rushing because I was too intimidated by the process, but I did feel some regret for not experiencing something outside my comfort zone. The opportunity to leave my comfort zone arose when I was given the chance to join the sisterhood. I decided to take the plunge, hoping my apprehensions would be proven wrong.

When I first joined, I thought that it would be perfect. I thought my chapter and experience would be “different” and not just about parties. The partying aspect had no appeal to me; I was more interested in philanthropy and developing friendships.

A few months in, I became part of the executive board. I was very excited to be able to contribute to the organization in a way that played to my strengths. But soon after my initiation, I started to have doubts.

For the next few months, I was left second-guessing myself. I told myself that I was anxious because the experience had not met my expectations. That’s when I started to realize that you cannot make yourself enjoy something. I spent over six months in an organization that was not what I wanted, and it was not what made me happy.

But leaving a sorority is difficult; I had invested so much time, as well as money and resources into the organization. Our chapter advisor spoke with me about my doubts a few times and always tried to convince me to stay, and my few close friends within the chapter who knew I had doubts also wanted me to stay. So, I held on longer and longer because I did have friendships within the sorority that I cherished. But ultimately, I couldn’t keep sacrificing my time and energy to something I did not enjoy. I was forced to accept that there are things in life that cannot be changed, no matter how much you put into them. You end up putting your all into something that isn’t right for you. You feel pressured to be a part of this close-knit sisterhood, and disaffiliating calls that “sisterhood” into question.

I knew that when I left, my friendships with the girls in my sorority would never be the same. Yes, I made many great friends because of it, but I also lost some close friends because of my decision to disaffiliate. That is what made it the hardest. But, at the end of the day, I had to do what was best for me.

Whenever people criticize Greek life, I see many girls say, “it was the best decision I ever made,” or “I felt similarly, but then I joined and realized how great it was.” Just because you or someone else may have had a good experience does not mean that everyone else will.

My experience is not mine alone, but the experience of many that is left unsaid. There is no conversation about girls who leave sororities. Girls who disaffiliate are made to feel like there is something wrong with them for leaving a sisterhood. If you love your sorority, that’s great! But if you don’t love your sorority, we need to support you in whatever you choose and not push you to stay. Disaffiliation happens, and we shouldn’t push girls to be a part of something that they don’t want to be a part of.

Emilia Beuger is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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  • J

    john aimoFeb 20, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    It’s hard to see emmi part of a sorority, isn’t she supposed to be against privilege?