I have to preface this post by saying that it's not what I was envisioning writing about on my blog today. But, after seeing a Cosmo article circling around social media that is titled, "Confession: Why Getting Hazed by My Sorority Was Weirdly Worth It," I knew I had to say something.
As some of you know, I am a proud alumna of Sigma Kappa from the Kappa Zeta chapter at Elon University. I love my sorority, the friendships I have made, and the leadership experience I gained through being a sister. For me, it was an overall positive experience, which is why I hate the negative connotation that many Greek organizations receive. However, I am now unfortunately being reminded by this article of why certain Greek organizations have such a negative connotation, and why they are tainting the image of Greek life for many other organizations like my own that do not deserve that reputation.
Much of the negativity toward sororities and Greek life comes from hazing. Hazing is known to vary from organization to organization. There are some that do not haze at all, like my own, and others, like the organization mentioned in this article, who have hazed so much that it has caused their new members to hate themselves and have endless breakdowns. The author of the article says,
About two weeks in, we became conditioned to fear what was called a “line-up.” We’d get a mass email telling us to be at the house in seven minutes wearing all-white with our faces scrubbed clean of makeup. We’d have to line up in alphabetical order and take turns stepping into one spotlight in the middle of the house basement. All of the sisters sat in the dark. We couldn’t see anything, but they could see all of us and our every imperfection...At any given line-up, at least a third of my pledge class cried. I cried the first time. I tried to laugh through all the others — but we got yelled at for laughing.
Sounds fun, right? The sickening part of this article is that the girl is actually promoting the hazing that made her have regular visits to the school therapist! She says,
As horrible as hazing felt, it allowed me to bond more closely with some of my now-best friends than any experience ever had.
I'm sorry, and excuse my language, but I have to call BS on that. I highly doubt you are really that close with girls who yelled at you and degraded you. And making friendships with girls in your new member class who were enduring the same thing? Sure, I could see it happening, but bonding over how scared you were about being tormented is not a great basis for friendship.
What I'm attempting to get at with this post is that not all organizations are like this. I did not get hazed at all in my organization. I have to admit that at times, I was curious about what being hazed was like, because all of the "cool" organizations were doing it. Now I understand how ridiculous that thought process was.
Yes, we had bonding activities when we first joined Sigma Kappa. But, they involved playing games where we would get to know each other better (that were not derogatory), going out for frozen yogurt as a new member class, going to trips in the mountains together, getting ready for parties together in our dorm rooms, having new member class movie nights together, and much more. Does that sound lame to you? Well, I would pick that any day over being locked in a basement.
I had the chance to bond with a group of girls with friendships that formed out of love, trust, and respect. And now, I still talk to these girls on a regular basis, even though we have graduated and are in all parts of the country. A sorority that welcomes its new members with love and appreciation will result in much stronger relationships and ties to that sorority than one that welcomes its new members with hazing.
Sigma Kappa has undoubtedly given me my best friends from college. I gained amazing roommates who were also my sisters. I gained a family who is a perfect blend of my sweet and a little nutty sides. And I gained a group of sisters who I could count on to support me in anything, whether it be a charitable activity that I was leading for our organization or a personal endeavor.
It has also given me a group of girls to experience life with. I studied abroad for the first time with two of my sisters, I carved my first pumpkin with my sisters, I've met my sisters' biological families, I learned to loosen up a bit and grow into the person I am today with the encouragement of my sisters, I celebrated New Years Eve and birthdays with my sisters, and so much more.
And yes, sometimes we can look intimidating, but it's only when we're preparing our stage faces for Greek Week Dance.
So, the moral of this post is that not all Greek organizations are the same. There are organizations that really do support you, where you will make lasting friendships. I truly hope you find, or are in, an organization like that, just like I did.