Going Greek? (or Nah)
Dartmouth has a reputation amongst the Ivies - and even across the country - for having very active Greek life on campus. As an incoming freshman, it can seem like everyone is either already affiliated with a Greek house or is planning to rush as soon as possible (i.e. their sophomore fall). Dartmouth differs from a lot of other schools in the sense that we don't rush as freshmen, but instead wait until sophomore year to join a house, if desired. While unusual, this can actually allow new students a lot of time to decide which fraternity, sorority, or co-ed/gender inclusive Greek house they fit into the most before they commit. The "frat ban" prohibits freshmen from going to the frats (except for specific, dry, Dartmouth-sanctioned events open to everyone) from the start of freshman fall to Homecoming weekend. All in all, the College does a lot to make sure freshmen aren't rushed into the Greek system right off the bat, but with 28 different Greek houses on campus, it's overwhelming to get to know them all - especially as a new freshman who is also still adjusting to all the other changes of college life.
It can feel like every other person you see on campus is wearing some sort of fraternity or sorority gear. It may even feel like rushing is expected of you, instead of being a choice that you are more than welcome to opt out of. Looks can be deceptive, and while Dartmouth is relatively very Greek, it is more than possible to have a social life and be unaffiliated. Personally, I chose not to rush because it was such a big time committment (for sorority rush period specifically, pledges are required to visit every sorority for a minimum of 30 mins, plus other events and meetings) and I had other activites I wanted/needed to dedicate that time to. I also found that I had enough of a social life with club sports and other organizations I am a part of. Others choose not to rush because they don't have a particular desire to join a specific house or simply aren't interested in being a part of the Greek system. Those who do rush might do it for the new group of friends, because they want to live in their house at some point, or to attend certain exclusive events just for members (weekly meetings, fraternity-sorority socials, etc). It's really all up to the individual whether they want to rush or not, but the point of what I am trying to say is that you absolutely won't be a "social reject" if you decide Greek life isn't for you. Your friend group will most likely include both affiliated and unaffiliated people, whether or not you choose to rush, and if you make the wrong decision for you, you can always rush your junior year or de-pledge from a house. The (Greek) world is your oyster, new freshmen! Do with it what you will.