My Experience With Greek Life
One of the first things prospective students hear about Dartmouth is how the majority of students are affiliated. Whether that's a positive or negative thing to hear before getting to Dartmouth, it's good to know that it's true! Before I got to campus, I was sure that I wouldn't join Greek life or really participate at all. I was confident that the overbearing social hierarchy and stereotypes would be enough to turn me away, but I quickly found that wasn't the case.
At Dartmouth, students aren't allowed to join a Greek space until the beginning of their sophomore year. The reasoning for this protocol is so these spaces don't feel like a dominating social space and students are able to make friends outside of such a huge group of organizations. During my freshman year, I made friends from talking to people on my dorm floor, going to socials for clubs, and talking to people in office hours. This way, I was able to meet so many incredible people with a vast amount of interests! I found myself completely content with hanging out with them on weekends and not getting involved with frats or sororities. I was able to form super close relationships with the people around me and learn how to reach out to people to get connected.
Given how comfortable I was after my freshman year, I wasn't surprised by how uninterested I was in the process of joining a sorority. The process of joining is called "rush" and pretty much consists of three rounds of interviews with every sorority and a complicated computer matching algorithm. The conversations I had with girls considering rushing consisted of what outfits they were going to wear, which sorority they considered to be the "top" one, what the stereotypes of each sorority are, and their anxieties in general. It seemed like a popularity contest that would leave me with a blow to my self esteem in the end, so I originally wasn't interested.
The last day to join the rush process, I had a conversation with a really good friend of mine who explained the reasons she was rushing. She stated that the next three years seemed daunting because of the D-Plan and she wanted a permanent sense of community that she could rely on. The idea of having something tangible to come back stuck with me, and I kept that in mind as I signed up for the process. The more I thought about it, the more I resonated with wanting a female-dominated space that would stay consistent through my time at Dartmouth.
After rushing and going through the initiation to my current sorority, I'm so glad that I made the decision to rush. Since my time joining, I've met so many incredible women who are there for me at every turn. It's always so great to see a familiar face at most campus locations and have people to reach out to for advice or just someone to hang out with! My Greek space feels like a place of love and community and I'm so glad to have found that.
Though I've had a great time in my current space, that isn't to say that Greek life is the only way to find community at Dartmouth. I have an incredible amount of unaffiliated friends who have found just as close knit of a community within clubs and other organizations. Though our social scene at Dartmouth is heavily dominated by Greek life, that doesn't mean that it's somehow better than the other options on campus. There is a place for everyone here as long as you're willing to look for it!