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Is the Greek life overpowering? Can you make friends through clubs or other ways?

A: Jenny with crossed arms

This is definitely a question I had as an incoming freshman, especially because I had pre-conceived notions of what Greek life was like based on stereotypes from media, other colleges, etc. However, I have found that Greek life, while it has a presence on-campus, isn't overpowering or dominating in terms of who you become friends with.

Also, the presence that Greek life has on your Dartmouth experience is mostly in your own hands. I have friends who are super involved in their respective houses and hold executive positions to help organize and execute some of the operations like rush or sisterhood events. I worked as formal chair my sophomore spring, which was a great way to take on some responsibility and become closer with my co-chair. But since then, I've mostly had a low-key presence in the house, occasionally participating in programming events and meetings.

I would say that most of my close friends and acquaintances come from outside of Greek life. If I were to show you a map of my friends, and how I met each one, you would find that how we met really ranges. Some of the smallest incidents, like my freshman roommate befriending another girl on the Dartmouth Coach, led to lifelong friendships.

Other situations are more obviously typical ways to meet people - like classes, first-year floors, and clubs! Several of my close friends come from my freshman floor, especially because I lived in a Living Learning Community. My biggest piece of advice would just to be open to befriending people from all over campus, since you never know who you might get along with. At Dartmouth, it's pretty common to span "friend groups" and know a wide range of people from campus involvements instead of sticking to only a small circle.

Also, I would say that I have been pleasantly surprised by how even in my senior year, with COVID-19, I was able to make new friends! I have gotten to know a few '23s (or sophomores) really well this term, grabbing dinners with them multiple times a week. My close friend is a UGA (undergraduate adviser) with two of them, and we started hanging out as a group.

I will say that without all the strange circumstances of this year, I probably would never have gotten to know them. I guess this is just a roundabout explanation for the main question, but I hope it served to showcase that Greek life certainly isn't the only, or even the most common, avenue through which Dartmouth students make friends.

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