Should I Join A Fraternity

Ever asked yourself this question…”Should I Join A Fraternity?” If so, keep reading…

(Disclaimer: First, let me say that I wish that this story could apply equally to sororities, but it can’t. Sororities are an entirely different beast than fraternities.)

My Story

Before arriving at the University of Illinois, I too wondered, should I join a fraternity? In my mind, all frat guys spent their days in the gym, drinking straight vodka out of their water bottle in between sets on the bench press; and they spent their nights in the bars, drinking even more and objectifying women.

Then, after I arrived at school and unpacked my things, I was ready for my first night out at college. Pretty much everyone at the University of Illinois goes to the fraternities during the first week just to see what they’re like (and party for free). So, I went frat-hopping with a friend from home.

I wasn’t surprised to find out that some of the fraternities were just as I envisioned them, but I was surprised to find out that a lot of the fraternities consisted of very normal guys like me. After that night, I thought more about Greek life and asked myself again, should I join a fraternity?

As my ideas about fraternity life changed, I eventually found a home at Delta Upsilon, which certainly isn’t a “King Frat” (a fraternity that claims to “rule campus” because they get the “best social events” with the “best sororities”), but the guys were down to earth and fun.

Should I Join A Fraternity? 

While I found a fraternity match, not everyone is so lucky. Here are some things to consider when deciding if you want to join a fraternity:

1. How Well Do You Get Along With the Members?

If you’re simply joining for the promise of hot girls and cheap beer or the allure of joining a frat with a big-time reputation on campus, then you aren’t making a good decision. These are the guys that you will be spending most of the next four years with; you should really like them.

2. What Else Do You Want To Do?

If you plan on joining ROTC, the band or some other group that requires a lot of your time, then maybe you shouldn’t join a fraternity or you should wait until the second semester so that you can see how much time you can devote to it. I have seen plenty of people do both a fraternity and a group that requires a large time commitment, so I know it can be done, but you’ll be very busy.

3. Do You Want to Drink Alcohol in College?

The notion that fraternity guys just drink all day is false. We work hard. My GPA has risen every semester since my first one. However, alcohol does play a role in Greek life. You will be pressured on the weekends, at the very least, to drink a lot. Some fraternities may not even let you in if you refuse to drink beer. So you have to be completely comfortable in your decision should you choose to be substance free.

4. How Big is Greek Life on Your Campus?

By pure membership, the University of Illinois has the largest Greek system in the world. So, your school’s Greek system won’t have the same pull as ours, but it may still be large. Other social options for the weekends exist (and often abound) at every university, but, in my opinion, many of the most fun opportunities come with joining a fraternity at bigger universities.

5. What Are Your Friends Doing?

Yes, college is an opportunity to meet all new friends, and I encourage that. (In fact, I’ve met dozens of new friends, and I can thank my fraternity for that.) But if you want to continue to hang out with the people you meet during your first week at school and those you know from home, you should consider their fraternity choice. People from different fraternities do hang out, but not very often.

Also, it’s nice joining a fraternity with a few people you know because then you have lifelines to go should things ever get tough as you try to meet all the guys in the fraternity. It makes your transition much smoother.

So consider these 5 things when you’re pondering, “should I join a fraternity?”

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John Edwards

John Edwards

John Edwards is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is pursuing a journalism degree. Currently studying abroad in Rome, he can usually be found hanging out and studying at his fraternity. He also enjoys running and spending time with family and friends.
John Edwards

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