A tip to the wise: Go Greek!

Michelle Park

As a freshman, I decided to participate in formal recruitment. I dressed up, I smiled so much my face hurt and in the end, I ended up in the chapter where I belong — as most women who participate do.

It’s been three years of chapter meetings, date parties, community service projects and movie nights, and I know — beyond any shadow of doubt — that I am meant to be a sorority member just as I am meant to be a newspaper journalist.

So, after my first tip about parking comes my second tip for smarter living. It involves two simple words: Go Greek.

It doesn’t matter who you are—I’m not really your stereotypical sorority woman, and no sister of my chapter or any other chapter truly fits that unfair description. We are not ditzy blondes who drink and have sex 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no matter what MTV would have you believe.

Instead, we are women who have joined organizations where we can meet people and grow both professionally and personally.

We are women who want to earn stellar grades.

We are women who want to help others.

And, we are women who want to make their college experiences memorable.

One thing I hear more often than I feel is necessary is the oh-so-polite line from non-Greeks: “Well, I don’t have to pay for my friends.”

When I hear it, I just walk away because, frankly, I don’t care to argue. My decision to join a sorority has made me happy, and I don’t feel the need to justify it.

But, let me give you a bit of insight into my organization:

My big sister’s name is Michelle, too. She’s been an incredible friend, and we enjoy Applebee’s — and well, just about any restaurant — in an overly excited, unhealthy way. I personally enjoy Applebee’s barbecue chicken sandwiches. They are delicious.

My little is Katy, and she’s a firecracker and a half. She and I enjoy Salsitas — or did until last week, when we discovered a suspicious hair in our chips.

My scrap-booking buddy, Amy, has been an amazing source of comfort for me in times when I needed a shoulder to cry on. Last fall, she walked across campus in the wee hours of the night just to listen to me cry after the person I was dating stopped calling.

Sarah is my futon counterpart, Jess is my fellow truck driver, Jennie makes me giggle when she laughs and Katie is “the wind beneath my wings.”

I have my memories with my friends just like you have with yours, and together we have our eat-fests, our bitch-fests and our inside jokes just as you and your friends do.

I wish for everyone the friendships I have, even if they find them outside of a sorority. But I ask that people stop putting me down because I have some extra money — and yes, it is mine — and spend it on dues. If you met your friend through another organization for which you pay dues — say Circle K or Black United Students — I wouldn’t discount the possibility that you’ve found your future bridesmaids just because they’re members who pay dues, too.

Instead of jeering, come out and see what the chapters on campus have to offer. We’re open to you, and our members truly don’t pay for our friends because our friends cannot be paid for.

You can’t affix a price to the people I’ve found. For the times we’ve shared and the happiness they’ve given me, the friendships I’ve made are truly priceless.

Michelle Park is a senior newspaper journalism major and the Forum page editor for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].