Megan Mittelhammer Essay Graphic

Our UGA 101 guide to campus includes letters of advice and recommendation from students and recent graduates. These are the opinions of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Red & Black. 

I didn’t know the first thing about Greek life when I came to UGA. I didn’t have many friends in sororities or fraternities, but I still felt like I would be missing out if I didn’t join. I wanted to make new friends and get involved.

Ultimately, I didn’t go through the recruitment process, and I never regretted it. Here are a few reasons that not going Greek doesn’t mean missing out.

You can make friends on your own. If you want to join a sorority or fraternity because you want to make friends, that shouldn’t be the reason why you rush. Even if you’re more of an introvert, it’s easy to make friends on campus without going Greek. You can meet people just about everywhere at UGA — I found my friends at the dining hall, bonding over a weird professor, in the dorm elevator and at club meetings.

I have friends and roommates who are in Greek life, but I met them all over campus and through mutual friends. Don’t use Greek life to quickly make a large group of friends. They’ll probably have some of the same experiences as you, and it’s important to branch out while you’re in college. Meet people with diverse and unique experiences different from your own.

Involvement is everywhere. Don’t go Greek because you want to get involved on campus. Greek life is semi-independent of UGA, and they pretty much do their own thing. They host tailgates on the lawns of their Antebellum-style houses, throw date nights and semi-formals that many call “college prom,” and host philanthropy events once or twice a semester. Instead, go to UGA’s Involvement Fair and find clubs that you really care about.

One of the perks of such a large campus is that there’s no shortage of ways to get involved. If Greek life isn’t taking up all your weekends you will have time to explore Athens and get to know the music, comedy or arts scenes.

Skip the rat race and the price tag. Recruitment is long, hot and biased. Sororities and fraternities make it sound like you get to rush or pledge the organization of your choice, when they’re actually choosing you. While you can make friends during recruitment, pledging comes with an expensive price tag. You’ll pay annual dues, party and date night fees, T-shirt fees, plus rent if you live in the house.

I couldn’t afford both joining a sorority and doing something like studying abroad, so I chose to study abroad. Spending a Maymester in Munich, Germany, allowed me to travel every weekend and even meet distant relatives. I made amazing memories that were better than any sorority formal.

Megan Mittelhammer, class of 2022, has served in a number of roles at The Red & Black including as summer 2020 editor in chief.

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