You don’t have to join a sorority to have a great college experience

by Angelena Lufrano, Contributor

My freshman year, I got to San Diego State with really no interest in rushing a sorority. I’ll admit, many of my ideas about them were shaped entirely by scenes from college movies like Legally Blonde or Sydney White, basically the stereotypical images of sorority girls. Not to mention, no one in my family was ever in a sorority, so I had no idea what it was really like and I didn’t feel a connection to any of them. While those with prior experience or interest will have a completely different view, this was mine.

As many girls in my freshman dorm were rushing, I always overheard parts of the process. I even heard one girl say she had to skip one of her night classes to attend a mandatory recruitment event the very first week of school. This was one of my first impressions of sororities and it reinforced my choice to not “go Greek.”

Aside from my disinterest in the whole process, I knew I just didn’t have time in my schedule. Between being a full-time student, having a part-time job at Fashion Valley and still trying to maintain a decent social life with my new friends, I couldn’t imagine trying to add time for sorority events. In addition to limited free time, one of the biggest factors into my decision was that I just could not afford to join. According to the SDSU student affairs website, the average cost for a new member of a College Panhellenic Association sorority in 2015, my freshman year, was $1,242 per semester. Meanwhile, I could barely afford to eat out with my friends on the weekends. My parents didn’t have the money to pay for that and I certainly didn’t, either.

Navigating through freshman year, I began to wonder if I was part of a very small group that decided to not go Greek. Yet I soon realized this wasn’t true.

for Holly Davis, a recent criminal justice graduate, sororities felt like an unnecessary college expense.

“I truly believe that college is about figuring out who you are and what you want to do,” Davis said. “Rather than emphasizing individuality, sororities seem to constrain you to a single group. They tell you how to act, how to look and how to experience college according to Greek rules.”

Emily Woo, a junior and international security and conflict resolution student, never felt like she would fit into one.

“I know some of my opinions of sororities could come from stereotypes around Greek life, but it still does not seem for me,” Woo said. “I understand the benefits that come from joining Greek life, but I can’t help but feel like I would be paying tremendous amounts of money to be placed into a group of girls I’m supposed to consider my ‘sisters.’ I would much rather meet and get to know people through everyday settings where I’m able to, more or less, pick and choose the people with whom I share my time and energy.”

Art & design senior Lisa Nguyen said she doesn’t like sorority culture.

“I feel as if the girls have to live up to a certain standard within their sororities, as if society doesn’t pressure us enough,” Nguyen said.

If you’re going through your freshman year not interested in joining a sorority, you’re not alone! My advice is to join clubs and organizations on campus that are based on your interests or your identity. For me, this meant joining the Andrea O’Donnell Womyn’s Outreach Association, PRSSA and PSFA Civil Core, just to name a few. Like me, you might find this is a great way to meet people, get involved and learn more about yourself during your time at SDSU without the costs and commitment of joining a sorority.

While I will never know what it’s like to be part of a sorority, I can say I’ve met some of my best friends and made some of my most treasured memories in San Diego without it.