For most college students, fraternity life is an unavoidable presence. If there is Greek life at your school, you will be exposed to it at some point during your higher education, whether it is by attending a party or sharing a class with a brother. But even though fraternities exist on most college campuses, they often get a bad reputation. At even the slightest whisper of the word "fraternity," critics envision nightmarish basements filled with polo-clad bros submerged in a sea of kegs. Admittedly, I once believed that too. But after joining a fraternity myself, I have come to learn how it can actually be one of the best things you do in college.
Due to popular culture and films such as American Pie and Animal House, society has cultivated a negative perception of fraternities. People see them as places where meathead males go to engage in drunken debauchery. And yes, brothers do like to have fun, and yes, sometimes they consume alcohol. But then again, so do many college students. Drinking and partying are not the primary focus of fraternity life. Instead, they are a secondary offshoot of a fraternity’s main focus, which is brotherhood.
As part of a fraternity, you forge bonds with your brothers that will last throughout your lifetime. Fraternities transform complete strangers into a family you can always rely on. Additionally, you get to interact with a variety of people who you would never have gotten to know otherwise. If you are a freshman engineer, it is unlikely that you would naturally befriend a junior on the crew team. Fraternities break typical constraints such as grades and social circles, allowing you to make unexpected friendships. I myself am currently rooming next to a senior from Puerto Rico who I never heard of last year but is now one of my closest friends. And he is just one of the many brothers I have bonded with in my fraternity.
In college, you make lots of casual friends from classes and clubs. These are people you say hi to when you cross paths and then put out of your mind until the next time you run into them. In contrast, fraternities offer you a tight group of closely connected friends. Your brothers will actually care when they ask how you are, and they will come to the event you’re promoting even if they’re not the least bit interested in it. They will also drop everything that they’re doing to come help you at a moment’s notice. Last year, after receiving an unexpected laceration, I needed emergency medical attention. My brothers immediately sped me to the nearest hospital and stayed with me the entire four hours from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. while I waited to get stitches. That is brotherhood, something that the American Pie series seems to overlook in its portrayal of Greek life.
From my personal experience, I believe that rushing a fraternity is definitely something everyone should consider while at college. Although fraternities can have notorious reputations, don’t let the media’s depiction of them make you forget their true purpose. I have made such fond memories with this diverse group of incredible men, and I look forward to my future years at college and all the great times we will have together.