With the start of a new school year, a new set of preconceived notions and their accompanying judgments of one of the many facets of my life as a student have begun to rear their ugly heads.
Everything from someone’s sunglasses to shoes to speaking voice factors into their assessment, but it seems to me that one item sure to draw quick attention — and quick assumptions — is the ?presence of greek letters on a student’s apparel.
At IU, greek life is as much a part of the landscape as the Sample Gates and perfectly-pruned mums. Unlike the stunning architecture and flawless grounds, however, greek life draws its fair share of intense criticism: in it or not, you love it or hate it.
As we get settled into the social environments of each new class, the typical snap judgments we make when getting to know a large group of strangers ?begin to fly.
We’re all familiar with the greek stereotypes. Those in the greek system are all heavy partiers — we don’t care about academics or anything with much substance because we’re too busy obsessing over our love for each other, climbing the social ladder and “throwing what we know.”
Amid the torrent of indelible first impressions forged within the first few weeks of school, too many greek students avoid wearing our letters to class until we have solidly established ourselves as scholars and individuals worthy of respect for fear that we’ll be known by our professors and classmates only as “the sorority girl” or “the frat kid.”
One of my close friends was mocked by her professor in front of a large class when she finally decided to wear her greek letters to a discussion.
The professor expressed utter shock. How could such a bright, thoughtful, dedicated student be a member of the greek ?system?
In this woman’s mind, the two were clearly mutually exclusive, and my friend shrunk in her seat under the weight of her unwelcome new identity.
No one wants to be the object of a professor’s disdain for “the frat bro in the front row.”
It’s frustrating. It’s unfair.
And those of us worried about being judged for being greek are exactly the people who need to get over ourselves and reverse the cycle.
I am incredibly proud of the home I have found within the greek system. I am incredibly proud of the millions of charitable dollars raised annually by chapters across the nation.
I am incredibly proud of the ideals on which greek chapters were founded and the individuals who uphold those ideals.
If we want to stop hiding our letters until we’ve established a good impression to evade judgement, we’re only diminishing that legacy.
So tomorrow when you’re getting ready for class, throw on your dads’ weekend quarter zip or philanthropy tank.
There is so much behind those letters of which to be incredibly proud.