By Andrew Yourell
When you leave for college, everyone gives you advice, whether you ask for it or not. Don’t forget to pack this, make sure to do this on your first day, and on and on. We here at The New Hampshire are no different. After all, our entire freshman issue is just a series of advice columns to help you youngsters out during your first few days in Durham. So here’s my two cents.
Join a fraternity or sorority.
It’s pretty simple advice, and since I’m a senior and you’re a freshman, the conventional wisdom would be to take my advice and not ask questions. But fortunately for you, my editor gave me a word count, so I guess I’ll fill you in on why you should join a fraternity or sorority.
My biggest fear when I got to campus in the fall of 2012 was that I’d be coming from a small town and a small high school, and I didn’t know how I’d fit in at a big school like UNH. I made friends with the guys on my floor at Christensen Hall though, and I managed to have a pretty good first semester. In the spring of that year, those same friends got interested in joining a fraternity, and I decided to go along with them. Now, here I am writing about why you should make the same choice that I did.
My closest on-campus friends got me to show up, but the friendships I’ve made since joining Greek life have become just as important to me. My fraternal bond with my brothers has strengthened friendships that already existed. It might sound corny when you hear terms like “brother” and “sister” to describe members of the same fraternity or sorority, but in a lot of ways your brothers and sisters truly become your family here at UNH. They’re the people you hang out with after class and on the weekends, the ones that make sure you don’t have to be a Steven Glansberg at Philbrook (which isn’t that bad, but that’s advice for another column). They look out for you on the weekends, help you when you struggle in a class, and they’re the ones that you’re going to turn to when you have an issue that you can’t deal with on your own.
As a member of a fraternity or sorority, you’ll have the opportunity to take on a leadership role, one that will help you to positively shape your organization, and one that will help you even after you graduate.
When you sit down for a job interview and they ask you about being the president of your fraternity, you’ll be able to tell your potential employer about how you led a group of college students to raise money for charity, or how you managed the paperwork required by the school and the national branch, how you brainstormed ways to keep your fellow brothers interested in becoming better, all while remaining a full-time student.
Apart from helping make some great friends and giving you leadership opportunities that will aid you long after you’ve graduated, Greek life helps make you a better contributor on campus. UNH requires all recognized Greek organizations to partake in its “GPEP” program, which rewards organizations for achieving high grades, performing community service, participating in on-campus events, and attending regular seminars and discussions. Before you graduate, you’ll undoubtedly see the positive effect that some members of the Greek community have made on campus.
My hope is that after reading this, you’ll become one of them.