I’m Brianne Barrett, and I’m currently teaching English abroad in Barcelona, Spain. I graduated from the University of Dayton in 2013 with a degree in Adolescence to Young Adult Education and a degree in English. Once I return to the states, I plan on pursuing my dream of teaching High School English, eventually working toward a Master’s degree, and continuing to travel whenever I possibly can. I believe that the ability to learn is the most beautiful gift we are given, and we should never turn down the opportunity to learn from our experiences or the people we encounter in our lives.
One common misconception of joining a fraternity or sorority is that one is succumbing to the idea of “paying for your friends.” This concept has given Greek Life a negative connotation for many reasons. To disprove this conception, I’m here to share with you the idea that you’re not paying for friends, you’re embarking on a journey to become a part of a cause that’s bigger than yourself. I became a member of Alpha Phi my sophomore year, and it was one of the best decisions I made during my college career. Becoming a member of a Greek organization enables one to partake in diverse opportunities in leadership and philanthropic positions. In my case, Alpha Phi gave me a sense of confidence to pursue a influencing position and become a voice among young women who all shared the common goal of improving the world in which we live.
Many college students look down upon Greek life and view these organizations as a way to have easy access to social events and parties that are well known throughout university students. Yes Greek organizations have socials, but there’s much more to being Greek than meets the eye. Every organization has its own specific philanthropy. Alpha Phi, for example, holds events every year that raise money and awareness for women’s cardiac health. Zeta Tau Alpha raises money and awareness for breast cancer, and Phi Beta Phi raises money and awareness for literacy among youth and adults. These are just a few of the many important causes in which Greek organizations spread word. I always felt a sense of accomplishment after our major fundraiser events when the numbers tallying how much money we’d raised for our respective charities displayed the hard work we had done. Knowing that I was not only making a difference in the lives of people I’d probably never know, but also raising awareness for a worthy cause gave me such a sense of pride and accomplishment in what I was doing whilst in school.
The importance of sisterhood was a dominant value among our members in Alpha Phi. Greek Life organizations embrace opportunities that allow their members to bond and become more than just friends. Joining a fraternity or sorority is a commitment to a brotherhood or sisterhood that embraces company and shares the common values of the given organization. Our sisters emulated a mold for successful young women in their college years and strove to be the best women that they could be. We praised the successes of one another and supported decisions that were made by the leadership in order to better our organization. I have found that working with young women who shared similar beliefs to be thoroughly rewarding and character changing in terms of my own life. Sharing common interests and voicing opinions that were valued by each member of my Greek organization allowed me to possess a sense of confidence that I don’t think would have been possible had I not been a part of Alpha Phi.
In short, Greek Life gives one opportunities that aren’t always possible in other organizations. People can relate to those who decided to commit themselves to others who wanted to improve their lives and the lives of others. Being a member of such organizations is not only life changing, but also character building and rewarding in every aspect. I could have attended college and volunteered for causes, but being in a sorority not only allowed me to raise awareness to a cause close to me, but learn from young women and others who believed that the world needs voices. My voice was heard as a member of Alpha Phi and I’m forever grateful for the experiences I was able to have as a dedicated sister, friend, leader, and member of my sorority.