Sophomore Lizzie Whittles’ recruitment experience came to its conclusion alongside every anxiety-ridden rushee. They all sat on Chapman’s well-manicured lawn, gripping their shiny white envelopes with anticipation, sneakily attempting to snag a peek at the Greek letters hidden inside.
Finally, when the recruitment leaders call time, the sounds of ripping envelopes were followed by loud, shrieking screams, as each woman sprang up off the ground and busted into a full sprint to meet their new group of sisters waiting around the corner.
The tears and bright-white smiles that follow this reveal means that they will all be sisters for life, right?
While it may appear that going Greek means letters are forever, in some cases, students do resign. Though hundreds of new women are recruited each year, it’s not for everyone.
“I felt like I was forcing myself to like something I didn’t, and be someone I wasn’t, and those realizations led me to the decision to drop,” said Whittles, a psychology major.
Junior English major Madeline Rose just assumed she wanted Greek life.
“When you go out at Chapman freshman year everyone makes such a fuss about joining a sorority, like, YOU HAVE TO DO THIS,” said Rose.
Rose, like many incoming freshmen, came into college feeling overwhelmed and fearful of whether she would find where she fit in and make friends.
Whittles feared being without a community. Coming from an all-girls, very close-knit high school, where she was able to develop strong friendships with people from all grades and backgrounds, joining a sorority seemed like the solution to get that sense of belonging.
For others, like junior business administration major, Danielle Pearlman, joining Greek life was less about feeling pressured, and more about looking for like-minded people with similar interests and values to befriend.
Every bright-eyed freshman comes to Greek life with individual ideas and expectations of what being in a sorority or fraternity will be like. For most, they wear their Greek letters forever like a badge of honor. But, for some, like Rose, Whittles, and Pearlman, being Greek had an expiration date.
At Chapman, the topic is basically taboo because of how hush hush sororities and fraternities try to keep it. But, students do resign. For one reason or another, it happens, and by avoiding the subject, it makes it appear as though resigning is always a negative thing.
In reality, though, students drop for a variety of reasons.
“Members of sororities may resign their membership for several reasons, including but not necessarily limited to: Scholarship, Financial Hardship, Financial Value, Personal, Time, and Housing,” said Lisa Dodge, Director of Marketing and Communications for Delta Gamma Fraternity.
Dodge was the only sorority or fraternity professional who commented when prompted about the topic of resigning membership.
For some, like Lyndy Adamonis, sophomore dance major, dropping was simply a result of change-in-heart. She realized relatively soon after joining that with Chapman being such a small school, there was really no need to be in Greek life and have that financial burden, as she discovered getting connected was a lot easier than she originally assumed.
“It wasn’t necessary that I pay to make friends and meet people,” said Adamonis.
Similarly, for Pearlman and Rose, the financial burden of Greek life no longer felt worth it.
Both women, after being active sorority members for several years, no longer felt financially comfortable spending their own money on expensive dues and other fees. Neither regret joining sororities, but instead feel they have gained lifelong friendships from being in Greek life that are no longer dependent on them staying in their sororities.
“I personally would rather spend my money on other experiences,” said Rose.
For others, like Garrett Olson, senior computer science major, leaving was more than just about the money, but instead, a change in priorities.
“Mainly I just felt like it wasn’t my style anymore. I just felt like I was over being Greek, and the drama that sometimes comes with it. I decided it was time to focus on other things in my life,” said Olson.
In some cases, though, a negative experience in Greek life is what ultimately leads someone to resign.
For example, Whittles realized that her sorority was less of a community than she believed from the outside. She started to notice the negative impacts it had on her, and even though there were also positives, the negatives outweighed those immensely, in her experience.
Although they have dropped, Olson, Whittles, Rose, and Pearlman, did not leave bitterly.
For them, they left Greek life having made friendships that will outlast date parties and SKIT, and have gained experiences worth holding onto way past graduation.
Going Greek may be fun for now, but for some it may not be forever, and that’s okay. Chapman is a community, and being affiliated or not should not and does not define who you are, who your friends are, or what you do.