Members of Pi Beta Phi in autumn

10 Unexpected Lessons from Hillsdale’s Greek Life

Written by Sara Garfinkle

I came to Hillsdale knowing two things with absolute certainty: I was going to be challenged, and I would never, not under any circumstances, go Greek. When, during fall semester my sophomore year, my boss suggested I consider Greek life, I laughed out loud—literally. I registered for formal recruitment at her strong suggestion, though my attitude was quite kicking-and-screaming. On the final day of recruitment, I accepted a bid from a sorority. I went Greek. Oops.

Going Greek is one of the greatest and certainly most unexpected blessings of my college experience thus far. Here are 10 lessons I’ve learned from Hillsdale’s Greek life:

1. I learned that yes, Hillsdale’s Greek system really is different than other schools.

2. I learned that being in a sorority encourages me to grow in my faith. Few people pray with and for me more than my sisters.

3. I learned that, when you join a Greek house, you become part of a heritage of remarkable men and women. Hillsdale takes this heritage very seriously and cultivates its perpetuity.

4. I learned that you get out what you put in. For some, Greek life is the central, defining element of college. For others like me, it is one of many important facets of college. Your experience in Greek life is yours to shape.

5. I learned that I am part of a vast and varied network. All over the country, we have men and women we can call upon for employment suggestions, internship opportunities, letters of recommendation, or even couches on which to crash.

6. I learned that the rumors are true: being in a Greek house is excessively fun.

7. I learned that the rumors are false: you do not have to like everyone in your house. Being a part of Greek life does not mean you instantly gain friends. It means you instantly gain opportunities to make friends, cultivate respect for your peers despite their different beliefs, love them through their mistakes, and be loved by them through yours.

8. I learned that the average GPA of each Greek house is typically higher than the all-campus average.

9. I learned that Greek life fosters mentorship both formally and informally. I have grown and been challenged through informal, organic mentorship more than the formal, structured mentorship… and that’s okay!

10. I learned just how blessed I am to live and learn at a College with so many opportunities to cultivate community. I am blessed to have found mine in Greek life.

Sara GarfinkleSara Garfinkle, ’20, studies Rhetoric, Public Address, and Hebrew. She plans to be a speechwriter and teacher after graduation. Until then, you can find her baking bread, watching science fiction shows, going on adventures with her Pi Phi sisters, and pranking her younger brother Ben.

Published in December 2019