Friday, April 30, 2010

Senior Reflections - Part 2

By Jessica Gehl, '10, Delta Gamma

When I was looking at prospective colleges, Greek Life was an absolute priority for me. My dad was involved in his Fraternity in college and I loved hearing his stories and meeting his old-frat-buds all grown up with families. Even further, my nanny growing up was my dad’s fraternity chef, Flo. He recruited her when I was born to help my parents who both worked full time. Thus, from the beginning, I knew I liked the world of Greeks.

Lehigh Greek Life is a significant part of the overall campus. Even non- members of sororities or fraternities still are affected and involved in some way, whether it is participating in an activity hosted by Greek life or even roaming The Hill certain nights. It was from this insight freshman year that I decided I wanted to go through formal recruitment. I had an amazing group of friends in my freshman dorm and at a point I wasn’t sure I wanted to extend myself outside of that group. “What the heck”, was the overall thought process that led to one of the best experiences of my life.

I met so many people.

On so many levels.

I have an incredibly close pledge class. We all live on the same block of Hillside as seniors, even the same side of the street. Last night we went out for Hibachi to celebrate Lauren’s birthday- old lady at 22. But in addition to my amazing pledge class and sorority, I met leaders in all extensions of campus. A casual BBQ led to meeting an accounting major (just like me) who could give me advice from being a year wiser. I am SO EXCITED to have friends from different schools visit so I can show off my sorority and my friends through different activities, fundraisers, and social events. Lehigh has been an amazing experience, and the Greek system has obviously contributed a lot to that experience.

We’ve all seen the movies. Animal House and Van Wilder have given a narrow perception of what college and Greek Life are all about. As a na├»ve freshman, of course I expected the same thing. What I would never have believed if you told me, was that by junior year I would be President of my sorority. In fact, I probably would have laughed and skipped away without thinking about it twice. However, when our Nationals wanted to change the election year from school year to calendar year, I stepped up as the transition President, with a promise from everyone in my house to work with me and support me through the term. It was one of the best decisions of my collegiate career. I gained new respect for girls in my house that I knew on a personal basis but not necessarily as a “leader.” I was so refreshed and pleasantly surprised to see my own pledge class support me and the younger girls really step up to grow individually and as a sorority. My advice is to absolutely push yourself as a leader. Take on as much responsibility as you can so that you can be pleasantly surprised like I was. Plus, you’ll expand your network and differentiate yourself even further to impress future employers. The Greek system is a great thing to get involved with, to expand with, and to make even better. You can make a difference, and what a better place to do it than a support system consisting of 40% of the University you love.