Friday, May 7, 2010

Senior Reflections - Part 5

By Jaclyn Weissman, '10, Alpha Phi

Many students at Lehigh choose to join Greek life after a full semester of witnessing all of the positive aspects it offers - strong friendships, leadership opportunities and social advantages – but my reason for joining was different than most.

I began my freshman year at Muhlenberg only 20 minutes away from my older sister who was a student at Lehigh and a junior in Alpha Phi. I had visited her many times before and had always loved the college atmosphere that Lehigh had to offer but had originally planned to study dance and theater, which Lehigh doesn’t specialize in. Before spending much time at Muhlenberg I began to realize that the extremely small class size was not going to provide the college experience I wanted, nor allow me to reach the full potential and gain influencing experiences that I believed I could during my four undergraduate years. The disappointment of beginning at a college that I felt unattached to, coupled by the fact that I had began to grow interests in new and different fields of study, left me looking for a change.

Only a few weeks into school I began visiting my sister regularly at Lehigh and spending time with many of her friends in Alpha Phi. I became increasingly close with them and it wasn’t long before they had convinced me to apply to Lehigh mid-year and join Alpha Phi as soon as I arrived in January. To be honest, I didn’t decide to transfer because of my sister, as close as I was with her, but rather because of her close-knit group of friends. I was jealous of their relationships and how they were fun, had a great sense of humor in open honesty, and closeness that allowed them to raid each other’s closets for clothes to every occasion. I wanted to study at Lehigh and have friends with the same group dynamic that my sister had. When I finally received my acceptance letter shortly after Thanksgiving there was no question that I would attend Lehigh and follow in the footsteps of my sister in Alpha Phi.

Without rambling on I will say this – being a part of Greek life has significantly enhanced my college experience and I can’t imagine having found the close friendships that have resulted from being a part of it in any other way. It has provided me with a network of girls that will be my close friends for the rest of my life. To add, many of the positions that I’ve held in Alpha Phi, including co-recruitment chair my junior year, have helped me to develop my leadership skills and confidence. This year I served as VP Communications on the Panhellenic Council and formed strong friendships with girls in many other chapters as well. I believe that my experience goes against all of the negative stereotypes that surround fraternities and sororities, and I’m lucky to have had such a positively influential experience during my college years.