I’ll be honest that I was one of those freshman nearly three months ago who came to RPI and was instantly overwhelmed by opportunities, whether they were academics, meeting new people, or that endless stream of emails once you sign up for RPI Jinder (JobLink) alerting you that companies are interviewing in your area.
I wanted to explore all of these, and even maybe go outside my comfort zone to find something new. That was when I found Greek life. I was sitting in my dorm, calmly reading Democratism by Cognitive Science Professor Bill Puka and gazing at my newly issued official Poly email address, when I heard a knock at the door.
Slowly turning the lock and sliding the door open, I saw two older gentlemen wearing Greek letters trying to solicit me to go to their house. Not to engage in some activity not necessarily permitted by the Institute, but to eat lobster with them and the hordes of other freshmen sitting on their lawn.
As a typical college student, I graciously accepted the offer of free food, but I was secretly nervous. “A frat? Bad idea,” I thought as I walked down sketchy Burdett Avenue.
Of course, I wasn’t and never will be the stereotypical “frat guy.” I don’t do drugs, I get good grades, I love to write, and I’ve probably read enough books to fill the Troy Building. None of this mattered though, once I entered through the great wooden doors of the fraternity.
Everyone was unique and different in their own special way, and this made me feel at home. This made me want to become a pledge at a fraternity during my first semester of freshman year and is definitely an opportunity I am glad I capitalized upon.
Greek life, although I have been a part of it for only a short period of time, is something I feel is one of the most unique aspects of RPI and one I surely want to contribute to during my time at RPI. The brothers have been nothing but accepting, and I truly feel like many have already begun to serve as role models for my future academic success.
I also don’t want to generalize the conglomerate that is Greek life. No given Greek organization is the same, just like any given individual. However, it can be easy to sit from the sidelines and see Greek life in black and white terms.
At the same time, we should all try to move past these narrow perspectives and see people as individuals, and houses as composed of individuals, not to the detriment of any given organization, but for the betterment of ourselves and the Rensselaer community as a whole.