Welcome to a series of stories that basically make up my autobiography. It’s not entirely thorough, but I’ll do the best I can with the memories locked away inside my head. Could be therapeutic for me. Could be humorous for you. Either way, enjoy…
Previously on Life Story… I was welcomed at Bluefield College for an entire week. After that, I was on my own…
Early in my freshman year at Bluefield, I was introduced to the concept of Greek Life.
Actually, I knew all about Greek life before I went to college. I mean, Animal House is a movie that exists. And I have no doubt that Animal House is an accurate depiction of what it’s like to be involved in a Greek organization on pretty much any college campus. I’m surprised that movie isn’t found in the documentary section at Blockbuster.
I mean… wasn’t… found in the documentary section… Because Blockbuster doesn’t exist anymore. Man, I’m old.
Greek life at Bluefield wasn’t anything like Animal House. At least as far as I could tell. Not sure how it goes at larger colleges and universities, but in a school with about 500 students, it just wasn’t like the movies.
In fact, as far as I was concerned, I had no idea what the point was of having any fraternities or sororities at Bluefield College.
Maybe there are some folks out there reading this who are wiser and more experienced with the Greek system than I. And maybe those folks can educate me in the comments. But, from what I could tell, joining a fraternity was a way to make social connections. It was a way to get involved with a group of, I assume, like-minded individuals who would sort of become like family for students away at college.
And I could even see those connections having long-term implications with some of the larger fraternities or sororities. Particularly the national organizations with chapters that exist on multiple campuses. Because when one graduates and goes out to find a job in the real world, it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know. And if you can connect to someone based on the fact that you pledged the same Greek club, I can see how that would significantly increase your odds of finding gainful employment.
But this was Bluefield College.
I always said that Bluefield had that small town kind of feel. I mean, yes, Bluefield is a small town. But the college itself is like a small town unto itself. So everyone pretty much knows everyone. At least we did. Especially if we lived on campus. And so, to me, the idea of being forced to jump through hoops and pay financial dues to an organization that would allow me to make friends and have a more active social life seemed… well… pointless.
I never joined up with a fraternity. There were people who tried to talk me into pledging for one or another each fall as my years at Bluefield passed. But I stayed strong. No one was ever able to convince me that being part of a fraternity at such a small school was a great idea and one I couldn’t live without. I was still able to make friends on campus. I was even able to make friends with several people who were involved in different fraternities. I wasn’t tied down to any particular group. And it didn’t cost me a thing.
As for the long-term implications of being involved in a fraternity, I don’t know that there were any coming out of Bluefield. I haven’t heard from any of my friends that those connections they made through Greek life at Bluefield resulted in any extra boost to career success later in life. A fellow Bluefield survivor would need to correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m fairly certain that none of those small Greek organizations were a part of anything on a national scale. So I think it’s safe to say that those connections are out, too.
So I remained independent throughout my college career. I never had to wear silly little hats. I never had to stand at attention whenever certain individuals entered the room. I never had to wear signs around my neck indicating that I was a lowly pledge. I held my head high.
I mean, not at first. Freshman year I was still trying to shake off that shy kid I was in high school. It took me a while to really come out of my shell…