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Opinion: ‘Why do you have to pay for friends?’

When applying to colleges back home in Gainesville, Florida, I researched different schools’ cultures to the best of my ability in the hopes of finding a university that matched my interests.

Growing up by the University of Florida, I accepted the depiction of Greek life that I saw from media and popular culture, like the rowdy and flashy fraternity boys from “Neighbors” with Seth Rogen, or the picky sorority girls from the TV series, “Greek.”

This attitude led me to choose The Ohio State University because I saw that a small percentage of undergraduates participated in Greek life.

I went about my first semester surrounded by enthusiastic freshmen who were beyond excited to get out of their parents’ homes. Countless community activities were presented right in my hallway, making it too easy to try different things out.

Beginning second semester, a mentor from back home asked me to check out his old Greek chapter, and finally, I put aside my assumptions and decided it couldn’t hurt for the night.

Within a matter of hours, I met a group of individuals who didn’t seem to fit the mold at all. Pre-med students, skateboarders and football players all seemed to share memories and some kind of connection.

I was convinced by this bond and accepted my bid on the spot. The next few months turned out to be more beneficial than I could have expected and gave me a friend group that seems close, like family.

This might seem extreme, but let me explain the benefits I have received since making this decision. First off, I have the opportunity to live in a safe home with all my best friends around me in an environment that encourages learning and independence. Not to mention we get to have some fun.

I don’t think there is a better way for a group of individuals to learn leadership skills and teamwork than spending lots of time with a diverse friends, and setting lofty philanthropy and social goals to push themselves further into society and build connections.

Our chapters and alumni stretch far across the globe. Fraternities even reward individuals for merit-based accomplishments, far from society’s view of them rewarding the most immoral characters.  Greek life humbles you and gives you a platform on which to develop into an adult, like the classes we attend weekly strive to give us.

It becomes a different type of learning when your peers support and help you. So, you ask again why I would pay for friends, and I would say surrounding myself with a place to grow as an individual is a priceless convenience.

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