Going Greek

By Charlie Norgaard

My brother, Adam, graduated from OES in June and moved up to Seattle to begin his four years of college at the University of Washington. Eager to start fresh and begin a new era of academics, he immediately seized the opportunity to leave Oregon ahead of the usual schedule, to begin early fall start at UW.

The Early Fall Start program gives freshmen the opportunity to ease into the college life before the official start of school in September. Though it sounded like it would make the transition into college easier, this was absolutely not the case for Adam. Shortly after meeting his dorm mate, a seemingly kind and conscientious young man, it was soon discovered that he was not the roommate Adam was hoping for. Within a matter of days, Adam became increasingly exasperated with his roommate’s many quirky habits. These ranged from the multiple applications of Axe spray throughout the day, to his non-stop cacophony of bodily noises — including snoring that would build to a crescendo as the night dragged on; Adam decided at the beginning of week three, that for the sake of his sanity, and also for the hope of improving his social life, he was going to have to leave the dorm.  It was time to go Greek.  He was joining a Frat.

“It is the best decision anyone can make in their college career,” says Adam. As a pledge of Beta Theta Pi, Adam has been a member of his fraternity for nearly six weeks. He is one of 30 pledges that went through the rushing process and received an invite to join Beta.  Though it can be grueling and slightly humiliating at times, he believes the rushing process is fully worth it. He feels that he is living the college experience to its fullest potential. “When you’re going to a college as big as the University of Washington, you need to make it feel less overwhelming by making your world feel a bit more intimate and relatable.  That’s the beauty of the Greek system.  It makes a big school seem a lot smaller.  The bond you feel with your pledge class brothers is almost instantaneous, and it feels like a family.  We have communal style dinners each night, have chores we’re each responsible for around the house, we go to football games together, study together and always have a group of like-minded guys to hang out with.”

Of course there are a few downsides as well.  As a freshman pledge, you are required to live on a ‘sleeping porch’ with 30 other guys.  Sleeping porches, very popular at UW, are large rooms at one end of a fraternity house that contains 15 bunkbeds and nothing else.  Windows are kept open year-round to promote air circulation and ideally prevent sickness from spreading.  Unfortunately, the open window concept didn’t work as planned, and by week two, half the pledge class had come down with a horrific case of the flu.  Adam described the sleeping porch at that time as a “cesspool of disease,” and mentioned it was literally like a “petri dish full of the most disgusting illnesses known to mankind, with people moaning and groaning and hacking and coughing throughout the night for over a week.”

He has absolutely no regrets though, and claims that joining a fraternity is the best decision he could have ever made.  He enjoyed his time at OES, but says that college life is so much better than he had ever imagined.  “ I can’t even begin to narrow it down to just one thing, but one of the many refreshing changes is the new sense of personal independence it’s given me.”   He went on to add that he has two words of advice for future OES graduates, “Don’t shy away from big schools, and if you do decide to attend a bigger school versus a smaller liberal arts college, you gotta GO GREEK!”