If you are to enter college in the Philippines, one of the many options you have, aside from which school and what course to take, is to choose whether you will join school organizations, fraternities included. Many students are still attracted to joining these brotherhoods and sisterhoods despite of its growing unpopularity due to allegations of hazing throughout the years.
But what really is a fraternity and what are its pros and cons?
A fraternity is an organization of male students with shared interests, principles and purpose. Fraternities encourage academic excellence among its members who are also expected to help their brothers with academic needs. Fraternities have been established from decades ago and you’ll find some of the oldest and most prestigious frats in many state universities and top higher education institutions around the country. Thus, the academic support that you can gain from being part of a big organization like a fraternity can prove to be beneficial.
Joining a fraternity can also help in building an instant network. This network gives an edge to young professionals who are starting their careers as many opportunities can spring from having a lot of connections. It’s no secret that fraternities have alumni in powerful positions in government, business and judiciary among others.
Frequent meet-ups and massive events organized by fraternities can also create strong bonds. Even if these friendships started at the university level, it has a big possibility of lasting even beyond college because of the sense of loyalty and brotherhood that fraternities instill in their members.
As with any college organizations, fraternities demand time. A lot of it. The number of activities and its frequency can pose a challenge to students who already have a demanding schedule. Fraternities, especially the biggest ones, will usually stage fundraising events, volunteer activities, conferences, and parties that will eventually coincide with your deadlines and exams.
While joining a fraternity has its advantages, the alleged recruitment process will always be the biggest con. Prior to joining a fraternity, it has been widely reported that a student must first pass through an initiation rite that involves embarrassment, humiliation, and in some cases, violence. This practice is illegal and strongly condemned even by legislators and school administrators. The Republic Act 8049 or the Anti-Hazing Law enumerates these practices to include forcing a student applicant to do menial, silly and foolish tasks and/or subjecting him to physical or psychological suffering or injury. But even with the existence of a law, around 30 cases were still reported dating back to year 2000.
As a freshman wishing to finish your college years with flying colors, the choice of joining a fraternity, sorority, or any school organization for that matter, must always be taken with careful consideration.
Do your research and ask around before committing to join. Consult upperclassmen who are members and non-members of a fraternity you’re considering to get opinions from both sides. Don’t forget to consult your parents or an academic advisor who will always have your best interests at heart.
Remember, school organizations are expected to enhance your college experience, not derail it. It’s up to you to decide how you will respond to these networking opportunities available.