When you make the decision to join a Greek organization on campus, you never have to do anything on your own. In the beginning period before your formal initiation, you have a whole group of other new members to experience everything with. Those people will quickly become some of your best friends, through your shared experiences and excitement about joining the organization. However, once you’re given an older member as a mentor for your time in the organization, your experience changes a bit. Suddenly, you’re linked to the entire history of the whole group instead of just your class or chapter. Through the careful records kept by many chapters, you can see the “family trees” of members from the very beginning of your chapter up until your class. You’re really a part of everything then, part of the past, present and future of the organization.
Usually, these mentor relationships are mutually decided. It’s not a random assignment, chosen through some magical process. You are mentored by someone who can help you and support you while you join the organization and learn what is expected of each member. Your mentor will also be there for you when you eventually become a mentor to a new member.
These relationships can lead to really strong friendships, but they don’t always. Sometimes people who you thought would be perfect together don’t mesh well. Or sometimes the honeymoon stage of the relationship is quickly over, and people realize that maybe the person chosen as their mentor isn’t exactly what they wanted in the first place. This isn’t the end of the world. Other people will pick up the slack, making sure that you don’t feel alone or abandoned. You wanted to join the organization in the first place and they want to make sure you’re still happy with that choice.
Sometimes, your relationship with your mentor (or mentee) is exactly what you both wanted and needed. You just click and are quickly close, and will remain close for a very long time. I was extremely lucky in this regard, having really strong bonds with my mentors and mentees. My mentee for Gamma Sigma Sigma is actually my roommate this semester, and I’m going to be in her wedding next fall. I definitely would consider her one of my closest friends and we probably wouldn’t have the same relationship if we weren’t paired together.
As recruitment for Greek organizations draws closer, I encourage you to look into it if you’re considering it at all. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends and experience many amazing things on and off campus.