Humans have a natural need to feel like they are a part of a group. We need to feel like we belong to something bigger than ourselves. Conformity is such a large part of our society. The definition of conformity is changing your behavior to match someone else. People conform so much more than they even realize. I truly believe in the saying that, “you are a reflection of the people you spend time with”. This means if you hang out with a certain group of people, you will share some of the same traits as them.
In college fraternities are a huge source of conformity, but not all of it is bad. When I first came to Penn State I didn’t even know what a fraternity was. I went out and rushed with my roommate and I met a lot of people that I really liked. I decided to pledge and finally became a brother after my spring semester of my freshman year. Once I was in the fraternity, I began to notice the groupthink environment. Groupthink is a mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a group overrides realistic appraisal of alternatives. In fraternities excessive drinking occurs, some of the most preppy styles of dressing that I have ever seen, and just outrageous actions by people. I also was a part of this lifestyle. I began to wear sperrys and I learned what polo and brooks brothers was. I did conform, but I am so happy that I did. My fraternity made this huge campus seem smaller to me and I loved being a part of a group. I can’t even begin to describe how much fun I had and how much I have learned from this kind of culture.
I think conformity has a bad reputation but it isn’t the worst thing as long as you always have a sense of your own personal core values. Being a part of a larger group gives you the opportunity to learn things that you would never learn if you just remained to be by yourself. Everyone conforms in some way, but once you understand why it is happening, you can appreciate the benefits of it.