On most college campuses, 10-25% of undergraduate students are involved in Greek life. There are many advantages to joining Greek life, including sisterhood/brotherhood, improved academic success, leadership opportunities, social events, community service, and career networking. It's easy to see why many students are interested in rushing. However, there can also be a self-esteem aspect related to rushing- if I don't receive a bid, why did no one want me?
When I entered my freshman year of college, I was 100% sure that I did not want to join a sorority. I was never popular, or preppy, and I didn't think I would fit in with the girls. However, after seeing huge amounts of posts about sororities my friends joined, I started to get major FOMO. Should I have tried to rush? Was I missing out? Was it too late? I knew that most girls rushed their freshman year, and I was afraid I had lost my chance to join a sorority.
In the spring of freshman year, my friend and I decided to participate in COB, continuous open bidding. This informal rush in the spring is more relaxed, and often allows for better conversations with sisters since they don't have hundreds of girls to talk to in a day. I went to 2 houses, and didn't find my place at either of them. One of them reached out to me to tell me that unfortunately, they only had 2 open spots, and I had not filled one. At the other house, I was extended a bid, but it didn't feel like the right fit for me. I felt a little defeated, but my friend hadn't found her place either. We decided that we would rush in the fall as sophomores during formal recruitment.
Over the summer, we registered for recruitment and were assigned groups. There were at least 600 girls that rushed in the fall, if not closer to 1,000. On the first night, we all went into an auditorium and listened to each sorority talk for a short time about themselves, and all of the Gamma Chis (also known as Rho Gammas) participated in singing the chants and songs of every sorority. We also received the t-shirts we would be wearing for Round 1, stretched out over 2 days, with us visiting 6 houses on each day. After Round 1 was complete, we worked with our Gamma Chis to discuss the 2 or 3 sororities we wanted to drop. However, this didn't necessarily mean that we wouldn't be invited back to them tomorrow.
In Round 2, most girls got 4-5 invitations back to houses. I had only received 2. I was upset, and my friend who was rushing with me received 4 invitations, so I immediately started comparing myself to her. What did she have that I didn't? What did all of the girls in my recruitment group have that I didn't? Even though I was hurt and confused, because I thought I did relatively well at the houses, I did my best to pick myself up and put on my best face for the remaining 2 houses. I had pretty good conversations at both houses, and was feeling particularly good about one of them.
In Round 3, I found out that the house I preferred had dropped me. I was heartbroken. On my way to my final option, my mom called me. As if things couldn't get worse, she informed me that my dad had lost his job, and we wouldn't be able to afford me joining a sorority. Devastated, I went with my Gamma Chi to formally drop out of recruitment. My friend who was rushing with me got a bid from one of her top choices, and I was green with jealousy.
I felt like I had gotten the short end of the stick in every way: I got dropped from almost every house, my best friend got a bid and I didn't, and I wasn't financially able to join a sorority. I spent the next semester wallowing from time to time as I saw my friend thrive in her sorority and make new friends. I decided to try again with informal recruitment in the spring, and that this would be my final attempt.
The previous year, informal recruitment begun on February 1st. In the second-to-last week of January, I reached out to the Panhellenic recruitment chair for my school, asking when it was scheduled to begin. She let me know that it had started on January 15th. My heart sank. I couldn't believe I was too late, and that I wouldn't be able to join a sorority, despite now having the financial means. She let me know the 4 sororities who participated in spring recruitment, and encouraged me to reach out to them to see if they still had spots available and were willing to meet with me.
One of the sororities was the one that had extended me a bid the previous spring that I declined, so that one was out. The second sorority was religion-based, which was not my style. The final two were the sorority that had kept me during fall, and the sorority my best friend was in. I started getting my hopes up about potentially joining the same sorority as my best friend, and I got kind of excited, as did she. I reached out to the 2 sororities I was considering, and one agreed to meet with me, while the other asked for my contact information. I got the sense that I was too late for my friend's sorority, as they did not want to meet with me, and said they would reach out 'as spots opened up.' I went to the other house for lunch one day, and talked with some of the sisters and their recruitment chair. I felt good about it, and two days later, the recruitment chair reached out to offer me a bid! I talked with my parents, and accepted it two days later.
Finally, I had found my place in Greek life. The girls at my sorority are the perfect fit for me, and they are not at all 'typical' sorority girls. It's different than the stereotypes, and it's really fun. I'm so glad that I took my final opportunity to rush, and though my feelings were hurt from fall rush, I ended up finding my place after a full year and 3 rushes. If you were dropped from rush or had to drop out, or maybe just didn't find your place, I encourage you to try again. Keep an open mind, and ignore the stereotypes and bad things you may have heard from other people or GreekRank. Join the one that feels right for you, and I promise you will find your home.