I had known that I wanted to be a part of a sorority since middle school. I'm an only child, so the thought of having a bunch of fun, beautiful sisters that I got to choose was fascinating to me. When applications were released to apply for formal recruitment for my university, I didn't hesitate. I filled out the application, paid the fee and waited patiently for spring semester, which is when our rush process takes place. I was so excited! However, that excitement only stood its ground for the first of the many rounds. I never expected something that seemed so glamorous and cheerful could be so hard.
There were a lot of tears.
I kid you not. I cried so, so much. Especially at the beginning of the second round. I remember the feelings of adrenaline and hope I had as my group's Rho Gammas passed out our schedules, then the feeling of pain and rejection I got as soon as I looked at mine. I was so not expecting the results that I got. I thought that the conversations I had with the many chapters all went well, but my schedule seemed to prove me wrong. I sat with my Rho Gamma while bawling my eyes out for about 20 minutes before deciding to keep going and give the chapters that wanted me back for that round a better chance.
Twenty-five minutes really isn't that long, especially if you're judging someone's character.
I'm not too sure how it works at every school, but at mine, the first few rounds are a mere 25 minutes long. This amount of time really only gives the sorority a chance to ask your name, major and other basic questions before you are already getting rushed to the next chapter. It's very overwhelming for both the PNM and the sorority member doing the interviewing, and after visiting a few different chapters during welcome round, I realized that my conversations at each had been pretty similar. This is one of the many reasons that I was so hurt after receiving my second round schedule. I didn't understand how those chapters simply decided they didn't want me after asking such general questions.
My confidence was certainly tested.
Before participating in formal recruitment, everyone is told the same, basic things. "Be yourself!" and "Smile!" I made sure to do these things at all times, so this was why my confidence was so shaken after going through the first few sets of rounds. If I was being myself, happy and outgoing, then why didn't these chapters want me in their rounds? I am usually a pretty confident girl, but receiving schedule after schedule and seeing which sororities didn't want me was quite heartbreaking. I went home each day and cried — a lot.
My mom tried to understand what was going on, but since I am the first in my family to even attend college, this was difficult. I reflected on each conversation I had to try and see where I went wrong or where I messed up, and I judged each outfit I put on until I had changed for the fifth time. I probably ran a straightener over the same piece of hair until it was perfectly pin-straight. My poor, blonde hair.
Girls can be really mean, but there are some nice ones out there.
I remember I was standing in line ready to go into one of the chapters, when I really liked a girl's outfit. So naturally, I complimented her. This girl proceeded to get offended and give me a dirty look, just because I offered her some kind words, and this was not the only time something like this happened during rush. I silently observed as countless girls talked bad about other girl's outfits, other PNMs in general and even some chapters. This broke my heart even more.
In my mind, the girls I stood by in line were likely to be my sisters in the future, so I didn't view it as a competition, but many others did. I tried making conversation with some of these girls, but many of them were not interested in conversation. Formal recruitment really made me realize that the "mean girl" didn't end in high school for several people.
Even though I encountered many mean girls, I still met some really kind ones. I am happy for these girls because I don't think I would have continued with the process if I hadn't met them. Something as simple as someone complimenting my hair during a round and something as big as my Rho Gamma comforting me into continuing with rush really seemed to benefit me.
Speaking of Rho Gammas, talk to yours if you need someone.
Don't read the comments online
You may feel tempted to go online and see what everyone has to say about each sorority, but I strongly advise against this. Today, all people have to say about several organizations, especially Greek ones, is purely negative, and this is so sad. I would read through endless posts of hate and wonder why people always have to be so negative, especially online. I especially saw a lot of hate going on between Greek organizations online, and this is so alarming.
I am more than just a number.
Yeah, so the name tag that I wore through each round had a certain number on it. Yes, this is the one they used to define me. However, I had to keep in mind that I was more than just that three digit code. I was a whole person, smiling with lipgloss-smothered lips, ready to impress.
In the end, the only thing left to do is "trust the process."
This three-word phrase was said over and over (and over) to us so many times throughout the recruitment process. Many of us refused to listen for a while. It was so hard to put so much trust into a process that made zero sense. As the end got near, though, I really was able to see which chapters wanted me back, and this meant a lot.
Yes, it really did hurt when I got rejected by chapters that I really saw myself in, but in the end, I want to be in the one that wants me back.