In early September 2009, when I was a freshman in college at WVU, I went through formal sorority recruitment, or Rush as it's more commonly called. Hand on the Bible, I can honestly say it was the most stressful week of my entire life. Visiting countless houses, talking to girls non-stop, always looking tip-top, and acting like you *totally* have your life together is enough to wear anyone out. However, there is a much more stressful, darker side of Rush people tend not to talk about: The "Mutual Selection Process."
The Mutual Selection Process (MSP) is the way girls are sorted into sororities. At face value, people assume Rush is all about the girl choosing the house she likes, pledging, and then becoming a sister. But that's not exactly how it works. Not only does a potential new member have to choose and rank the houses she likes, but the sororities themselves have to choose and rank the girls it wants to "ask back." Sadly, this ends in many girls being "dropped" by houses they really wanted to learn more about. MSP is simply the nice way of saying to impressional freshman and sophomore girls, "You might have your heart broken this week and you'll likely not feel good enough on multiple occasions, but it's all good! You are choosing a sorority that chooses you! It's mutual!"
What I think is the darkest part of this side of Rush is how the sorority sisters are encouraged to handle the situations wherein they are talking to girls who don't quite fit in with that sorority. Instead of being honest with the girl, and actually helping her find a place she'll feel most welcome, the sisters are told to act like the sorority really wants her to join because "that girl might have a really awesome friend or roommate, and we want her to spread the word about how awesome our sorority is, even if we know she wouldn't fit in here." Seriously, though, how messed up is that?
Rush is a heartbreaking process and MSP is honestly kind of cruel. How can an entire sorority decide it isn't interested in a girl after just one of the over 100 members of the sorority talks to that girl for fifteen minutes? Sure, there are plenty of other factors involved like that girl's GPA, her social media account, etc., but can you imagine how heartbreaking it is to fall in love with a sorority only to not be invited back to the house? It's like being ghosted on after an incredible date...except here, it isn't one person leaving you high-and-dry, it's 100 plus girls.
For all the girls who are "dropped" during Rush, please know:
1. You are enough.
You are beautiful, kind, smart, and so much more. Just because one (or multiple) sororities decided not to invite you back does not mean you aren't good, pretty, or [fill in the blank with whatever horrible adjective you have been clinging to] enough. Your worth is not determined by whether a sorority drops you.
2. Greek life is kind of overrated.
I say this as an alum of a Panhellenic sorority. Greek life is expensive, time-consuming, and really stressful sometimes. You have these crazy rituals you're expected to take seriously, songs you have to memorize, and meetings you have to attend. Sure, it's nice when it comes to having something to do on the weekends, but honestly, I made better friends with the people in my classes than I did with most of my "sisters." In fact, during the pledging process, I was cyber-bullied by a few sisters in my pledge class. Girls can be catty, and throwing a hundred girls together in a group, whether they call each other "sister" or not, is going to lead to drama.
3. You will find your place.
If it's in a sorority, that's awesome! Just because a few houses dropped you doesn't mean the other houses aren't dying to have you join. If MSP works, and you find a house you adore, congrats! Greek life can be wonderful! However, if you choose not to join a sorority, there is no shame in carving your own path and not "paying for friends." Join a club that seems interesting, find like-minded people! I was (and still am) extremely close with my "big" and my "little," but overall, some the best memories I have from undergrad involve the friends I had outside my sorority. It may take some time and lots of patience, but you will find where you fit in, and you will make friends and memories to last a lifetime, whether it's in a sorority or not.