To The Young Woman Considering Rushing,
If you are considering rushing, there are a few things you should know, and perhaps the best way to tell you is to tell you my own experience. I never thought I would join a sorority. The university I chose to attend was never one where you had to go Greek in order to be social. I didn't think I needed Greek life and I didn't see myself as a sorority girl. However, after my freshman year, it felt like something was missing, so I signed up to participate in fall recruitment.
Right before my sophomore year began, I started to get sick. Even though I was in pain, recruitment was a wonderful (although stressful) experience, and I don't regret it. For me, I knew what sorority I wanted after the first night, and luckily they wanted me too.
So, if you are considering rushing, I encourage you to sign up and stick it out as long as possible. One of my friends who I rushed with told me she wanted to drop after the first day. However, she stuck it out, and now she is my sister. This won't be the case for everyone, but the best thing you can do is try.
You should know that recruitment will be stressful; it's uneasy feeling like your fate is in the hands of other people, but it will also be rewarding. There is nothing better than talking to a girl and suddenly realizing you belong there, you want to call that sorority your home.
If you are lucky enough to get a bid, know that even if you've been asked to join your first choice of sorority, bid day will be awkward at times. You will be greeted by a swarm of smiling girls, who hug you and tell you how happy they are to see you. At this point, you maybe know seven of their names. After the momentum dies down a bit you might feel lost in the crowd. Do not let this discourage you. Building friendships takes time, so just ride the awkwardness and make the most of it, everyone in your new pledge class is feeling the same way too.
If you decide to stay after bid day, know the next few weeks will be time consuming. You have a lot to learn, and a lot of people to meet. I beg of you, try to branch out as much as you can during this period. If someone asks you to sit with her, say yes. If you see one of your new sisters on campus but don't know her name, say hi anyway. I was incredibly shy at the beginning; instead of sitting with as many new people as I could, I tried to sit only with people I knew during meals and pledge class meetings. I hindered myself a lot in those first few weeks, and found myself playing catch up later.
If you stay long enough to get a Big and sorority family, know that this makes your acclimation so much easier. They are there to guide you and help you, and they love you so much.
If you decide to stay on through initiation, recognize what an important step this is. You are officially joining this organization and are being accepted as a sister. You are joining a sacred bond that no one outside of your sorority will truly understand. During my initiation, I had a stomach ache so bad I wanted to pass out, and even though I will be able to participate in initiation as an active member, I wish I could go through it again as a pledge so I could appreciate it more, because all I really wanted to do that night was go to bed.
After initiation, everything will settle down; from this point on your sorority experience is what you make of it. If you choose to only go to the mandatory events, you will not get that much out of your experience. You need to put an effort in, and I encourage you to go to as many events as possible. This past year, some of my favorite moments happened when I chose to go to an event that my friend group or sorority family was not attending because it allowed me to branch out and connect with more of my sisters.
Know that every single one of your sisters is there for you. Late in the fall semester, I finally received an answer to my pain, and was diagnosed with a debilitating chronic illness. Instead of asking for help at first, I retreated, embarrassed by my diagnosis. I know now that I could have been depending on my sisters, that they would have understood, and I missed out on valuable bonding time because I was scared.
My point of this letter is to get one point across, this experience is what you make of it. Sorority life is not for everyone, and if you are still unhappy after putting all your effort into making your experience great, there is nothing wrong with dropping. I would be lying if I said I never considered it, because like everything in life, nothing is perfect. The difference for me is that every time the thought crossed my mind, I realized whatever issue I had could easily be fixed by my actions; it could be fixed by me making more of an effort. So, my advice to you is to put your best foot forward and go into it with an open mind. Chances are, it will be one of the best decisions of your life.
A Girl Who Never Thought She Would Rush