The whole persona around sorority life is quite a cliche. A lot of people have a lot of opinions on whether or not "buying your friends" is worth it. Most people argue that they are social enough, and can easily make friends on their own. However, gaining 300+ new "sisters" isn't the main reason to pledge your college years and beyond to a Greek life organization.
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether or not the sorority life is for you. Being a First-Generation college student, I was adamant about staying away from Greek life. Since nobody in my family attended college, I learned about sorority and fraternity life through movies. I had heard the rumors, the stories, and seen all the movies about teenagers who party their life away and I knew that wasn't the life for me. Stepping foot on my college campus for the first time, I quickly learned that the persona around sorority life was very false.
If you are finding yourself on the fence about whether or not to rush a sorority, here are some questions to consider when making your decision.
1. Can I see myself being friends with these girls?
Like I stated before, there seems to be an overarching conclusion that when you join a sorority you are just buying friends. As a member of a sorority, I can tell you that this statement cannot be truer. The moment you accept your bid, you just simultaneously accepted 300+ friend requests from girls you've never even met. The catch is, you also just accepted 300+ friend requests from girls who may not have even met you yet, but are willing to do anything for you and be there for you just because of your similar affiliation. Full disclosure, if you're planning on rushing a sorority just to gain friends, I highly recommend not going through the rush process.
Being an only child, this was like all of the sudden being thrown into the worlds largest family. The friendships I have created and the bonds that have been made are truly unbreakable. I am not at all saying that you are gonna like every single girl in the sorority you picked. There are obviously people that you just won't get along with or can't see yourself being friends with, and that is totally fine! You will find in each sorority girls you can and girls you can't see yourself being friends with.
The adult thing to do is accept this truth and realize that whether or not rushing is something you decide is right for yourself, that all of these girls are there for you whether you are friends or not. The important thing to look for when deciding whether or not to rush is finding the organization that you can see yourself easily building those family-like relationships in. Siblings fight and may not always get along, but they ultimately love each other until the end.
2. Do I like their philanthropy?
When deciding whether or not to rush always look at the philanthropy the sorority is involved in! It may not seem very important, but the philanthropy events that you will be required to go to and fundraise for are time-consuming. You want to make sure you do not commit your time to a cause that you aren't passionate about. Each sorority has a different organization they choose to raise money for. Look into the different philanthropies associated with each sorority and ask yourself if you can be passionate about their cause.
3. How much is this going to cost?
One of the biggest things to always consider is the cost of membership. The dues you will have to pay for each organization are very different. While some will be in the thousands, it's important to look into cost before deciding to go through the whole process. If your parents will be the ones paying for your member dues, make sure to discuss the costs of each organization before you decide to rush. The last thing you want to do is get involved in a commitment that you can not afford, or be sent a bill that you were not expecting!
4. How much time will I have to commit?
Although sorority recruitment does not happen in Baylor until the Spring Semester, it is important to be actively involved throughout the Fall. Go to mixers and events to meet girls! It is always important to get your foot in the door as early as possible so you can see the ins and outs of that sorority. It can be a big time commitment to go to these events, but it is CRUCIAL to your success in the rush process. You do not want to end up rushing a sorority and accepting your bid then realizing you made the wrong choice. Go to as many events and meet as many girls as you can so you can make the best choice for you!
Staying actively involved once you are a member is another commitment as well. The entertaining events, social outings, etc. are major time commitments. However, it is not required to go to every single event your selected sorority will have. It is still important to make your time as an active member worth it by attending as many as your schedule allows. This is not always a con. Being an extremely active member of your sorority can lead to strong resumes, job opportunities, and leadership positions within!
5. Will this group strengthen my values?
This is the most serious and important out of all five topics listed above. Each person has their own set of moral and personal values. Although you could group this into the "friendship category," I decided to put them separately. When looking into whether or not rush is for you, make sure you stick true to your values. Do not go through rush just for the sake of being in a sorority. Make sure you find a group that fits your moral and personal values and upholds them to their best ability. The last thing you want to do is go through rush and feel that you do not fit in with the girls you meet or with the girls in your own sorority. However, it is important to find a group that will push you to step outside of your comfort zone in a healthy way. You want to surround yourself with girls who will encourage you to grow in your values, and become the best person you can be.
Staying true to yourself is the most important thing you could do when going through this whole process. Whether you are an incoming Freshman or someone who is coming in later to the rush process, make sure to go through each of these categories carefully when considering to rush or not to rush. Going through the process myself last Spring semester, I have found a family, a sisterhood, a Big who pushes me to be my best self, and amazing friends who will be my future bridesmaids. I am eager and excited to return to campus this Fall as a proud member of Zeta Tau Alpha.