I'm guessing by now that you've probably read, the Odyssey article “Why I Didn’t Rush.”
The author presents sororities as many people tend to stereotypically view them: obsessed with drinking and appearance, wildly time-consuming and controlling of how associated women should dress and act.
Her concept of sorority life seems to revolve around a sort of self-obsessive image of a sorority, one in which women put superficiality and the acceptance of their peers above personal growth and achievement.
This way of thinking is problematic, not only the stereotyping of women who join sororities, but also the stereotyping of any group of people. The Greek community at many colleges is large and therefore varied, and assuming that all of the women who choose to participate are essentially the same is unrealistic.
When I came to college last year, I hated sororities on principle, too. My brother tried to have some girls in the Greek community that he knew talk to me about rushing and I was entirely unreceptive. I didn’t want to be stereotyped as self-absorbed, and I didn’t want to have to spend a week with a fake smile on my face in order to get a bid from a house.
I chose to rush during my sophomore of college because I didn’t feel like I had connected with enough people during my freshman year. At a school as big as the University of Washington, it could be difficult to make friends. The dorms weren’t as social as I had hoped, and most of my friends from the year before were all living together in an apartment pretty far away from my own.
Almost on a whim, one of my roommates and I signed up for the informal rushing process called Continuous Open Bidding, where we met girls from a few different houses over coffee to talk about their sororities and see if we’d be a good fit.
My friends from the year before were unsupportive of us going through this process because of their personal reservations about the Greek community, and we soon lost touch. When my roommate and I eventually accepted bids to one of the sororities on campus, we ended up building a new support system out of the girls we met.
I’m not saying that joining a sorority was the best choice of my entire life. Overall, it was a good addition to my college life, but it has its ups and downs, just like any other choice in college does.
Sometimes the rituals seem overly choreographed and insincere, and sometimes the sheer number of women in my chapter is overwhelming.
However, joining a sorority has greatly improved my social skills.
I’m surrounded by women of such diverse backgrounds, and I’ve had so many interesting conversations with people I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet otherwise.
I’m motivated to attend social events instead of sitting at home, and the interaction has been good for me. Some of my closest friends in college are in my sorority, and I met them because I was able to connect with them in a friendly and welcoming environment.
From media depiction and stereotyping, sororities can look wildly unappealing. I know from my own experience that many people see girls from high school who continue their obsession with vanity and popularity into their higher education, forming cliques that are hostile even within themselves.
And, of course, there are people are like that in sororities. There are people like that everywhere.
But from my experience, joining a sorority gave me the chance to branch out and experience new social aspects of college. It was an opportunity to put myself in a situation where I could easily meet new people and build friendships with women I wouldn’t have met in the dorms.
My experience has been nothing like the overused stereotype of women who care more about makeup and social events than academics and close personal connections. I strongly believe that most modern sororities want to benefit the women involved and not drag them down with preconceived notions of how they should dress and behave.