Sorority rush: a process that ranges from several days to several weeks during which active members select new members to join their given Greek organization.
I knew sorority rush wasn’t going to be a breeze, but no one told me how hard it would really be. At the beginning of this grueling process, I was extremely optimistic about what the future held. I had a great first semester of college, and was enthusiastic to discover how joining a sorority could further enhance my college experience.
My school has deferred recruitment, meaning we rush at the beginning of second semester rather than at the beginning of first semester. There are many benefits to this process, as well as many negatives. Here are a few:
Pro: You have the opportunity to make friends outside of your sorority first semester so that if/when you join a sorority, you have friends outside of it too.
Con: You have countless opportunities first semester to make stupid decisions and dumb choices that may compromise your chances of getting a bid.
Pro: You have the opportunity to become friends with older girls in sororities, so that when rush comes, you see familiar faces in the room rather than hundreds of complete strangers.
Con: When you get dropped from one of the sororities you have friends in (which will happen) it feels as though you are getting rejected by your friends rather than random older girls.
Fast forward to the first day of rush. I was feeling confident. I had spent the previous week planning my outfits, agonizing over how I could accessorize the ugly first-day t-shirt to form a cute outfit.
I walked out of my dorm like a rock star, wearing my new jeans and favorite sneakers. At the end of the day, I walked away feeling positive and optimistic.
The next morning, after feeling nauseous, insecure, and straight up scared, I received my schedule only to find the choices I was most excited about were missing.
I had heard that many girls would be crying and that the counseling center would be open for girls who were so disappointed that they needed professional assistance. I knew I couldn’t be one of those girls. I refused to cry and shoved all of my insecure feelings deep down and went on with my day.
The next day I was dropped from another choice I was hopeful about, but still had many other good choices. I took a deep breath, promised myself there would be no tears, and went to the remaining sororities with a smile on my face and a friendly attitude.
On preference night, I looked at my remaining choices and realized the choices that remained were ones I hadn't even considered first semester. Every sorority that dropped me was one that I could genuinely picture myself in since I thought I had so much in common with the girls. Having been dropped, I was forced to reconsider my identity and who I thought I was compared to how others saw me, which was one of the hardest things I've had to do. I didn't know many girls in the remaining sororities and was nervous that I might not be able to connect with these girls.
A strict no cell phone policy prohibited me from calling anyone that would know me well enough to tell me what I should do. It was one of those moments where I just NEEDED to talk to someone, but I couldn't. So, I put my feelings of confusion aside and went to the two preference ceremonies I had been invited to.
Everyone was so nice. Girls I barely knew came over throughout the ceremony to say hello to me, tell me how happy they were to see me, and even gave me handwritten letters about how nice it was to get to know me throughout the week. One member even gave me a pin that the sorority felt represented my personality. I had been so busy getting caught up in why the sororities I initially saw myself in dropped me that I had forgotten these girls were paying attention to me, too. They wanted to get to know me better, and they had been discussing why they wanted me in their organization rather than why they didn't. I had spent so much time focusing on the negative that I couldn’t see what was right in front of me: girls who genuinely wanted to get to know me; who wanted me in their sisterhood. Maybe I didn't know them so well, but they clearly knew me.
It’s difficult knowing that in the short intervals you get to speak with your potential friends and big sisters that they are judging you up and down, looking for reasons as to why they should keep you. You may be wondering, how can the girls get to know you this fast? The answer is they can’t, which is why the whole process is silly in the first place.
The sororities I originally wanted didn’t talk to me for long enough to realize what they would be missing out on. Maybe they looked more like me, were from similar backgrounds as me, wore the same clothes as me, or did the same activities as me, but they didn’t want me. This helped me remember one of the key reasons why I chose Wake Forest, which was that I wanted to meet new and interesting people that I wouldn't meet anywhere else.
Nevertheless, I got a bid (many girls didn’t even get bids) and I decided to give it a try. I am happy every day that I did. I ended up in a pledge class with one of my best friends and have made so many more since. Every day I meet friends who are as eager to get to know me as I am to get to know them. I learned that many girls in the pledge class also had a challenging rush process but still decided to give it a try. Maybe my sorority wasn’t originally my first choice, but I now have the opportunity to be a part of a community that wants me in it, and that accepts me for who I am.
The sorority rush process was a huge learning experience for me that I know I will benefit from continuously in the years to come. In life, we often do not get what we want. However, maintaining a positive attitude is the key to making things better and remembering that things can always be worse. Greek life doesn't define you. YOU define you.