For the past three weeks, I’ve been rushing a sorority. Yes, only one, and I know three weeks is a long time. It was definitely a great experience, and although for me Greek Life began and ended within that three weeks, it gave me an entirely new perspective on college and what I want for myself. Rushing was three weeks of constant activities, smiling, and late nights, most of which turned into early mornings. It was looking forward to each event and being genuinely excited about talking to each girl. It was socializing and running in and out of my dorm like a mad woman. It was everything I expected, but also was nothing like I’d expected. It was also crying at 10 at night in the pouring rain because I wanted nothing more than to be in bed. It was being incredibly sick on a Saturday morning and barely pulling myself together for the event that night. It was questioning myself and who I was just so I could try and fit the mold they had created.

When rush was over, I realized something huge. I realized that I am not cut out for a “typical” college experience. I will never be the girl that closes the bar and then opens the library. I am an old soul, and I always will be. I love intellectual conversations and deep truths. I love going to bed by 11. I love adventuring and being in the outdoors. I love a good night out with the people I care about. I love family parties and vacations and community. In loving all of these things, I can’t go out every night. I want to live my life fully aware of the moment rather than dulling it with alcohol. But I also realized something else. Something even bigger.

I can be happy again. I can thrive here.

During the course of first semester, I lost all confidence in myself. I was shy (no pun intended!), reserved, and nervous. Rush reminded me of who I was just before I graduated–a girl who loved life. The girls in the sorority showed me who I could be if I continued to break out of my shell. They gave me a feeling that I hadn’t had in a while, a feeling of complete belonging at New Paltz. I was thriving. And even though I realized that I couldn’t thrive in the way that they were, I would thrive in my own way. It is still going to be a battle, and there are definitely nights where I would much rather be home, but they are few and far between. This is a huge change from last semester, where I spent most every night wishing I was anywhere but here. Rush reminded me of who I am and who I want to be in college. And it might not be anything like who I thought.