Why You Should Rush

Why You Should Rush

Trust me, you won't regret it.
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Pretty dresses, perfectly curled hair, uncomfortable shoes, sweat dripping down your forehead, and older girls yelling at you to shut up: sounds exciting, right?

Girls from all over the country go to their respective universities in the fall to participate in what is known as "sorority rush." And from the outside looking in, I'll agree, it looks ridiculous. However, after experiencing rush and sorority life firsthand at the University of Georgia, my opinion of sororities has been completely changed. But first, let me give you some background.

I decided winter of my senior year that I was for sure going to rush in the fall. This basketball-loving girl who was always found wearing tennis shoes with her hair pulled up into a ponytail wasn't exactly the prime candidate for rush. My dad even laughed at me whenever I told him, "I would love living in a house with 60 girls for a year."

And on my first day of rush, as I stood outside of the 10th house I had visited that day with very sweaty hair and a very short patience, I started to think that maybe I wasn't cut out for this whole "sorority thing" either. Some girls still looked flawless. Some had been wearing wedges the whole day while I was barely making it out alive in my Jack Rogers sandals. Also, seeing this (pictured below) every time I got to a house was a little intimidating:

And although every tired bone in my body (at least the ones in my feet) was telling me that I should quit, I decided to finish the week. I loved the girls I was meeting and didn't think that quitting because it was hot outside was a good enough reason to back out.

Let's just say that my week ended pretty spectacularly. I'm not here to brag about my sorority or the girls in it (even though they rock), but I am here to tell you that you won't regret rushing.

It's scary. You have girls judging you based on what you say to them in the span of your five-minute conversation with them. They look you up and down and ask you questions you've been asked at least four times already that day. And as you get cut from house to house, you start to wonder if anyone is going to like you enough and if maybe there's something wrong with you. But a Gamma Chi (the girls who lead rush) told me something one day on the bus that completely changed my outlook on the whole process. She said, "What girls tend to forget is that these sororities know the kind of girls that will thrive in their sorority. Yes, you may be sad because your #1 choice cut you. But what you might be neglecting to focus on is that they truly don't see you fitting in with the girls in their sorority, and instead of being upset about it, you should be thanking them."

No, it doesn't end perfectly for everyone. Not every girl gets the sorority they want, and some don't even get a bid. However, it works out for everyone. Every girl I know who has gone through rush has been happy about the results. They ended up loving the sorority they got a bid from whether or not it was their first choice or they are glad they didn't get a bid because they didn't see themselves in a sorority. And although not every girl gets their "happily ever after" on bid day, every girl does have the opportunity to have a memorable week, and here's why:

When else will you have the opportunity to spend a week with 1,000 girls from across the nation, dressing up just to impress a handful of people and eating mediocre bagels from Chick-fil-A? That sounds so stupid, but think about it. I met some of my best friends I have today standing on a sorority's lawn waiting to go inside or riding on the bus from the sorority houses to the convention center. Some of them got a bid at the end of the week, some didn't. But that friendship wouldn't have ever started had it not been for rush week. And even after getting a bid, I've made the greatest friends ever from being in a sorority. We've gone through a lot together, from victories to really tough tragedies. And although I told myself I'd never say this, I can't imagine my freshman year without my "sisters" by my side.

All of this is for me to say that you won't regret rushing. You might hate it the first day, you might not get the bid from your favorite sorority that you've been wanting all week, or you might not even get a bid at all. But you're going to make some awesome friends, whether they're made the week of rush or during your year in a sorority, and you're going to end up where you're supposed to be. The girls I've met because I decided to rush have changed my life. They've made me want to be a better person and have been the most intentional, caring people I've ever known. So, rising freshmen (or sophomores, juniors, and seniors), rush. Even if you hate dresses, make up, and high heels, you won't regret the week you spend during rush. And who knows? You might end up with some pretty great "sisters."

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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This One’s For Africa

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Read through to the end for an amazing Toto reference.

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It's now been a week since I stepped foot on the African continent for the first time in my life. I first visited Johannesburg, where my dad and I spent a day on an 'apartheid tour.'

This tour consisted of visiting Shanty Town, one of the poorest communities in South Africa. The living conditions were indeed different. They had to steal electricity through homemade wires connected to the telephone poles. They had only a few porta potties for ten families to share. They had several spickets to obtain fresh water from. There was no heating in the houses, which were made from pieces of painted aluminum.

Such inconvenient circumstances have come from years of oppression towards black people in South Africa. It was incredibly sad to know that these problems still exist and that apartheid only ended so recently.

On the other hand, the people showed very little anger. Despite their living situations, the people of Shanty Town were so kind and welcoming. Everyone we passed smiled and waved, often even saying hello or asking about our wellbeing.

It brought some serious warmth to our hearts to see their sense of community. Everyone was in it together, and no man was left behind. They created jobs and opportunities for one another. They supported each other.

The next part of the day included a tour of Nelson Mandela's old house. We then made a trip to the Apartheid Museum.

Overall, Johannesburg did not disappoint. The city contains a rich history that human beings as a whole can learn a lot from. Johannesburg is a melting pot that still contains a multitude of issues concerning racism and oppression of certain cultures.

After two days in Johannesburg, my family made our way to Madikwe game reserve, where we stayed at Jaci's Lodge.

The safari experience was absolutely incredible. Quite cold (it's winter in Africa right now), but amazing enough to make up for the shivering. We saw all my favorite animals: giraffes galore, elephants, zebras, impalas, lions, hyenas, wildebeests, rhinos, you name it. While my favorite animal will always be the giraffe, I don't think any sighting could beat when two different herds of elephants passed through a watering hole to fuel up on a drink.

Finally on June 1st, I flew to George to start my program with Africa Media in Mossel Bay. On Sunday, we went on an 'elephant walk.'

The safari was certainly cool, but that makes the elephant walk ice cold. We got to walk alongside two male elephants - one was 25, the other 18. They were so cute!! We got to stroke their skin, trunk, and tusks. They had their own little personalities and were so excited to receive treats (fruits and vegetables) at the end of the journey.

My heart couldn't be more full. Africa, you have become my favorite continent. And it sure is going to take a lot to drag me away from you.

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