At my university, formal recruitment took place during the second semester. We had the first semester to move in, explore campus, adjust to college, make friends, and find our rhythm before the chaos of rush was upon us. My southern school was about 50% Greek, but after spending a semester on campus, it definitely felt more like 90%. I was anxious to join a sorority.
My mom wasn’t in a sorority in college, and she told me often that she didn’t totally understand the concept. When I decided I wanted to join one, she supported me, but she couldn’t offer any helpful advice or words of wisdom. Of course, I did all the research I could before it was time for recruitment, but I went into the process without much background knowledge and without expectation.
Because rush is such a mystical, confusing, wonderful, exhausting, strange, amazing process, I want to pass on the knowledge and experience I gained after going through it four times, once as a PNM and three times as a sorority woman. I want to share the reasons I decided to rush, the reality of the process, and reminders that I think will be helpful to you. Yes, this is replete with clichés, but bare with me– I promise I’ll back everything up.
Reasons To Rush A Sorority
A sorority is a home away from home. You’ll hear that a lot during recruitment, and I found it to be so true. My sisters still are some of my very closest friends in the world, and they were my support system during college. They cried with me when things were sucky, and they celebrated my achievements like they were their own. A sorority isn’t the only way to make quality friends, but I never would’ve met some of them if I hadn’t joined my house.
My sorority gave me new opportunities. I loved dressing up for theme parties and getting catered chapter dinners, but there is so much more to Greek life than those things. Through my sorority, I singlehandedly raised thousands of dollars for our local and national charities. I packed boxes at the local food bank, and I created care packages for children in the hospital. My sorority gave me so many ways to make positive change, and my sisters introduced me to all different ways to get involved. Years after graduation, I’m involved in charitable and employment opportunities that I’ve found through my network of sisters.
It’s fun. We’ve traveled together, we’ve celebrated birthdays together, and we’ve regularly laughed so hard we cried. We danced on stage at our fall fundraiser and we coached frat guys in baseball during our spring fundraiser. After college, we’ve celebrated new jobs, new homes, engagements, weddings, and babies. Simply put, my decision to join a sorority years and years ago continues to bring joy into my life today. I can’t give a better reason than that.
Realities of the Rush Process
Big Sister is watching. In other words, you’re a PNM even before formal recruitment begins. PNM means “potential new member,” and as a freshman, you’re a PNM in the eyes of every sorority woman you meet. That might sound creepy (and I guess it kind of is), but it’s the truth. If you’re planning on rushing, you should put your best foot forward. If you’re rushing first semester, you won’t have much of a chance to make an impression on campus beforehand. Make sure that you’re presenting yourself well on Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media accounts, because sorority women will look at your page to see what you’re like. If you rush second semester, you have an entire semester to make an impression– make it a good one! Keep your grades up, work hard, and have fun. If you are partying every weekend, keep it appropriate. Be the kind of woman you’d want to be friends with. At the end of the day, sorority women are looking for a group of girls they want sharing their letters.
Rush is whatever you make it. I had friends losing sleep over this process, and I saw a lot of tears. Even though I went into the process without expectations, I still experienced disappointment, jealousy, and anxiety at times during the week. I won’t sugarcoat it– recruitment can be an emotional rollercoaster! Please, please, please: don’t let this scare you. If you look at recruitment as the most serious, important, “life or death” process, you’re not going to have a good time. If you look at rush as a chance to meet a ton of sorority women and ultimately figure out which house is right for you, it’ll be a blast. It’s natural to feel bummed out if you don’t get asked back to a house you loved, and it’s OK to feel jealous if you think your roommate is doing “better” than you are. Just don’t let these feelings paralyze you or ruin the rest of your time. It will work out for the best!
Things To Remember
Be yourself. Did you roll your eyes when you read that? I don’t blame you if you did, because it’s a phrase that we’ve been hearing since kindergarten. During recruitment, however, this is so important! Before I went through recruitment, a good friend told me this: Sorority women are just looking for women they want to befriend. They are recruiting women who they can imagine studying with, living with, and spending a lot of time with. Don’t overthink it! If you’re goofy, be goofy. If you’re awkward, embrace it. Just be yourself, and you’ll find your place.
Trust the process, and trust your gut. Again, this is something you’ll hear repeatedly, but I want to reiterate it. I want to tell you a little anecdote about my experience, and you’ll see what I mean.
When I got to the final night of rush, there were two houses that I loved. I was ecstatic that I was invited back to both. When I went into the first house, I made the big mistake of locking my knees as the chapter president spoke. Before long, my vision was going blurry and I became unsteady on my feet. I was going to faint! Just as I turned around to alert one of the sorority members, we were being escorted out the front door– the round was over just in time. I stood outside for a few minutes, catching my breath and regaining my composure, before I realized it was raining. My meticulously curled hair hung limply around my face, and my makeup was a mess. Instead of worrying about my appearance or the fact that I had just nearly fainted, I immediately thought how excited I was to go to my next house, where I knew I’d feel welcomed and comfortable, wet hair and all. That’s how I knew which house would be the right home for me. Trust the process, and trust yourself!
I am so happy that I decided to rush, and I ended up exactly where I was meant to be. I had friends that went to every single house on campus, and they were all so happy where they ended up. I had several other friends who didn’t rush at all, and they were content with their decision. And guess what? We stayed friends through college and to this day. This process will not make or break your college experience, so smile, breathe, and enjoy yourself. And GOOD LUCK!!