Wow! It’s so unique that you watch The Bachelor with your sisters every Monday. I love that for you! It’s literally so special that you share that kind of bond with your sisters. Like, I’ve really been looking for that community of people throughout college, and I think that this house will help me find that. Oh! There’s the music, I guess it’s time for me to go—thank you SO much for the deep conversation, I really feel like we just clicked on a whole new level. Thanks for my coat back! Totally didn’t notice you eyeing the tag. I hope to see you again later!
Walking out of a house and thinking “Wow! That really went well” only to open your schedule the next morning and see you’ve been cut is something I’m sure almost every girl who’s been through rush has experienced. It’s not really all rosy sisterhood love—most girls being honest will probably tell you that rush sucks.
I have a sticker on my laptop that says radical honesty, and I will tell you how I’m feeling if asked. I pride myself on being a genuine, real person—it’s a quality I’ve worked hard toward and feel like I’ve finally achieved to a pretty solid extent. Sorority recruitment made me question who I thought I was more than any other experience in my life. I thought I knew who I was, and that I knew what kind of people I liked being around. But standing in line, in the freezing cold, waiting for the doors of a house to fling open as a barrage of girls screamed their door song, I’ve never felt more unlike myself.
Rush is quite possibly the most superficial process ever. You meet a girl for ten minutes, talk about your major and hometown, and then decide if you want to be sisters for the next four years. You’re supposed to get a “vibe” from a house after quick conversations and decide whether or not you want to be part of it, but also project an image of yourself that the house would want. Automatically, you flip a switch inside of you to make someone like you enough to push you through to the next round. I really struggled with how fake that was. I’d cry with a sister about our immigrant backgrounds, and then get cut from the house. Real, human connection seemed impossible.
It’s odd, then, how three months after rush I’ve formed actual bonds and real friendship with the girls in my pledge class and feel like I click with most girls in my sorority. Conversation is easy, and I feel like I’m walking into a second home when I walk into my sorority house. Sure, the social schedule that comes with being in a sorority is nice, and having potential plans every weekend feels good. And I’m not gonna lie—the social schedule is one of the first things that prompted me to rush. But the reason I’m staying in my sorority and will gladly wear my letters is because of the people in it. I go to a bigger school, which is known for having a bit of a depressing, stressful, environment. I think Greek life, though problematic in many, many ways, provides a sense of community and belonging hard to find elsewhere. You get out of it what you put in. And, quite honestly, one thing rush does is sort girls in a way that tends to work. It feels terrible when you’re in it, but on the other side, the way it shakes out kind of makes sense.
I went in thinking I loved a few houses—after the first rounds, I knew I couldn’t see myself in them. Yes, it really hurts to get cut from a house. Rejection always stings, especially when it comes from a conversation and subsequent judgement on your personality. I got cut from a house I liked and thought I had a good conversation in round two. I really, really thought it was a perfect click, and I had my heart set on them. When I opened my schedule the next day I was really hurt, and quite honestly considered dropping. In the moment, I hated myself for feeling so affected by getting cut from a house. I told myself, pull yourself together. This is stupid stuff—you shouldn’t be hurt by this at all. Looking back, it sucked, and feeling hurt was totally valid. Whenever you have an honest conversation with someone and then realize they didn’t feel the same way for some reason or the other, it stings deep. I’m really glad I stuck with rush, though, because it ended up working out for me and I feel like the vibe of my house matches me really well. But it’s not like that for everyone, and so people do drop. There’s no shame in dropping either—if you know something isn’t right for you, you know. Sororities are supposed to be positive experiences from which you gain friends and lifelong connections. If you sense that it’s not for you, and none of your options by the final round are really fits, don’t force yourself to emotionally, mentally, and financially commit to something you’re not feeling. The rush process has some logic, but it’s not all telling.
I think my biggest rush advice is to understand how superficial it is, and keep your head high through it. Don’t think that every girl you talk to about your pet dogs is in love with you, and don’t buy into everything girls spew during “picture this!” skits. But do know who you are, and maintain your sense of self. You deserve to be in a place that wants you, and that you feel at home in.
Photo by Dina Litovsky for The New York Times.