Coming into my university as an out-of-state student was intimidating. As far as I knew, I was the only person from my hometown attending my school. I was worried about finding a new group of friends and being away from the comfort that I had become accustomed to with my friends and family back home. However, I was lucky enough to find an amazing group of friends (who were also all out-of-state students), and we clicked right away.
I knew about recruitment and sororities going into my freshman year, but only because I had friends who were rushing at the time. I didn’t know enough about the process or the experience to go through it myself. Thus, freshmen year was spent becoming acclimated to my new home and campus, adjusting to college courses, and trying my best to find out where my place was in a school of 50,000+ students.
The opportunities and organizations are endless at my university, and I found myself a little overwhelmed with them during my first year. I explored different interests, but I didn’t commit to anything. By the end of the year, I vowed to myself that in my sophomore year I would take a leap of faith, get out of my comfort zone, and just go for anything that came my way and interested me. Freshmen year was over in a flash, and that really made me realize that I need to make the most of the time I have in college, especially since there are so many opportunities at my disposal that I have yet to take advantage of.
Why a Sorority?
There’s tons of ways to get involved in college, and a sorority is only one. But I think everyone should be a part of something in college, and that something should ultimately bring them happiness, a sense of belonging, and amazing experiences. I believe that sororities provide their members with friendship, networking connections, leadership opportunities inside and outside of the sorority, and numerous chances to give back to the community, just to name a few.
Plus, I’m someone who’s big on family. Being away from my own was a big adjustment. The idea of a sisterhood of girls who come from different backgrounds, with different personalities, but have very much of the same values sounded amazing to me.
The Sorority Rush Process
I remember feeling apprehensive seeing so many freshmen girls during orientation. I had heard that some chapters were biased against older PNMs (potential new members). But I realized my insecurities were ridiculous once the process started and I met several girls who were sophomores and above and were also rushing, and even talked to a few girls in the different chapters who rushed as sophomores (or at least knew of a sister who had done the same). With one worry alleviated, I spent the rest of the week worried about where I would end up. Ultimately, each round consists of visiting the houses and eliminating a few that didn’t seem like the right fit. You list the houses you would like to go back to and rank your last-choice houses.
I went into recruitment with an open mind, but I had my eye on a particular house. Each round I talked to a girl who made me fall more and more in love with the chapter. By the time I reached preference night, it was down to this house and another where I was fond of the girls of the chapter, but wasn’t certain that I would be a match for them. When it came time to rank the houses I put my first choice down and listed the second house underneath.
Next was bid day, and I couldn’t contain the butterflies in my stomach. Waiting for my bid was the most nerve-wracking experience. It was a mix of doubt, fear, excitement, and anticipation. I opened my bid envelope with the rest of the girls around me and I didn’t see the house I had expected. My heart broke a little as the girls around me yelled with joy. I wanted to be like them. Happy, ecstatic, relieved - but instead I felt rejection in the purest form. Had I said something wrong to make them change their minds about me? Was I just not cut out for their chapter?
So many questions went through my mind. But I didn’t have much time to think of anything, as I was supposed to head over to meet my new sisters. I didn’t want to spoil the excitement for anyone else and even though I was disappointed I didn’t get a bid from my first choice sorority, I found that I wasn’t entirely upset to be surrounded by a group of amazing girls who were so happy to welcome me with open arms.
The process can be upsetting if you have your eye on a house and they drop you, but I live by the quote “everything happens for a reason.” If one house drops you, it’s because another house wants you that you may ultimately be happier in. If all houses drop you or if you simply don’t find your best match, it’s because you have something even better waiting for you outside of Greek life. I’m not saying it’s not heartbreaking to be dropped from a house you love, but you should want to go where you’re wanted, and you can certainly find that elsewhere.
College is an experience that you can make all your own. Simply put, you get out what you put in. If you put yourself out there to take advantage of opportunities, meet new people, and experience new things then you no longer view it only as a means to graduate and move onto your career, but also as a pathway to finding, shaping, and creating a better you.