Last winter, there was one thing on my mind: sorority recruitment. This was not uncommon, as almost any girl I knew participating in the recruitment process felt the same. At Lehigh, freshmen undergo the recruitment process at the beginning of the Spring semester, leaving me aimlessly wandering about what was to come.
For me, it was not a question of if I should rush, but instead a question of if the recruitment process would cause the comfortable, stable college experience I had found crumble beneath me.
And, long story short, it did. But, don’t let this scare you. Although this may sound like an empty promise, Greek life does not need to dictate your social life. With a social scene ruled by sororities and fraternities, I was terrified of how joining a chapter would uproot me from the previous life I had built for myself.
I didn’t want to meet new people. I didn’t want to fall out of touch with my “friend group.” I was frankly scared of change, which is normal. But, this fear of change should not hold you back from exploring new outlets.
I had prepared for recruitment through watching countless YouTube videos about girls’ experiences. These picture-perfect videos were somewhat misleading, but somewhat accurate as well. While the influencers’ showed their trendy outfits each morning along with the happy faces of their friends, they also left out a huge aspect of the process that I did not expect: the secrecy and doubt it instills.
On the surface level, I had the perfect recruitment experience. I was invited back to every house I wanted every day, and did not have to deal with the sadness that comes with what can be seen as rejection. I ultimately got a bid to the chapter I had selected to be my top preference. So, if everything worked out so well, why was I left feeling defeated?
Honestly, there really is no explicit explanation, but, the closest thing I can pinpoint is the codependency I had developed within my “friend group” from the first-semester of college. If we were all so alike, how high were the odds that I could realistically be separated from them? The odds seemed to be in my favor, however, I ended up on bid-day anxiously alone, regretful, and most of all, jealous.
I was jealous of my other friends that were joining chapters together. I was jealous of the girls that, at least outwardly, seemed overjoyed at the thought of joining a sisterhood. I was left resentful of the process, the corruption within it, and the way it forced me into such a dark place for the following weeks.
I was too busy wallowing in self-pity and nerves to realize the reality that was right in front of me. The more I got to talking to the girls in my new member class, the more they realized that more often than not, people had similar feelings to the ones I had exhibited on bid day. Why had we all been so scared to open up about our experiences? I had been instilling doubt internally without seeking any sources of validation, and once I did, the cloud over my head started to face. I realized that the process, and the results, are not picture perfect. What they are, though, is authentic.
If you take anything from this article, please note this: utilize your rho gammas (chapter members who guide PNM’s throughout the recruitment process). They have been in the exact same position as you. They know what it’s like. And, they know about the fall-out that is sure to ensue afterwards.
Something I urge every girl to note before recruitment is to have an open mind. I know, this is an utterly ridiculous blanket statement that you have heard a million times (and now a million and one), but please take it to heart.
Although I wouldn’t say I was closed minded going into rush, I definitely tunnelled myself. Whether you do this to yourself authentically based on where you think you will “fit” or instead blindly follow your friends to the houses they are interested in, you will limit yourself and the possibilities joining a sorority can unleash for you.
Remember: this is not the end all, be all. You will always have those “What if?” thoughts. My best, best friends are still right by my side, and none of them are in the same sorority as me. Being apart from them allowed me to branch out and make even more life-long friendships that I never would have found if I did not open myself up to the process and the possibilities found as a result of it.