Rushing through Rushing

If in high school, college me traveled back in time and at some part in our conversation casually mentioned that I would be in a sorority, I can’t honestly tell you how I would’ve taken it.  Knowing me, as one does so well, I probably would have laughed thinking it was a joke. But if I were to guess, I would have tried to espouse the parables and triumphs of this “sisterhood” thing we all (“all” being a small minority of Cal’s population) pledged ourselves to, in a conversation something like this.

Future Kelly: Oh, by the way, we’re in a sorority right now.

High School Kelly: *Awkwardly laughs/shallowly exhales* Oh, you’re not kidding… What? How? Why?.. Where?

That being said, I though it might be interesting to answer a few of those questions that High School Kelly would have had, as it might be useful to incoming freshman, who like me, forgot sororities existed entirely until moving in next to greek row and/or didn’t know anything about the rush process. First and foremost, here at Cal, young women “rush” during one of two seasons: Fall Formal Recruitment, and Spring (Informal) Recruitment.  I can only speak on behalf of my experiences in the former, however, there are open channels of communication available for all students who might be interested in Greek life, and I encourage you to think comparatively about when you want to rush as there are advantages and disadvantages to both periods.  Anyways, here are a few tips and takeaways that I wish I had known going through FFR, that I hope will foster a more fully comprehensive and appreciative dialogue about it.  Please keep in mind that these should be taken as my interpretation and opinion, and that it shouldn’t discourage you from seeking out differing or contrasting perspectives about Greek Life and the rush process. 

Know that we know it sucks. I can’t honestly say that I’ve met a single person who loved fall formal recruitment: from the rushing around from house to house in heels, to getting cut off right as your conversation was getting good, to feeling like you’ve been talking for 10 straight hours–you’re going to want to go home and nap. Although, that is not to say that rushing isn’t enjoyable.  It is a labor of love on both ends, recruiter and recruited alike.

The girls are human, just like you. Even though you might visit every house and have similar conversations at every one, at least in the first few rounds, I promise you these girls aren’t robots. They all genuinely want to get to know you better as a person and before you can get to making friendship bracelets, you have to cover the basics.

Keep your head up. There is going to be a lot of temptation to drop (pull out of recruitment), but I highly recommend sticking to it. A lot of us went in to rush with a few houses in mind, or fell in love with some along the way where we thought we’d be a perfect fit, but everybody gets dropped from a house they love at some point, and I mean everybody. If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.

Top House? All houses are created equal, and should be respected as such.  Just because you do not click with the girls at a house does not make them any better, or any worse, than yourself.  Judgement like that inhibits the community from engendering principles of female empowerment and provides fraternities the social capital to uplift some houses while degrading others. Don’t let frat guys’ opinions dictate which sororities you should gravitate towards because at the end of the day, you will end up in the place you belong. Similarly to all schools with Greek life, people attribute certain characteristics with different houses, often ranking them in a superficial and arbitrary hierarchy–don’t contribute to this.

Lastly, Greek Life Isn’t For Everyone. I could write chapters on the pros and cons of joining a sorority, but please, don’t feel pressured to join just because people around you are.  Take the time to consider what you want to get out of the experience and whether your academic, financial (<– super important), and social circumstances align with pledging.

Thank you, and good luck!

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