The Truth About Rushing for a Sorority

by Ama Debrah

Elle Woods and her sorority sisters in Legally Blonde.

It was February of 2012, and I was getting ready to do something that even my warped imagination could barely fathom: participate in sorority recruitment. Up until a month before, if I merely heard someone talk about Greek life, it left a bad aftertaste in my mouth. Never in a million years would I have imagined even considering joining a sorority. I bought all the stereotypes portrayed by the media – 24/7 blackout partying, gnarly hazing (think Human Centipede), and a complete denial of my core values as a feminist. I equated being a sorority sister with complete and utter misery.

Unfortunately, I was already miserable. I had been a sad panda for so long, I had almost forgotten what the happy version of myself felt like. I knew that I needed to change something to get out of the deep dark hole I was in, and I was willing to do anything – anything – to feel better. Then one night during winter break, I got the idea to go through the recruitment process. Sure, it pretty much went against everything I believed in, but it would definitely be something different that would take my mind off the dark abyss that was my emotional health.

I kept putting off signing up online for recruitment until a friend decided she wanted to go through recruitment also, and we signed up together. I remember being so nervous for the recruitment process to start, and I assumed that everyone, from the sorority sisters to the other recruits, would be judging me the entire time. However, though I seriously considered backing out frequently, I decided in the end that since I had already spent the five-dollar registration fee, I might as well attend the first day of recruitment to see how bad the process was actually going to be.

Is this your idea of Greek life? Think again.

The official recruitment process is split up into four jam-packed days: philanthropy day, development day, preference night, and bid night. Each day, I attended a varying number of “parties,” which are basically just events that allow you to learn more about each sorority and get to know the sisters. Although meeting new people was fun, to be completely honest, the recruitment process was grueling. There were endless amounts of small talk, my feet hurt from standing in heels for four hours, and I was perpetually nervous that I wouldn’t get to the next round of the sorority of my choice. All the sisters were extremely nice and welcoming, but there were frequent times where I questioned what exactly I had gotten myself into.

However, the moment I accepted my bid to a sorority on the last night of recruitment, I knew that I had made the right decision. I was immediately immersed in a community of girls who were genuinely interested in being my friend. My seemingly never-ending loneliness had dissipated, and I knew that my sorority sisters would always be there for me, to get me through a hard time or to just grab lunch at the Diana. While I had normally been hard-pressed to find social events in and off-campus, I now had multiple opportunities to get out of my room on weekends, and even if I had nothing planned, I could easily ask one of my sisters to go out. I also now had access to a network of girls who all shared internship postings, potential jobs, and professional contacts.

In short, joining a sorority was probably the best decision I’ve made during my time at Barnard. Although I do have some dark days, am I happier than I was a year ago? Definitely. And I have my sorority sisters to blame.

Ama is a junior at Barnard, a sister of Alpha Chi Omega, and the Features and On Campus Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

To register for next Spring’s sorority recruitment, click here.

Images courtesy of Life in Labels and Frankly Penn.

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