It’s a Rush
Kristen shares her experience of joining a sorority.
By Kristen Lemaster
May 01, 2012
Before college, no one would’ve pegged me for a sorority girl.
I played soccer for as long as I can remember, meaning I wasn’t afraid to get a little dirt under my un-manicured fingernails or a couple bruises on my shins. You wouldn’t find any Lilly in my closet, the only parts of the Greek alphabet I knew were the symbols we learned in chemistry and statistics, and despite my years in theater, I was still an introvert at heart. I liked the idea, of course – friends, formals, fun – but not enough to put myself through what is affectionately known here at UGA as Hell Week, or formal recruitment.
It was a good decision. I didn’t have to wake up at six in the morning and get all dolled up just to sweat everything off by the afternoon. I didn’t have the added stress of worrying which girls liked me enough to offer me bids. Most importantly, I didn’t have to deal with the discomfort of getting involved in something with which I was almost completely unfamiliar.
Sororities have histories and reputations, and I wanted to make sure I was associating myself with people who shared my values and whom I would be proud to call my family – especially since I already had a younger sister, and I didn’t want her to feel slighted by the addition of all these new “sisters.”
The first year of college, if done right, is kind of like that moment when you first realize you’ve tripped and you are indelicately and inevitably headed face-first towards the ground. The big question: What kind of impact am I going to make?
Even without being involved in Greek Life, I had still made friends, attended plenty of social events, found philanthropies to join, and seized multiple leadership opportunities. I’d gotten myself into some great organizations, from fundraising to buy books for children to being a counselor at a summer camp for incoming freshman. They were wonderful, but they were not permanent.
I knew I’d always have the memories and could continue the essence of those activities, but I couldn’t continue to be involved in quite the same way. Maybe it was a mild quarter-life crisis or just simple young adult longing, but I wanted something bigger than me that would last all my life.
That’s what a sorority really is. It’s a group of girls who are always there for one another, friends even after college and sisters for the rest of their lives. They do get dressed up and basically re-live prom every year, but they also devote hours upon hours a week to community service, not just for their own philanthropy but also volunteering with and supporting the organizations of other sororities. They study together, get through hard times together, play sports together, and essentially grow up together.
Even after I decided to participate in spring rush – an ice cream social and a trivia night, much easier and more casual than fall rush – I didn’t fully realize how the organization would change my life. It’s an incredible feeling to walk into the house and be able to talk to any girl in the room because they are all so down-to-earth and friendly. I love that I can text any one of my sisters and ask for fashion advice or invite them to a campus event on a moment’s notice. I’m not afraid to admit it: I am a sorority girl.
If you’re unready to make that declaration or unsure of whether or not to go Greek, that’s okay. Remember that at most colleges, there are other options besides formal recruitment in the fall. Many girls participate in informal spring recruitment, often called continuous open bidding (COB), and there are always sophomores and even juniors mixed in among the freshman hopefuls for both recruitment periods.
Give careful thought to the financial aspect, and don’t forget that like most other organizations, the more time and energy you invest in the fraternity or sorority, the more you’ll enjoy it. There aren’t any guarantees; maybe you’ll have to start your own chapter, or maybe you’ll find a multicultural or other type of sorority outside of the Panhellenic system.
But all the excitement and enthusiasm you see in college brochures and Facebook albums is genuine. If there is one guarantee, it’s that Greek Life is a rush.
Is there an organization or extracurricular you’ve joined that has opened your mind?