32: Rushing

32: Rushing

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Campus Chronicles

Rushing

No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.

~Alice Walker

I felt so out of place.

Standing among the girls in my rush group, I stuck out. Freckles, glasses, wavy (read: unruly) red hair, and the freshman fifteen didn’t exactly make me blend in with my fellow rushees who had flat-ironed straight blond or brown hair, flawless skin and fit figures.

I didn’t even match the apparent dress code for rushing. As a practical dresser, I wore my big, red ski jacket and heavy-duty snow boots. It was technically spring semester, but still winter in Syracuse, New York. Other girls also dressed warmly, but a little more stylishly. Heeled leather boots. Tailored wool coats, short-waisted coats with fur trim, or the in-fashion puffy winter coats. I looked ready for hiking. They looked ready to go out.

Looking different I could handle — I came from an eclectic group of friends in high school. Feeling like an outsider, I could not. I felt uncomfortable. Girls chatted away with each other and friendships formed. I tried, but simply could not get a conversation going.

Maybe this wasn’t for me.... But I was there. I figured I should at least give it a shot.

For the first round of rush, we toured all twelve sorority houses over the course of a few days.

After the first day of visiting, I realized that, like my rush group, I did not fit in at all. The sorority sisters were all very polite, but something didn’t mesh.... I couldn’t relate to most of these girls.

I grew up near Cape Cod in a small suburban town, raised as an outdoorsy girl. I camped. I fished. I played volleyball. I threw shot put and javelin. I spent all of fifteen minutes on hair and make-up in the morning. My friends and I leaned toward the dorky/nerdy side.

During the first round, sisters at each house interviewed us. These were casual conversations — at least in my view — about why we wanted to rush, our interests, our background, our families, etc. I answered matter-of-factly and honestly. Perhaps too honestly.

Why did I decide to rush? My best friend at school asked if I wanted to sign up with her. I did, figuring it would be a good experience, if nothing else. I don’t think I won too many points with that answer.

I bombed nearly every single interview.

Yet, I was being myself. I figured the girls could accept me for how and who I was, or not. Whether it was socially naiveté or confidence, I don’t know. Either way, I continued rush with this attitude.

For the second round of interviews, I got called back to two sororities — Alpha Gamma Delta and Pi Beta Phi. They seemed more my style, low-key and down-to-earth.

Both also called me back for the third, and final, round.

I didn’t have to pledge a sorority. But I got caught up with the idea during the three rounds of rush, and decided I would.

I opted for Alpha Gamma Delta.

The sorority also opted for me. I fit in somewhere, apparently.

There was a buzz of excitement within my pledge group, and many of the sisters. I caught it too, at first. Mandatory study hours with my pledge sisters were fun because it typically led to more gabbing than working. Dinner at the house every once in a while was a nice break from the dining hall. Charity work was a great way to help and a better use of my time.

Yet a nagging feeling of not quite fitting stuck with me, while the excitement didn’t.

Shortly after becoming a full-fledged sister, I started seeing my sorority duties as a burden.

Weekly Sunday night meetings became a hassle. They cut into my time to do homework, and I had to rush back for dinner with my friends. Dressing up one of the senior sisters in a crazy outfit for the annual bar crawl was a chore. Stopping by the house just to say hi to the sisters living there felt awkward — I didn’t really know them.

At the same time, my circle of friends at school had grown. These sorority events took away time from them. I missed out on things. I had to rush back from the spring Block Party to get ready for the sorority’s formal. Other times, I missed out on movies or game nights or general random fun times with everyone. I felt left out.

That’s when I realized, Greek life is great for some people. Not me.

I already had a close-knit group of friends. And they didn’t require interviews.

~Kristiana Glavin

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