Confessions From The Bottom Tier

Bottom Tier

I have a confession to make. I know I’m supposed to be proud of my letters in spite of our reputation, and for the most part I am. I have a good relationship with my sisters and I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. But sometimes I can’t help but wonder if my experience would have been different if I’d ended up in a “top tier” house. When I wear my letters around campus, I cringe inwardly whenever someone looks too hard at them. When someone does the math. When someone wonders what happened. And I realize that most of the student body doesn’t care, but for some reason, I do.

There were two highly regarded sororities that I was almost in, and I absolutely adored both of them. Every time I went to each of their houses during recruitment, I felt a rush of excitement. I had amazing conversations with the girls. I could picture myself walking in their doors and hanging out in their beautifully adorned living rooms. I felt like I’d fit at either one of them, and was mentally preparing myself for the task of ranking one over the other. There was no way they would drop me. That they would both drop me.

Until they did.

I opened my schedule on preference night, anxious to make my decision that evening. As I scanned the list I didn’t see either of the houses I had fallen in love with. Instead, a sorority I’d been trying to ditch since round one had invited me back once again, along with two others that I’d never been passionate about. I bolted out the door before I broke down in front of the other girls in my group. They were all excited about their schedules. I didn’t understand. I swiftly called my mom sobbing, telling her that I’d rather drop out of recruitment than accept bids from any of the houses I had left.

She told me it was ultimately my decision but that I should really give my remaining houses a chance. I pulled it together enough to go to my first ceremony. But as the girls told me how much their sisterhood meant to them, I almost broke down again. It wasn’t right. I wasn’t supposed to be there. I was supposed to be at one of those other, better houses. How dare those sororities drop me? I couldn’t figure it out.

In the end, I didn’t drop. I accepted a bid from a sorority that my school has declared “bottom tier.” And I feel it. There’s a vain part of me that won’t stop wondering if the other houses just thought I wasn’t pretty enough. That I wasn’t perfect enough to join them in their glittery, dazzling worlds. And there’s an angry part of me that wonders what I could’ve done differently. What I could have done to be better. Why didn’t I lose those last ten pounds this summer like I said I would? Why didn’t I dye my hair? And why didn’t I get a tan?

My Bid Day wasn’t a magical experience. I didn’t race home into the arms of my rush crush, and I didn’t cry tears of joy when I saw my name on some shitty, makeshift sign. My house was right next to a bunch of top houses, and that hurt like hell. I felt physically ill and went home early because I just couldn’t handle it. What had those other girls done that I hadn’t? Obviously I’ll never know, and although it doesn’t hurt like it did right after I got my bid, it still stings. It’s hard to see girls wearing the letters I feel somehow unworthy of, especially the two houses that dropped. The two houses I loved. Still, everyday I put on a brave face (for myself, because I realize no one else cares) and I walk by those houses to the sisterhood that wanted me when many others didn’t.

None of this gets me anywhere, I know. In fact, it only serves to make me feel bad about myself. But to be completely honest, I think it sucks being on the bottom. And if I’d had the chance, I would’ve definitely chosen one of those other houses. I don’t regret my decision to stick it out, but sometimes I mourn the loss of the experience I see those other girls having. They win all of the philanthropies and they hang out with the hottest guys. They have the nicest cars, the prettiest smiles, the best legs. And I don’t. I don’t have any of that.

So yes, I often wish that my sorority wasn’t bottom tier. A lot of doors close for us socially because of our status, and I resent being lumped with that reputation. But then I feel even worse about myself for caring. It’s been a struggle for me. I won’t lie to you and say that I love every single thing about my sorority or that I would’ve picked them over anyone else. Because it’s just not true. I’m so happy to be a part of a sisterhood at all, but I do wonder about the others who aren’t fighting a reputation as harsh as ours.

My point is that if you’re feeling conflicted about your sorority’s tier, you’re not alone. I’ve seen a lot of articles telling me that I shouldn’t care about my tier and that it’s all bullshit, which is probably true. But the fact is, I do care. So if you feel bad about caring what other people think of your chapter, I think that’s okay. I don’t think you should be loud about it, and I don’t think you should be mean, but I think it’s a valid feeling. We all expect to be on top, and then when we’re not, it’s disappointing. But we love our sisters and we’ll be fine. And in the end, it could be worst. At least we’re not GDIs.

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