My freshman year was a rough and bumpy ride. I was recruited to play volleyball for an all girls college. First of all, my team ended up sucking (sorry, girls) and I soon found out that there are certain types of girls who cater to an all female environment: outspoken lesbians and weird, rich girls who went to all girls high schools. While I support both gay rights and going to expensive, private high schools, I simply did not fit in with this crowd. And, to top it all off, there was no Greek system, so obviously you feel my pain.
After one miserably long fall semester as a freshman, I transferred to a new college, but this one had boys. For that, I was truly grateful. But as a lost, new transfer student, I had no friends, and I knew absolutely no one. I completely missed spring recruitment because I barely even knew where the campus coffee shop was, let alone anything about sororities and fraternities.
Then, my sophomore year rolled around. I had finally made some friends, had a popular cheerleader as my lab partner, and got to know a little more about Greek life. In between fall and spring, I attended a short study abroad trip, and I became friends with two amazing girls from a certain sorority. I was intrigued, but I didn’t know if it was really right for me. I ended up not rushing, but I got a snap bid. As you can imagine, I was overcome with excitement and immediately accepted the offer. If I could go back, though, I would have given myself a few words of advice.
1. Get to know your graduating class.
Most of the girls I rushed with were freshman, and that was okay. I still made a lot of friends–they just ended up graduating after me. We were as close-knit as you can be for 25 girls, but I have to admit I felt a little caught in the middle, like in sisterhood limbo. All the girls in my graduating class were in a tight clique, and I didn’t always feel like I belonged with them. On the other hand, all the girls who rushed with me still almost seemed closer to each other than to me. Now, after graduating, I think I just needed to put forth more effort into getting to know my graduating class. If I would have done that, I probably wouldn’t have spent most of senior week getting frat boy trashed with my boyfriend and his brothers. I would have spent more time enjoying my last moments with the sisters I now miss so much.
2. Don’t be afraid to rush just because you’re older.
It’s never too late to find out what’s on the other side of those beautiful buildings decorated in letters. I often wonder, if I had rushed, would I have ended up in the same house? Would I still be who I am today? Don’t let yourself wonder those things. Just do it. The worst thing that could happen is deciding to stay independent. I know we all say we hate geeds, but I had some pretty cool independent friends who I secretly called “honorary sisters.”
3. Everyone is going to think you’re a freshman.
This isn’t always a terrible thing, but it’s not a great thing, either. On one hand you can pretend to live your freshman year all over again, and, for the most part, without the judgment other sophomores would receive. This might seem like a dream come true, but remember that you’re also still a target for creepy frat boys who prey on the new babies. Trust me, all the attention will be great–you’re now in with the in crowd. But you’ll want to eventually associate with a friend group of older Greeks who are over the freshman phase, because you’ll become tired of it.
4. Participate in everything you can, but make sure to still manage your time well.
Since you’re a year older and probably starting into the 200 and 300 level courses, rushing might be a bit more of a struggle for you to manage, but my house was super understanding about time. As much as we hate to admit it, school is really about, well, school. But, after a while, you’ll figure out that you have way more time than you thought, so don’t stress about it. If I’ve learned one thing as a postgrad, it’s that my extracurricular experiences in college were just as (or maybe even more) important as the classes.
5. Don’t just pick a house based on your current friends.
You’ve already been on campus for a year, and you probably have certain friends in certain houses. Don’t let your one friend in a house represent all of her sisters. Take in what everyone offers during rush week. See where you fit in the best and who you see yourself getting along with the most. Pick a house with a philanthropy that actually means something to you. Pick a house with girls you see as mentors, future bridesmaids, and lifelong friends. Don’t just pick a house because so-and-so won’t be friends with you if you don’t. If your other “friends” are really your friends, they’ll be there for you even if you choose a different sorority. #PanhellenicLove