When I started recruitment this fall at my competitive SEC school, I was a typical PNM: excited and a little nervous. I was proud of myself because I had not done what so many people had told me to avoid–I had not already made mental rankings of the houses that I liked or didn’t like. I was proud of myself for really, truly going into recruitment with an open mind. Of course, as the week went on and I became more and more sleep deprived and stressed out, there were small moments of hurt. Despite this, I arrived at my pref round with three houses I felt great at and loved. However, once prefs were over, I felt like it was obvious which house I should rank first. This was a house I had ranked high all week long, the house were I felt comfortable, somewhere where I loved the girls; it was a place where I could really see myself. I got emotional at their pref ceremony just like everyone had told me I would when I found “the one,” and so I was sure of my rankings when I placed that house at the top of my list. I loved both of my other houses, and I ranked both, but in my mind, there was only my first choice. As I recounted my day to my parents that night, I told them–simply and decisively–that though I had indeed ranked all three houses, I wasn’t sure I would be okay being anywhere but my first choice.
The next morning, when I woke up, the first thought that came to my head was that I hadn’t gotten a call during the night, meaning that I had been matched with a bid. I spent the whole day practically dying of excitement, picturing myself flipping over my bid card to reveal that I was a new member of my first choice and running up the lawn toward the house that night. I was so sure that I had received a bid from them that I didn’t even consider another possibility. When I arrived at the bid card ceremony that night, I was practically in tears of excitement as my card was placed in my hands. I couldn’t wait to flip it over. However, when I did, I was in for a shock–I had not been matched with a bid to my top choice house.
There was a brief moment when the room felt like a vacuum, like all the air had been sucked out. I was surprised, disappointed, and a little bit hurt, if I’m being totally honest. Then I took a deep breath and thought about the house I had been matched with. This house hadn’t been my first choice leaving pref round, but I had loved the girls all through recruitment. I remembered meeting a girl the first round of recruitment at an early party who made me feel so at ease. I had the best rush conversation with her that I had all week, and when I left the house, I immediately wanted to go back just so I could talk to her again. She was someone who I looked for every round. I thought of the awesome, energetic girl who had talked to me during third round, about how hard I had laughed and how excited I had been when she introduced me to her best friend who she had met through the sorority, and how I had gotten a chill thinking, “Wow, that could be me!” I remembered seeing that same girl from round one during round three, running down the stairs just so she could tell me hello again and that she was so glad I had come back. I recalled my pref round there, and how, no, I didn’t cry, but how I had laughed at Disney movies and had so much fun and felt so comfortable with the wonderful senior who preffed me. I thought about how welcomed and wanted I had always felt in the house that was on my bid card, and in that moment, as the room exploded around me with deafening noise from a million PNMs receiving their bids, I decided that I would do what I had promised myself I would do all along–I would trust the system.
And so I hopped on a bus with the rest of my new pledge class, which took us to the front lawn of our house. I looked out the window with wonder at all the sisters crowded on the walkway going absolutely insane with excitement at the arrival of their new babies. I got chills as the bus doors opened and everyone started to run off toward our new home. I was one of the last ones off the bus, but everyone was still screaming and freaking out. The only thing that registered to me was that same amazing, wonderful, perfect girl who had made me love this house from the first day, and how she was standing right in front of me. I immediately ran to her and we basically attacked each other in a hug, and to be honest, I instantly started bawling. She did, too, and she was yelling at me that she had hoped so hard all week that I would end up with her at our house, and I knew in that moment that I had made the right choice. As I made my way up the walkway, I was greeted by all the girls who had rushed me and many who hadn’t, all crying and telling me that they were so excited I was one of them now.
I may not have received the bid that I thought I was destined for, but I have never, even for one second, regretted the choice to take a leap of faith and trust that the system and God had placed me where I was supposed to be. That girl who I met during the first round of rush? She’s now my big, and I literally can’t imagine my life without her in it. All those girls in my pledge class? We’ve become so close that I don’t remember a time without them. That house that I hadn’t ranked first? It has become my home. It has taught me to become a better woman, to reach higher, and to dream bigger, all while giving me the support to do so. It’s given me the best nights of my life, and the promise of many more to come. It’s somewhere where I feel loved, accepted, valued, and wanted every single day, and I am better because I am a sister there. I absolutely, 100 percent believe that I am where I’m supposed to be, and I’ve never been so happy to have not gotten what I once thought I wanted. I have not once doubted that I made the right choice since the day that I made it. I can only hope that every other PNM going through recruitment in the coming years finds as much happiness as I have..