My freshman year did not begin as predicted. I was not instant besties with my roommate, in love with my floor or feeling like Asher Roth as I had expected. Man, I did not love college.
I was living on the ground floor of a dorm hall in a tiny supplement room with five random roommates. I was drowning in the stress of balancing my new course load and a part-time job. I wanted more than anything to head back home to my mom, my cat and the good old high school days, with my closest friends and my comfortable home.
I was looking forward to rush to make Penn State feel a little more like home. I wanted to meet people who I thought got me.
When rush began, I was greeted with an unfriendly surprise. We were expected to dress up and then move through a series of conversations with girl after girl. I felt self conscious about my outfits and while attempting to make small talk, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the homework that I should be doing instead. By the end of each day I wanted to go to sleep until Thanksgiving break.
Inconveniently enough, rush took place during three of my midterm exams. I can’t exactly remember the outcome, but I know I failed at least one of those exams and barely passed the others.
The stress of my college transition made the endless hours of girl flirting a terrible process for me. I couldn’t manage my time and as a result, resented going through each round. I didn’t want to talk to any of the girls, and I couldn’t understand why the girls around me loved it. But, I continued until Bid Day because I believed I had to.
I thought if I didn’t pledge a sorority I would never have any friends or sense of belonging at my school. When I opened my bid, I felt indifferent. Girls were sprinting to meet their sisters while I contemplated heading home.
After two weeks pledging my new sorority, the endless hours of volunteer work and bonding activities had only added stress to my life. I dropped my bid and focused on getting my act together.
I really discovered myself that year and I could not be happier with my decision. Living my freshman year as a GDI allowed me to wade through new classes and discover what I really wanted to major in. It allowed me to meet and be friends with people in different sororities and other GDIs too. I still had an amazing freshman year that I will never forget, but I wondered what my experience would have been like if I had stuck with pledging.
When I returned to school my sophomore year, I decided to rush again. This time, it wasn’t in an effort to make my life some unrealistic fairytale college movie, but just something I wanted to do. I had made many friends who were involved in Greek life and I decided the grueling process would be worth it. With a year of college under my belt, I now knew how to plan my time to be able to endure the process with minimal stress and enough sleep.
Having accepted a bid to a sorority I love, I couldn’t be happier that I rushed again. I realize now that a sorority is just another fun thing to do; it doesn’t have to consume my life or define me. My advice to those debating the rush process is to undergo it when you have the time and desire to, not because you feel you feel pressured to do so.