How to Survive Recruitment as a Rusher Without Losing Your Soul

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And you thought the trouble ended when you joined a sorority. With spring sorority rush knocking (or should we say clapping) at your door, you begin to face a whole new set of rules and worries. You will have to smile, dress appropriately, clap for hours and talk to so many girls that you lose track. Welcome to rush as a rusher. Despite having to cut your winter break early, excitement awaits.

Prepare for an intense week: you’re experiencing rush week as a sorority rusher.

How to preserve your soul

My biggest issue with rush was having to talk to a girl I just met and then rate our conversation. Every day, I walked home trying to huddle under my big jacket while letting the cold further numb my brain after hours of conversing. I wanted to forget the negative comments I wrote for girls who I just didn’t hit it off with easily.

There wasn’t always a reason, sometimes I felt tired or she seemed nervous. I felt awful–like I sold my soul to some shallow-girl demon who kept whispering to me, “This is for the good of the chapter.” I knew she spoke truth but that didn’t ease the hollowness in my stomach.

I found solace in my sisters and other sorority girls who hated that their homes asked them to judge girls for hours on end. “When you’re judging a girl I always try to write something positive in my notes no matter how I feel about her,” said University of Virginia junior Amelia Gilmer.

In that spirit, when you talk with a girl, instead of focusing on the things you don’t like about her, try to let the things that make her unique shine through and appreciate those.

Think of it as an opportunity to meet new people and find what their passions. When you get someone talking about what they love, they light up in a way that makes it impossible to not light up right back. When you talk with a girl that you naturally hit it off with, your conversations are no longer material to judge but just incredible conversations. You actually learn from them and wish for those precious 15 minutes to never end. That’s the beauty from this process: weeding through the process to find girls that illuminate and inspire you.

What to do if a girl cries

How can you ask a girl to pour her personal beliefs without getting too emotional? Sometimes they refuse to dig any deeper. Even worse, they dig so deep that tears bubble up like an unstoppable geyser and before you know it, BAM! You’ve brought a poor, stressed, cold potential new member (PNM) to tears.

As you remember, rushing brings along stress. It amazes me that everyone isn’t in tears.

Offer lots of support and rely on your other rushers to make sure she feels comfortable. The PNM is probably very embarrassed. Do not shy away from holding her hand or patting her back. Someone in that position appreciates the kindness. Hopefully, you’ll laugh it off enough to change the subject and make her feel safe again.

Make sure not to remember her tears in a negative way. “If a PNM starts to cry or show lots of emotion I like to frame that as a reflection of our chapter’s ability to touch someone or make them feel a certain way—so not seeing it as who is this random chick crying but as a proud moment that something that means so much to us can be seen and truly felt by someone else,” said UVa junior Diane D’Costa.

Before she goes, thank her for her honesty and emotions. Emphasize the significance of sharing these feelings with strangers and appreciate her passion for what she was talking about.

The upsides about judging girls all week

The biggest part of surviving rush is maintaining the idea that this isn’t a bad thing. If you think of it as a positive process, you won’t dread it as much. Great things come from choosing new members for your sorority.

You will become closer with your own chapter. Who would think that being stuck in a house with your chapter for about a week would bring closeness among your sisters? You will find shoulders to lean on after so many tired hours. Laughs will fill your home and the process will feel less like a burden and more like a deeper bond between you and your sisters.

You could find a future family member. If you are in the right arrangement, you could find your future little. My big sister was the first person I talked to in my current sorority. I hate to sound cheesy—but it was love at first sight.

You also find leadership roles. When a community undertakes such a large and significant process, new leadership positions open up. This is your chance to change things about rush that you think are wrong.

Finally, a couple quick tips to surviving rush week as a rusher…

  • Bring snacks. Eat frequently.
  • During your breaks, nap or listen to music for some sweet downtime.
  • 5-Hour Energy. Buy it. Sip on them a little bit during those hours where you feel yourself fading!” said junior UVa Natasha Smook.
  • Rely on sisters and friends when you feel overwhelmed.
  • Bring mints. You will forget to spit out your gum and end up feeling like a dummy when- chomping during a conversation with a PNM.
  • Keep Advil on hand for the headache that will come.
  • Look for the positives in every conversation
  • After rush concludes, indulge in a quiet night with a bottle of wine and some Mario Kart.

Hannah is a 3rd year at UVa majoring in Media Studies and Art History. She loves music, Pixar movies, and the oxford comma.

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