If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.
Let me start this off with a disclaimer. Actually, a couple of disclaimers.
Disclaimer #1: I did not have any intention of becoming Greek in college, basically ever (Ever seen “The House Bunny”? Yeah, that’s pretty much why).
Disclaimer #2: That being said, Greek life at CWRU is totally different from anything you’ll find elsewhere; the dedication to friendship and scholarship are totally not what I expected. I remained unconvinced until my boyfriend rushed ƩN in the fall. The fun he had, the people I met, and the atmosphere of the fraternity convinced me that I should give Greek life another look.
I’m really excited for Greek life. But there is, as always, a catch. For those who don’t know, rushing a fraternity at CWRU is totally different from rushing a sorority. The guys get to do the fun stuff. Fraternities typically create a two-week calendar of informal rush events that include game nights, dinner with the brothers, something called Whirlyball (it involves bumper cars and lacrosse sticks…I don’t know either, but it sounds awesome), and other crazy shenanigans that boys do. After that period, the brothers get together to extend bids, and the people who get bids decide if they want to pledge. Girls, on the other hand, kind of get the shaft.
Most sororities are run by something known as the Panhellenic Council, a national organization that does sorority stuff (I’m not entirely sure what it does, exactly, I just know that it makes a bunch of rules). The Panhellenic Council came up with a system for sororities to follow that involves a series of “parties” that girls attend in order to get to know the different sororities on campus. They’re formal, you have to attend parties to which you are invited, and there’s a whole slew of ridiculous rules that you have to follow (“Strict Silence”? Don’t give or accept gifts from sisters?? Only one tablecloth per table???).
Formal recruitment does one thing well, at least. Because you get to see each sorority, you can get a feel for what each one might be like. My aunt is big into the whole sorority deal. As an alumna, she’s still really involved, and she definitely knows what she’s talking about when it comes to sororities. She told me to keep an open mind, and I said “Sure” without even really thinking about it. I kind of had my mind made up already and wasn’t really sure why I had to go through this whole “formal” business. Then I actually WENT, and two things became extremely clear:
#1: I needed to go to formal recruitment. It was a lot of fun and it opened my eyes to sororities I hadn’t thought about.
#2: I am more confused than ever.
The first day of formal recruitment was basically the Greek equivalent of speed dating. Without really knowing what you’re doing, where you’re going, or why you’re surrounded by a myriad of singing, clapping people, you get shuttled from place to place and quickly latched onto by a sister who barrages you with a bunch of questions (What’s your major? Why did you decide to rush? Do YOU have any questions?!). It’s super overwhelming and a little bit frightening, but it’s actually a really great time. People are extremely sympathetic to your deer-in-the-headlights look, and they really make an effort to make sure that you’re having fun.
After day 1, I was feeling pretty good. I was VERY tired (it’s about a 6-hour day for rush), but I was pretty confident. Then came day 2. This time around, it was a little more leisurely. You know the game already, so you’re a lot more comfortable. You get to know the sisters a little bit better. But, if you’re like me, it only makes the decision that much harder. See, I thought everyone I met was really nice. I clicked with at least three different groups of girls, having great conversation and meeting an awesome group that I totally didn’t expect.
At the end of day 2, you rank all eight sororities in order of your preference. I ended up putting total surprises in my first two spots – sororities I hadn’t even considered before Sunday. Three and four were ones I had already liked and still felt pretty comfortable with. The ones I didn’t like were a little easier to pick. In general, though, my thoughts as I turned in the pref card were “I have no idea what I’m doing”. Day 3 of recruitment is on Saturday, when I find out which sororities invited me back for another party to get to know them better. I guess we’ll see. The suspense is killing me.
I guess this is a “To Be Continued???” (Props to anyone who gets that super-obscure reference.)