As a college girl, one of the biggest decisions to make is joining a sorority.
At many colleges (especially in the south) at least 30-50% of girls go Greek. Pledging a sorority is a great way to feel accepted and be in community with like-minded young women. Summers are spent preparing for rush - asking alums to write recommendation letters and picking out the perfect outfit for each day. Joining a sorority is exciting and scary (I guess that's why it's called rush!) but also an incredible way to make new friends.
As a former rush chair, here are ten tips that I think every girl going through rush needs to hear:
1. Be Confident in You
Don't start comparing yourself to the girl next to you. Instead, be her friend. The girls that are in your rush group will become some of your very first new friends at college. Get to know them, pray for them, and try to stay connected with them after you pledge.
2. Smile and Take the Water!
Every college has their own way of going about rush week but many begin with get-to-know you days. At Auburn, these were called "Ice Water Teas." On these days, you will most likely visit every single sorority on your college campus and will be offered a drink of water at Every. Single. Sorority. My advice would be to smile and take the water. Even if you don't drink it, it gives you something to hold in your hand, causing you to not cross your arms and look uncomfortable. These days can be torture, especially for the introverts, but try your best to smile and be engaging in conversation. Don't be fake. Just be yourself and get a feel for the personality of the sorority. You will probably have a good idea of the ones you like and don't like as much by the end of this first round.
3. Call Your Mother
Call your mother after each day is over. Some girls will be texting all throughout the day with their moms - which is fine but is also somewhat distracting. She's probably just as nervous and excited as you are and has her own friends who are discussing which sorority their daughters are liking but all of that can take you out of the moment. Talking to her at the end of the day or during your breaks will keep her in the loop and also give you more time to really talk and debrief the day. Let her help guide you in making decisions each day but also know that this is your decision so you need to trust your gut.
4. Don't Let Getting Cut Destroy Your Confidence
Every girl has their own rush experience. You may or may not get cut from sororities. The chiseling away process can be quite excruciating but remember that cuts happen for lots of different reasons - grades, activities, hometown preferences, legacies, and character - so don't let getting cut from a sorority destroy your confidence. Know also that for the girls in the sorority, cuts are just as hard on them and feelings usually get hurt. While you might taste rejection for the very first time, let this be a vehicle that births a great need to pray for guidance.
5. Follow Your Heart, Not Your Friends
When I was going through rush, my roommate and I almost pledged the same sorority. While it would have been so much fun to be sorority sisters, I'm glad that we each followed our hearts and joined the sorority that we most felt like we belonged. For some friendships, it makes sense for you to join the same sorority but don't let friends sway you from following your heart. Because college is all about "making new friends and keeping the old, one is silver and the other gold" (thank you Girl Scouts for that tune always being in my head when I think about my friends! ha!)
6. Get to Know the Rush Chair
Figure out who the leaders are in the sorority and get to know their personalities. Sororities don't just pick these girls for leadership roles because they make good grades...usually the leaders are the guiding forces of the sorority and give you great insight into what the sorority believes in. While all sororities will boast about their achievements - especially toward the end of the week - try to determine which sorority you feel like you could contribute to. How can you use your gifts?
7. Crying is Perfectly Normal
I've been told before that our tears are indicators of how God made us. Even if you don't label yourself as a crier, you will probably cry at some point during the rush experience. Tears can come from exhaustion and disappointment but they can also come because you feel a connection with a certain group of girls. When I was going through rush, I ended up crying on the fourth day - Skit Day - to a sweet girl named Leslie. I kept apologizing but I just really felt a connection to her. You know what? I ended up choosing that sorority because of that moment and Leslie ended up being not only my big sister in the sorority but a bridesmaid a few years later and still a friend today. She has been such a positive influence in my life and I can't imagine not having her as a friend. Let your tears be an indicator of where you want to belong.
8. Make A Choice and Don't Look Back
After the final day of rush at Auburn, we immediately had to walk to the auditorium in silence and vote for which sorority we wanted first, second, and third. I'm so glad they made us walk in silence because that was one of the most important moments in my development as a young woman. I couldn't call my mom, talk to my best friend, or get one last piece of advice from my rush counselor...I had to be a big girl and make a decision all by myself. I followed my heart and made a choice. When it is time for you to pick which sorority you want to belong to, use that time of silence to make the right choice and then don't look back. Again, be confident in you and pick a sorority that you most feel like you would enjoy belonging to.
9. Don't Drown in the Rejection
Bid Day is full of squealing girls running across lawns and into the arms of their new sisters. But there is always the chance that you could open your letter and see that your first choice did not accept you. You are going to want to sink into the ground and disappear but please, please, please don't drown in the rejection. It's totally okay to mourn over the loss of what could have been but you can't let this circumstance define you. Open yourself up to what you have been given and open your arms to the girls who are so excited to call you sister.
10. New Friendships are just that...New
One of the promises of joining a sorority is the idea of making forever friends with your pledge sisters. While this can most certainly happen, please remember that new friends are like a pair of new cowgirl boots. It takes time to break them in. Don't assume that these new friendships are going to fit just right fromt he beginning. You've got to walk together and learn from one another to grow close. But trust me, the more time you spend with your sisters, the more comfortable these friendships will become.
Girls have a great desire to be accepted. While sorority recruitment is a great way to feel like you belong, it's not the only way. The most important thing you can do when going to college is finding a good group of friends and this can happen through many other avenues: dorm life, classmates, extracurricular activities, church. If you do join a sorority, continue to make new friends in other parts of your campus experience.
Joining a sorority is life-changing and connects you with so many people that you would have never known otherwise. Trust that you will find your place and try to enjoy the experience. Remember these ten tips and you will be off to a great sorority recruitment!
Do you have any advice for girls going through rush? Please share!
Till next time, let your light shine!