That time I was in a sorority, Part 2

26 Apr

You can read Part 1 of this story here. Also, I’ve decided I’m not going to name the sorority I joined. I would like to, but I’m not going to. One chapter of a sorority isn’t indicative of the whole organization and it wouldn’t be fair. Also also, the more I remember and reflect on this story, I’m thinking it might be a 4-part deal. There’s a lot more to say about this than I realized when I first started writing it down.

 So there I was, miserable, lonely and homesick, wanting nothing more than to go home. Instead, I found myself spending hours trying to decide what to wear, dressing up in I don’t even remember what, and heading off to the student center for the first night of rush. I realized then that putting myself in a situation in which I had to make small talk with a ton of bubbly and talkative girls for four nights might be torturous for me. I’m not so good at small talk and I’m especially not good at small talk with strangers. My roommate, who by nature is a very likeable, bubbly, and talkative person, was much more well-equipped for this sort of thing. I might be likeable (which is debatable), but not so much bubbly and talkative.

 That should have been my first clue that I was probably getting ready to do something that just wasn’t for me.

 Rush was four nights (I think. To be honest, not a lot of my memories of rush are clear, so I’ll do my best to get it right. H, feel free to correct me!). Each sorority was housed in a different room, decorated with their various Greek letters, banners, T-shirts and teeming with lots and lots of girls. As you walked into a room they often stood in a kind of NFL cheerleader, two-sided receiving line, clapping and singing songs as you walked through the door. It was a little…overwhelming to say the least. Weird, if I’m being honest.

 You spent a certain amount of time in each room, talking with a couple of different girls.  They told you about the sorority’s activities, the intramurals, the opportunities to serve in various positions within the chapter and in the university’s Greek council, and basically how wonderful Greek life was.

 It was, sadly, super easy to label each of the sororities. It was like high school on steroids. There was the pretty/snobby girl sorority. The smart girl sorority. The smart and pretty and overall nice girl sorority. There was the sporty, down to earth sorority. There was the (I can’t think of a way to say this nicely, so I’m not going to label the last one. They were a very nice group of girls) sorority. (Extra points to you, H, if you can figure out which ones I’m talking about J )

 For someone like me, who didn’t play sports, or cheer, or belong to band or choir or chess club in high school, who didn’t easily fall into or identify with one of those stereotypical roles, it was hard to figure out where I fit in. I didn’t walk into one of those rooms and immediately think, Ok, this is where I belong. It’s also hard to get an accurate picture of a group as a whole when you’re only talking to two or three representatives of that group, who are, essentially, selling themselves to you.

 The first night of rush you met with each sorority for a short time. After the first night, all of the rushes filled out a piece of paper, ranking each sorority. Then, each sorority would rank the rushes.  Those rankings would determine who you would get to talk to the next night. On night two you would talk to four sororities instead of all five (or something like that). Simply put, if you both liked each other, you would meet again.

 On the second night the sororities really upped their game. There were songs! And skits! Skits replete with costumes and choreographed dance routines!

 And no, I’m not kidding.

 By this point, I had met some nice girls and was getting a feeling about which sororities I might like to join, so even though part of me was saying WTF are these girls doing dancing around to a modified version of Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean, this is silly! I had made a decision to see this through and I wanted to give it a shot. Plus, I thought, I can always just back out if I really decide it’s not for me, or not worth the time and money.

 Ha. Ha. Foreshadowing, ahoy!

 So after skit and dance night, we again narrowed our choices. We met with three sororities on night three. To be honest, I don’t remember what happened on night three. I think that we probably talked about the activities and philanthropy specific to that sorority. Maybe night three was song and dance night. Who knows?

 By that point, I had decided that I was most comfortable with the sporty, down to earth sorority, although my roommate and friends from my floor were leaning towards the smart and pretty and overall nice girl sorority. I think, looking back now, that if I had stuck with them I would have been much, MUCH happier and things wouldn’t have ended so poorly.

 Oh hindsight, you are always too late.

 Night four was formal night. Again, my memories are shaky here, but we all dressed up and spent a significant amount of time with two sororities. Night four was a much more intimate and ceremonial. There were candles and lots of very heart-felt, tear-filled speeches about why we should pick their sorority and how amazing the experience would be. Greek life had changed the lives of all these girls and they couldn’t wait to welcome us into their sorority as “sisters”.

 After night four was over, we ranked each other again and waited for bid day.

 I was nervous, but still knew in the back of my mind that it wasn’t that big of a deal to me if I didn’t get a bid to the sorority I wanted. I would be okay. I wouldn’t be accepting a bid to a different sorority. I would move on, find other activities. There was still enough of my mind saying WTF are you doing? This is not for you, that I would not be heartbroken if it didn’t work out.

 Bid day came and they herded all the rushes into an auditorium where we were called down to the front of the room and handed an envelope. We then returned to our seat, where we were to wait until everyone had received their envelope and we would all open them at the same time.

 When it was time to rip into the envelopes, there was squealing and yelling and crying (most happy, some heartbroken) and all around giddiness. I had matched with my chosen sorority, the sporty, down to earth sorority.

 I was relieved and … something else. If I’m being totally honest, I was a little disappointed. I was still subconsciously hoping that I wouldn’t match to my choice and that I would have an easy way out.

 I’m sure a lot of you are thinking well why the hell didn’t you just walk away? If you had so many doubts and your heart wasn’t really in it, why did you accept the bid?

 Here’s the honest answer:

 At this point I had been away from home for about a week. I knew my roommate, obviously, and had met some other girls from my floor I liked, but they were also going through rush. Never one to branch out on my own willingly, I felt like I had to stick it out or else everyone I had formed these new, tentative friendships with would be off doing sorority things and I would be alone. I honestly felt that if that happened, I would be packing up my stuff and heading home in no time. I felt like I owed it to myself to at least try and make the best of it. I was out of my comfort zone and felt as though it was important for me to push myself for once and try something new. After all, I thought, what if all these girls are right and this experience is going to change my life?

 So I found myself running (yes, running, like the freaking Running of the Bulls inPamplona) to the sorority house to meet my new “sisters”. There, I was met with more squealing, a T-shirt, and lots of picture-taking with three huge Greek letters. I felt dazed, out of place, shy and overwhelmed. There wasn’t much about this whole experience that didn’t make me feel….not me.*

 But alas, there I was. I was Greek. I was a pledge. 

*I think it’s important to note here, that I don’t mean any of this to be a criticism of Greek life, or anyone’s choice to join a sorority or a fraternity. I’m just not the kind of person that does well in these situations and it was awkward for me. And I really, really wanted this to work out for me. I wanted to make friendships that would last forever. I wanted to find my place, to hold an office in my chapter, to take part in all the activities. I believed in it. For a while.

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7 Responses to “That time I was in a sorority, Part 2”

  1. Life of a Doctor's Wife April 26, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Oh my this story is totally captivating! It’s so… foreign to me, for one thing. Well, the Greek life depiction. The feeling shy and out of place stuff are totally familiar. Also, the feeling that you SHOULD do something even if it feels weird, just for the sake of “pushing your boundaries” and “extending yourself” and “trying new things.” Barf.

    If this were a book, I would be staying up til all hours to find out what happens next.

    (Oooh!!! Is this a story you can turn into a novel? I would TOTALLY read it!)

    And FINALLY yet MOST IMPORTANTLY: You are IMMENSELY likable. (I am saying this in a stern “you know better than to think otherwise, missy!” voice.)

  2. ltotheizzo April 26, 2011 at 10:28 am #

    I was also in a sorority for three days! But then they told us to wear a tacky white outfit to some initiation so I decided to wear my bathrobe. I got yelled at for being disrespectful and that’s when I decided to pull my greek life plug!

  3. Courtney April 26, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    Wow…this is sounding a LOT like my experience. I’ll have to write my own up and post it one of these days! I don’t remember the details as well as you do, but I do remember how I was feeling. Am I allowed to make a prediction as to what happens in Parts 3 and 4?

  4. Maggie April 26, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Tapping nails on the table, waiting for the next installment…

  5. Heather May 9, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    K – I had NO IDEA! Seriously … I feel like such a crapster friend for not recognzing the agony that the whole rush experience had on you. The funny thing is that I can relate to most everything you wrote. The whole experience was surreal and … so, so, so weird. The clapping. The chanting. The fake “oh my God you’re going to be my sister” enthusiasm. No wonder people poke fun at Greek life. Or, maybe, women are just weird??!?

    Can’t wait for the next installment! And so happy you provided me the link ot your new AWESOME blog. You rock, my friend. Don’t forget that.

  6. Jenn May 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Like everyone else, I can’t wait to read the rest!! Sororities and fraternities have always been a little fascinating for me, though I cannot say why exactly. I do not know that I never could have found the courage to even TRY to get into a sorority. I would have stayed in my dorm with my nose stuck in a book all 4 years, I’m pretty sure! 😉

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. That time I was in a sorority, Part 3 « KristinaMarie - May 25, 2011

    […] can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Also– thank you guys so much for your comments on my last post. I certainly don’t see […]

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