The exterior of the Stacy Riddle Forum at Baylor University

Greek Letters Don't Determine Your Self Worth

     Ah, Bid Day. For girls who find their home in a sorority, it's a celebration of newfound friendship and an excuse to bombard Instagram with photos. For those who aren't as lucky, it's utter purgatory (if you even make it to the finish line of Panhellenic recruitment, that is). Some girls drop out in the middle of the process, and honestly? I don't blame them. To call it a fever dream would be an understatement. 

     I'm convinced that no one likes Panhellenic recruitment. It doesn't matter if you're a current member of a sorority, a potential new member, or just an onlooker - nobody likes it, no matter the outcome. The summer before my freshman year at Baylor, a family friend visited Houston from England and my parents and I were catching up with him. Don and my dad (both Brits) had worked their first job out of university together and have been close buds ever since. Greek life isn't a thing across the pond, so my mom explained Panhellenic recruitment and sororities to Don. When my mom was finished, Don took a long pause and said, "So... you go to a bunch of tea parties and pretend to be nice to one another?" You know what? For not having gone to college in the States, he kind of hit the nail on the head. 

     As I entered recruitment in the second semester of my freshman year, I was pretty excited. During my first semester, I had struggled to find a real sense of community at Baylor and I thought this could be the answer. Sure, I'd always had this intense nagging feeling in the back of my mind that a Panhellenic sorority wasn't for me, but it was fine. Sure, it seemed like an introvert's actual worst nightmare, but it was fine. I had attended all of the Panhellenic previews the previous semester, and I had my eye on one chapter in particular. But, I was ready to explore every group Baylor had to offer. 

     Nothing could've ever prepared me for how overwhelming that week was. As a former theatre kid, I had auditioned for musicals and plays plenty of times in my life - I thought I was fine. It was just a bunch of "auditions" back-to-back, right? This was by far one of the most stressful weeks I'd ever experienced. Close to 1,000 girls were packed into Stacy Riddle. You struggled to hear the person yelling, "How are you?" in your ear, even with them standing right next to you. You smiled until you couldn't feel your cheeks for days on end. Frankly, you couldn't pay me to do it again. The thing is, it isn't the girls' fault (although a few of them were incredibly rude, let's not walk on eggshells here). It's the system. It's not about who you are, it's about who you know. If you don't know how to "play the game" and don't have the connections or the funds, you're at a disadvantage from the get-go. The bottom line is: it's an antiquated system, people. Go ahead, call me a cynic. I'd counter with "realist." 

     I was very fortunate to have a chapter left on Pref Day. For some girls, this is not to be - they're cut from every chapter prior to this point. However, my favorite chapter had clung onto me until the last possible moment and then proceeded to cut me right before Pref Day. It would've been better if they'd let me out of my misery earlier on, but I guess they had other plans. My sense of self-worth was honestly shaken. Was I not "enough" for them, whatever that meant? Was my entire personality just... unappealing? In the theatre world, you're scrutinized during auditions, sure. But I had never felt so intensely judged by others until recruitment week. After shouting a few dozen (alright, way more than a few dozen) expletives in my dorm room, I decided to attend the party I had been invited to. Although I was crushed about the other chapter, I was very grateful to have the opportunity to meet with this one - maybe it would feel like home. Sure enough, I attended the party, and afterwards, I indicated that I would accept a bid from them the next day. The girls were sweet and genuine, but I hadn't felt a sense of belonging there as I had in the other chapter. I was at a loss. 

     By nature, I am not a quitter. I told myself that I would learn to love the chapter with time and that I would make great friends - dropping out was never an option. If I quit, I would have accepted defeat, and Rachel Harsley does not like to accept defeat. I made the commitment to go through this process, and I would stick with it. I thought if I dropped, I wouldn't find a sense of community at Baylor. But after I accepted my bid the next day and spent the next nine hours with my new sorority, I felt this sense of weariness wash over me. I thought it was just exhaustion from the week's activities. As night fell, we drove to this beautiful farmhouse for the Bid Day party. Everyone was dancing and having a great time, but I felt completely empty and numb. When I got back to my dorm that night, I had no clue what I was going to do. But the next morning, something became very clear to me. "What's more important to maintain: my pride, or my happiness?" I chose the latter and I dropped out. Although I was upset about doing so, after I did, it was the best I'd felt the whole week. 

     So, ladies, if you had a less than ideal experience with Panhellenic recruitment a few weeks ago, you're not alone. Your feelings are absolutely valid. You are worth so much more than some letters on a jersey. Greek life is not the end-all-be-all of a college experience. Baylor has over 300 student organizations you can join, and if you don't find something that tickles your fancy, you can start your own. The Panhellenic recruitment process doesn't do a great job of taking the things that truly matter into account. Even if your mom's sister's aunt wasn't a Kappa Lambda Sigma whatever the hell, you matter. You are worthy. Don't let any of those groups make you feel otherwise. I only have two words to say to the chapters that cut you over the course of the week. "Your loss."