The prevalence of Greek life at DePauw is unlike any other school I toured when choosing where to go to college. I was immediately overwhelmed by the large percentage of students who decided to join Greek Life here, which is currently more than half of the student population. There is obviously something about this part of DePauw that attracts so many, and it’s clear that it’s been ingrained into the culture of our campus.
However, while many seem to get a lot out of the recruitment process, the process is not for everyone. I went through recruitment last year, and here is what I wish I knew before going through Panhellenic sorority recruitment.
- Greek Life isn’t for everyone, no, really
I heard the phrase, “Greek life isn’t for everyone,” hundreds of times before going through rush, and it’s true! Some people are more likely to thrive in a sorority environment than others. Some people are more social than others and willing to call 60 girls their sisters, while some people are less social and both are ok. Everyone is different, and Greek Life has a different appeal for everyone. It’s important to listen to your gut when deciding whether to rush or not, and to think about what you want to do, not about what everyone else is doing.
- Keep an Open Mind
Another cliché saying that you’ll hear quite a bit during rush: keep an open mind. I think that it’s easy to make assumptions and to glamorize the sorority experience as an outsider. Every sorority wants to represent its organization well, both online and in person. This makes it easy to get into a house and feel as if the expectations you had are not met, because let’s be real, people portray themselves differently in public and in private. This can be a good or bad thing; many girls get into their top choice house and end up hating it, but on the other end, many girls get their second or third choice and end up being pleasantly surprised. I have heard stories from both ends of the spectrum. Basically, in short, while you think you may know and love a particular sorority, you will never know until you are actually there living it. If you plan on going through with rush, keep this in mind.
- Friendships and Sisterhood
This point can go two ways. One of my favorite things about sorority life is the amount of support it gives you. There’s always somebody there to lean on in times of trouble. Need help with chemistry? Somebody in the house is a Chem major. Need a ride to Kroger? Somebody has your back. Having a sisterhood to help you get through both the small and the major life events is really nice. Joining a house can be a good idea for those who don’t know many people, who are from out of state, and who just want to put themselves out there. That being said, there is also a way to find that community outside Greek Life. DePauw has so many clubs and organizations to join that can allow you to form friendships. Sororities also do not guarantee friendships, and they do not guarantee quality friendships. At the end of the day, go wherever you feel most loved and supported whether that is in a greek house or not.
- There’s A Good Chance You’ll Be Living With These People
If you’re anything like me, you love your personal space. While some of our sorority houses have the opportunity to have single rooms or to live out of the house all four years, that is not guaranteed or necessarily common. A lot of the time you will find yourself sharing a room with someone or sleeping in a cold dorm. Some people really enjoy this option and prefer a cold dorm to a normal room, but it was not for me. Additionally, I looked over the fact that I would be primarily eating with the girls in my sorority house. While that is a great way to make friends and develop sisterhood, it can be isolating and prevent you from seeing your friends outside of the house. I would also pay attention to housing in general as the fees are different from DePauw’s. Sorority houses also close at different times than university housing for breaks.
Being in a sorority comes with extra responsibilities such as going to weekly chapter and other sorority events. These events can be really fun as they promote sisterhood and philanthropy, but they can add up over time. That can be overwhelming if you already have a heavy schedule. I’ve seen many girls absolutely thrive while being in a sorority and handling other responsibilities, but that doesn’t happen for everyone. Before making any big decisions, know how much you can handle and how much time you are willing to commit to a house.
- Leadership Experience and Networking
People aren’t kidding when they talk about the networking opportunities in Greek Life. You are immediately opened up to an entirely new pool of people to interact with, which can be beneficial if you plan on entering a career that relies heavily on knowing the right people. There is also so much room for growth in a sorority as far as leadership experience goes. Each house has an executive board with positions that provide leadership experience that can be applied to real careers. There are really cool positions like Public Relations, Philanthropy, Academics, Sustainability, and Recruitment, and there’s even the opportunity to create your own position.
- The Process is Flawed
When you think of the concept of a sorority, it’s easy to see how the process is based on judgment. Of course, it’s all to make sure you get to the right place, but the idea of it is still unsettling at its core. If the thought of the formal rush process makes you uncomfortable, it might be better for you to try the open bidding process or to skip out on rush altogether.
- Being a Minority
Greek life does not have a good history of being welcoming to all. Many things have improved over the years and there are women in these sororities who are working to be more inclusive. However, some things have not changed and that can be triggering for different minority groups. If you belong to any underrepresented group, I really urge you to think about these things before deciding to rush or not. Any sorority can be unwelcoming whether they intend to be or not both on a national or campus-wide level. Additionally, think about what it means to accept every single person in a sorority as a sister. Each house will have people with different and complex beliefs, some of which will directly oppose your own. If you want to join Greek Life, you should be okay with that.
At the end of the day, the decision to rush should be an individual decision. It can be tempting to rush simply because it’s such a large phenomenon at DePauw and it can feel like it’s the right thing to do. However, that decision is entirely up to you. But remember, no matter what you choose, you will have a great four years at DePauw.