Duke really is brutal on first-years. Right after half a month of a cozy, fun-filled winter break, we return to possibly the most socially stressful event of our lives: rush. Fraternity, sorority, or Selective Living Group (SLG): they are all complicit in making the first weeks back a time of fatigue and paranoia. So how do we begin to combat this? How do we get past this constant comparison of ourselves to our peers and close friends, even?
I think the first step is recognizing just how subjective the entire process is. While none of us (except the rush chairs, of course) know exactly how the rush process works and what conversations go on behind the scenes, what is known is that no one can get to know you in less than a month of brief discussion and waving at each other across hallways and campus.
Secondly, realizing that being rejected from your first or second choice is not the worst thing in the world. For fraternities and sororities, you your third or fourth choices might end up being the house that you really vibe with. For SLGs, it also does not mean you no longer have a housing community next year. Independent housing and Living Learning Communities (LLC) are still great ways to surround yourself with like-minded individuals.
Thirdly, if you do receive a bid, do not forget your current friends for new ones. They were the ones supporting you through rushing and going to events with you. Losing sight of that is dangerous. Though it may be cliched, that warning of not burning bridges still holds true.
Lastly, just have fun with it. You only get to do this once (and maybe twice), so take it at surface level and remember: you are more than your rush story.