All undergraduate students will without-a-doubt admit that Spring Semester screams many different things – the most epic vacation for Spring Break, anxiously fretting over not having enough time to build the perfect summer bod, the depressing feeling of another year coming to a tragic end, bi-polar Atlanta weather fluctuations in February, and lastly, formal recruitment for Greek life. I rushed all eight sororities at Emory this spring, and being an international student–I feel like I can offer really interesting insight into what rush week feels like to an international and a sophomore, in particular.
Emory, being a relatively small-to-mid sized university, houses only eight sororities on campus – Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Sigma Delta Tau, Pi Beta Phi, and Delta Phi Epsilon. Formal Recruitment is a six-day process and can drain you completely. However, despite all of its arduous logistics, you generally come through with a much clearer idea of what you want from not just Greek Life, but college in general.
Recruitment basically comprises four days of endless talking – for as much as eight hours a stretch. Every day, the number of sororities you visit reduces by two. You’d think the process gets easier with time, but it’s the exact opposite because each round means you spend more time at the same sororities. So, in the first round, if you spend 10 minutes talking to the girls at one sorority, in the final round, you spend an hour. It’s a good thing the sisters go around distributing water at regular intervals because you don’t realize how much you’re going to need it.
The most important thing that I took from this entire process was how much you learn about your people skills, and if you believe you don’t have any, recruitment really helps you build some. The rounds are mainly all about how well you can keep the conversation running, and how well you can connect with the sororities’ values and philanthropy activities.
Every subsequent day, there is a Panhellenic App on your phone that matches you with the sororities you like and those that would like to call you back. It’s a possibility that the sororities you thought were your top choices do not call you back for the next round, but one of the most valuable things I realized that you have to keep an open mind throughout recruitment because you never know where you might end up and who you might like at the end of the entire process.
There are, however, pros and cons of rushing as a freshman and as a sophomore. If you rush as a freshman, you have the advantage of having four full years with your sisters to develop deep, life-long bonds with them. But if you rush as a sophomore, which is what I did, you get to enter the formal recruitment process as a more composed student and individual, as somebody who has already established her place in college but is looking to broaden her social circle, meet new people, and build stronger friendships. The main reason I couldn’t rush as a freshman was because I was so lost trying to find my way around campus, academics, and shifting friend circles. I love the sorority that gave me a bid, but the only drawback I felt was choosing between living at the lodge (which meant a third year on campus and sharing a room with somebody) and living in a more spacious apartment with your own room and washroom. It really is hard, because living at the sorority lodge is just as fun as it sounds – you are always with your sisters, planning fun, impromptu movie nights, baking sessions, drives into the city, and a million other things.
Greek Life is a very personal choice, and the only advice I’d give to all the incoming freshmen or those considering rushing is that there is no harm in trying. You possess the freedom to drop out at any moment and so I feel like giving it a shot should hurt nobody. I highly recommend you to go for it, and be yourself during all interactions because pretending to be somebody you’re not is most probably going to land you in an environment where you don’t fit in. Be you and own it.