What Sorority Recruitment Week Is Like When You Don’t Rush

Lying in bed our first week at Penn State, my new roommate and I giggled over our beginning freshman experiences. We talked about classes and clubs, and then she mentioned rushing in the spring. I honestly hadn’t thought about it, and immediately pushed the thought away - there wasn’t a chance I’d be rushing.

One month later, I stumbled onto a sorority’s account while scrolling through Instagram. One hour later, and I’d followed five different sororities, read through the recruitment schedule, and had my formal recruitment registration halfway filled out.

I never finished it. Rushing just wasn’t for me this semester, but for 4,000 other Penn State collegiettes, it is.

While hundreds of students were balancing college life with the strict rules and schedule of rushing this semester, I had a very different week.

 

Friday

Orientation day! On the first day of formal recruitment, rushing students were getting cute T-shirts and finding out what they were in for. Meanwhile, I stayed in with friends, nibbling on mac and cheese bites from Findlay Commons while watching the news count down to the government shutdown.

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Saturday

Walking up to East Halls that day, almost every girl I saw was wearing a version of the same thing: ripped jeans and their recruitment shirt. Tugging my sweatshirt down and adjusting my coat’s hood so it blocked the wind, I thought they all looked amazing - I remembered my half-filled application. While those rushing were visiting their future houses, two of my friends and I took a trip to see The Post, missed our show time, and decided to walk to Chick-fil-A. By the end of the day - giggling as we finally left the movie theater - I’d forgotten all about those T-shirts and open houses.

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Sunday

Despite dry period going strong for potential sorority sisters, a lot of other students were taking advantage of the three-day weekend. At a club social, I chatted with a friend who’d just finished recruitment for the day as someone scooped wine out of a blue plastic tub next to us.

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Monday & Tuesday

As first rounds started, I spent two days re-watching Breaking Bad and trying to get work done for classes as my friends and I referenced old vines and hid inside from the cold. While my Snapchat story featured a group of tired freshmen covered in bright blue and charcoal face masks, a lot of my friends were sharing pictures of them in “dressy casual” outfits (booties and flowy blouses) as they visited sororities.

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Wednesday & Thursday

While stopping by Redifer Commons to get a quesadilla, I momentarily forgot about rushing until I walked into a sea of dresses and jumpsuits. In my leggings and oversized cardigan, I felt a little under-dressed compared to everyone else waiting for food. Two girls in line next to me debated which sororities they wanted to get a bid for.

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Friday

Second rounds continued and friends were throwing around chapter names that I never could keep straight, trying to decide who would they would put in their top slot. As the last of the recruitment parties were finishing up that night, I was rubbing on some sparkling highlighter and buttoning up ripped black jeans. Half an hour later and I was riding the white loop, squeezed in between two friends, trying to get to an apartment where we spent the night playing music slightly too loud and discussing episodes of Black Mirror.

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Saturday

Over a week since formal recruitment began, Saturday’s highlights for me were sipping cups of iced coffee at brunch and dying my hair. For future sisters, though, it was another day of visiting sororities and going through the small talk one current sorority member told me was the worst part of rushing.

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Sunday

I spent the day in a friend’s dorm working on a short story before the submission deadline for it that night. Football played on the television for the whole afternoon and evening as I argued why, as a New Englander at heart, the Patriots are better. It was a completely casual and chill day for me, but one rushing friend told me this was one of the most stressful days she’d had in a while. Trying to decide between two chapters that she loved equally, my phone kept buzzing as she asked for advice I didn’t feel qualified to give as someone who’d chosen not to rush.

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Monday

Bid day. While I was finishing up classes and meeting up with other non-rushing friends for dinner, hundreds of collegiettes were opening their envelopes to find out what sorority they’d gotten into. Every social media app on my phone started dinging and vibrating with photos and messages of friends wearing their new sorority’s shirt, surrounded by smiling new sisters.

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Going through recruitment week from the outside gave me a lot of respect for those rushing. Watching friends trying to get assignments done and squeeze in time for sleep before visiting sororities every night, however, made me kind of happy I never finished filling out that formal recruitment application.