2 AM Thoughts: Recruitment Woes

The clock reads 2:35 am, and yet, I am still awake. Clad in heather gray joggers and an oversized black T-shirt, with sleek brown hair piled in a bun atop my head, I am the picture of comfort. My makeup is still flawless, foundation expertly applied, and mascara curled to perfection, while my voice has been reduced to nothing but a croak, weary and worn from the strain of singing and shouting and conversing with eager young girls all day.

The evening which has brought me to such an absurd hour of morning, still functioning and dressed in a somewhat acceptable manner, is the ever popular “formal recruitment” – an arduous and painstaking process by which sororities are allowed to acquire new members. For hours on end, several days of the week, over the course of roughly three weeks, we, the established members of sororities, sing our cutesy songs, cheer, chant, smile, and make conversation with the eager potential new members who come through our doors. It is a strange process, no doubt, but there is a kind of magic (especially as a senior) in seeing these ladies sit in the very seats we once sat in.

Some are deftly prepared for the process. They ask the right questions, assemble a chic and subdued outfit, compliment you on your hair, ask you what your major is. They are thrilled to experience all there is to do and see at the fabled University of Michigan. Some are legacies, well-versed in the tradition and honor of attending this university. Others are unaware of the excellence of their predecessors, the importance of our institution, the affect that our research, athletics, business, and culture have on the world around us.

But all, veterans of Ann Arbor or not, are seeking the very same respite in their endeavor to go Greek. Ultimately, each young lady who styles her hair, applies that extra lip gloss, braces herself for some serious girl-dating, and takes the deliciously terrifying next plunge into the kaleidoscope of singing girls at Sigma Beta Kappa whatever is asking herself the very same question: who am I going to be?

Who am I going to be? And what people will help make me that person? It’s a question that everyone encounters at some point in their life, but the onset of college – a tsunami of change and upheaval, a coming of age, a time of accepting responsibility – sparks that existential conversation in ways that are glaring and poignant, a deep yearning for self-knowledge that demands to be felt.

Looking around the room, I see over one hundred beautiful, young women. They hail from all over the country, anywhere from New Jersey to Georgia, to California, to Michigan. They are passionate about all different topics, everything and anything from engineering to Italian to political science. And above all, they have each taught me a valuable and unique way to enjoy life.

Looking at these women, the multiplicity of amazing humans who have shaped me into the person I am at this very moment in time, I understand why there are so many potential new members, why they are all trying to answer these pressing life questions, and why the entire fucking world is trying to answer these questions right alongside them. It is simply because we don’t know.

We don’t know who we are. We don’t know who we want to be, and frankly we don’t know exactly who can help make us into that person. And that is okay. In fact, it’s more than okay – it’s terribly, ridiculously and hilariously normal.

Because people are not perfect, and they were never meant to be that way. People are meant to be themselves. Because people are meant to be a work in progress and a masterpiece all at once. And we are meant to love them for it. That is how we learn from each other – we listen, we love and we learn.

So weary as I may be, sitting here in my heather gray joggers, oversize black T-shirt, with a bundle of brown hair piled atop my head, I am content. Content to know that I am unsure of who I am, truly, even at nearly 22 years old, and even more content that today, in the chaotic, overtired, and sometimes resentful room of women cooperating to finish sorority rush, I have found myself among people worth learning from, people who are both masterpieces and works-in-progress – people who are changing every single second of every single day – people worth loving.

Photos courtesy of Britt Boyle