Coming back to campus as a sophomore, I felt like a superstar. I wasn’t a nervous freshman searching for friends or aimlessly wandering around campus looking for classes; I was ~experienced~. I finally knew what to wear to game days (aka not the heinous season t-shirt they give you for free at the M Den that every freshman immediately assumes is what he/she should wear to the tailgate), understood how to schedule my classes, and most importantly did NOT have to fight my way into the foreign world of Greek Life. I took solace in the fact that I no longer had to spend all summer devising cute outfits and stressing about what fun facts I should bring up in conversation during rush to impress 15 different sororities: I was on the other side now. Now, I was in power and finally had the easy job. Well, so I thought. While there is a certain comfort in knowing you won’t be cut in sorority rush, rushing people yourself is actually not a very simple task.If you’re wondering what sorority rush is really like from the other side, here are 5 pros and cons to rushing people:
- You know all the secrets
As a PNM, rush seems so innocent. You walk into a house, and talk to some girls who weirdly have a lot in common with you. While I can’t give too much away for fear of leaking the precious Greek inner sanctum, a lot of the coincidences that happen during rush are not coincidences at all. Everything is planned down to where you sit on the floor in the house when talking with a girl. When I was finally told all of these “secrets” behind rush, I finally felt that I was a part of the inner circle.
- You better understand the community you are a part of
Because we now implement a “value based recruitment” at Michigan, PNM’s are asked to think about their values before rushing sororities. In turn, my sorority reflected a lot about what our values are and how to look for these values in girls that we rush. Through thinking about what actually matters to my organization, I better understood my sisters and Greek community.
- You worry less about “girly” issues
As a PNM, there are many stereotypical “girly” issues to worry about. What do I wear?! How am I supposed to jog from house to house in heels and not be drenched in sweat by the time I arrive at each house? Recruitment outfits for sorority sisters are planned very far in advance and are the same for everyone. It’s almost like having a school uniform: you don’t have to think about what you’re wearing at all! And because you only move around the interior of your own house, there is no need to worry about making long walks/jogs from house to house or sweating much (unless your house doesn’t have air conditioning, then you still may have that issue.)
- You become very good at small talk
Being able to come up with topics of conversation rapidly on the spot is actually a very useful skill. In the real world, it is important to be able to generate conversation comfortably with those who you do not know, especially in a professional setting. During rush, while some conversations are quite surface level and stereotypical, one does learn how to generate a sustainable conversation. You become a master at asking the right questions and responding in interesting ways that will make a PNM want to return to your house. These skills, while they may seem inconsequential in the moment, may actually help you in the long run.
- You bond with your sisters
You’re tired, the dinner is mediocre, your voice is gone, and all you want to do is go to bed after a long day of rush. However, you have 100+ other girls who are in the same boat. Through being forced to be in the same house for multiple hours, rush can be a very good opportunity to become closer with girls you don’t see very often in your sorority and to further bond with your friends.
- You have to impress PNMs
While I thought that I finally was done trying to “girl flirt” and that PNMs were trying to win me over, I was wrong. It is actually very nerve-wracking knowing that you could be the reason a girl drops your house or keeps it on her list. Your conversation matters: each girl only talks to about three sisters, and those conversations are her only impression of the house. So if you don’t impress her, you may lose her. It is a lot more pressure than I was ready for to impress freshmen girls.
- It is exhausting
Honestly, I would argue that rush is ten times more exhausting than a five mile run. Here is why: not only do you talk to people all day which is tiring in itself, but you CHANT before every party. Yup, chant. We also sing and clap. We also don’t get fed very well, as providing food for 100+ girls that are expected to eat in a 45 minute dinner break is not the most luxurious task.It is often something easy to order and somewhat repulsive, like Jimmy Johns or caesar salad with pre-made chicken. Yum. By the end of a set, you honestly feel like you have caught a bad case of strep and try your hardest not to faint (trust me, it almost happened to me).
- You can still get rejected
I thought I was finally safe from the depressing sense of rejection that a PNM feels when a house she likes drops her. Nope. You can still experience this feeling on the other side when a girl you really liked drops your house and does not return for another set. You still feel as if girls have made personal judgments about you and decided they do not like you enough to become a part of your chapter. Ouch.
- You can still feel easily inferior to others
While Greek Life is a very inclusive community, during rush it is only natural for houses to compare themselves against each other in terms of how effective their rushes are in attaining good girls. While I thought I would never have to feel as inferior as I did to the beautiful girls in my rush line as a PNM, I now feel inferior to prettier girls in higher tier sororities that are able to get the girls that I wanted in my house.
- Everything is the same
Although rush is exhausting for girls on both sides, PNMs arguably have a more interesting experience because they go to different houses for each party and talk to different types of girls. When you are a sister, you do the same routine over and over and over again. You sing the same songs, sit in the same place, and more or less ask the same questions. The excitement of meeting new girls naturally dwindles as you perform practically identical actions up to 10 times in a row.
While there are both pros and cons to rushing PNMs as a sorority sister, there is no better feeling than showing up to bid day and admiring the new pledge class of girls that you helped to recruit; knowing that the hard work and effort that you put in resulted in an amazing group of 50+ new girls is reason enough to go through the process of rushing girls.
Images courtesy of: Emily Munch