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Surviving Sorority Rush as a Sophomore

Chances are, if you go to the University of Michigan, you know someone in Greek life. Whether it be a Panhellenic sorority, an IFC fraternity, or a pre-professional fraternity, Greek life is very prominent on campus. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to be in Greek life, and when I decided to attend the University of Michigan (my mom’s alma mater where she was also involved in Greek life), I was even more excited. It seemed as the beginning of the school year drew closer, rushing was one of the only things that my friends and I talked about. We saw pictures of the older girls we knew on Facebook with their new sisters, we heard stories from our moms about their great experiences in Greek life, and we scrolled through the Tumblrs of the sororities on campus. All of this made us so incredibly excited to rush in the fall, and we spent hours planning our outfits, asking our older friends and cousins for advice, and daydreaming about where we would end up in October. So when I ended up dropping out of rush my freshman year, it only took a little convincing from my friends to try it again during my sophomore year.

Going into my second round of recruitment, I was even more nervous than I had been before my first year. I had heard horror stories about houses dropping girls just for being sophomores, and it worried me that maybe I wouldn’t find my home after all. I arrived back on campus in August feeling like a huge bundle of nerves and stressed about it way more than I probably should have. I was terrified. Making things worse, I couldn’t talk to the majority of friends that I had on campus because of the strict rush rules. All I wanted was to call my friends to catch up, to give them all the details of my summer, to just give them a hug and let them know I missed them. Thankfully, I have amazing roommates, or else I would have absolutely lost it from being so isolated in the first month of school. While I completely understand the rule of silence, it really sucked.

Getting ready for my first day of rush, I frantically texted my two best friends at Michigan State. They reassured me on my outfit, and told me (for the millionth time) that I was going to love being in a sorority. So I took a deep breath, packed my purse, and walked out of my apartment ready to make rush my b****. First rounds went without a hitch, and I was pleasantly surprised at how kind the girls I met were about my sophomore status. I felt like it let me connect on a more real level with them, because we had a year in common at the same amazing university. By the end of the second day, I was feeling pretty confident that recruitment would work out in my favor.

The rest of recruitment process was a series of ups and downs – one second I would feel confident that I would find an amazing second home on campus, and the next I would feel completely crippled with fear that the process would leave me feeling lost and worthless like the year before. It was a struggle between the highs and lows, but I tried my best to focus all of my energy on my classes and schoolwork. It was hard seeing my friends at tailgates on game days, or even when I would just see them walking across the Diag during the school day. About halfway through the process, I hit a wall and was ready to just be done. I missed my friends, and even though I absolutely love my roommates, a girl’s gotta have more than two close friends on a campus as big as this one. Luckily, I knew a few other sophomores who were rushing, and I was able to share the experience with them. As my lists got shorter and bid day drew nearer, my mixed emotions grew even stronger. I was so excited, anxious, and ready to be done with recruitment and find my new home. On pref night, I absolutely loved two houses, and I knew that I would be happy in either one. I ranked at the Union like everyone else, and eagerly awaited my bid.

On the morning of bid day, I stood in line with all the other eager girls, and watched as faces filled with literally every emotion fathomable passed me by. I saw girls who were so excited that they could barely contain themselves, and I also saw girls who were so upset that all they could do was cry. I snaked through the line and waited an absurd amount of time like everyone else, and my nerves were almost about to kill me by the time I got to the front. When I finally got to my Rho, she handed me my envelope and the pit in my stomach turned into a colossal hole. I opened my envelope with shaking hands and was flooded with overwhelming joy. I had received a bid to my top house.

Needless to say, I’m now absolutely in love with my sorority and it’s only been about three days. I have met so many amazing girls and I’m looking forward to meeting so many more. If you asked me what my advice would be to sophomores who are considering rushing, I would say to absolutely go for it. Keep an open mind, know that your opinions on houses that you thought would be a perfect fit for you might change, and know that the rush process can be scary and stressful. Know that yes, there are some houses that will probably drop you because you’re a sophomore. Know that it can be extremely intimidating to be going through a process meant for shiny, new freshmen. But also know that it can be a great process, and it can truly help you find your home, even if you are an old-as-dirt sophomore like me.

Photos courtesy of The Odessey Online and Margaret Davis

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