What I Learned From My Rush Experience

All of my life, I have always valued the size of my small town and the people within it. Today, I still do, but in a vastly different way. I have learned to not appreciate the fact that my hometown is so small that it feels like everyone knows everything about me. I have learned that I need my space, but interestingly, no matter where I am, I need space from that respective environment.

 

I am currently enjoying a break at home, away from the busyness of Ann Arbor and student life. I have realized that I know myself well enough to know that I needed a break. I was not homesick, I was not anything, really, but it felt like Ann Arbor was becoming a bubble that was slowly beginning to close around me, and I could not breathe.

 

To continue, I do not handle stress well, as I am very prone to anxiety and anxious tendencies, and a major factor contributing to this was the fact that I decided to rush this fall as a sophomore, and being vastly more involved on campus than I was as a freshman. Looking back, I do not have a solidified answer as to why I did not rush as a freshman, but it was probably tied back to my small town, and the fact that greek life was not talked about. It is only the commencement of which I am beginning to comprehend the fact that my town did not prepare me for college at all, but nonetheless, I have figured out an infinite amount of information of my own, and there really is no better teacher than yourself.

 

About two weeks ago, I was anxious, nervous, and sweating as I was walking to my first sorority house for the first day of rush. Standing in a line based on last name, I had no idea what to expect, no idea what to think. I am pretty sure my mind was blank as I told myself to put on a smile no matter what and to look composed and to not portray what I was feeling inside. Suddenly, the doors flipped open, and hundreds of girls start chanting, and I got filed into a house, and in a whirlwind of 25 minutes, talked between 2-6 girls. This process continued for 8 more hours, and as the hours continued, the more I realized what an interesting process this was, how weird it was that they knew exactly who I was even though I had to repeat my name to countless girls over and over throughout the week. As time went on, it was unsettling to see how easily this process could affect someone and their character. In relation to this, I have always been confident in my ability to not let others’ opinions to not affect me, but as I got dropped from more and more houses, I found myself asking questions such as, “Why did they not like me? Was it how I looked, what I wore, or what I said?” Superficial thoughts such as these flooded my mind for weeks, and maybe that is why it felt like the walls of Ann Arbor were closing in on me.

 

I became a shell of myself, somewhat mute to my friends during rush, except for the fact that the girls that were rushing me would never be able to tell that. I realized that I did not want to tell my friends what was going on during this infinite week of rush because I did not want to jeopardize things, but looking back, I did not want to express these insecurities to those closest to me. I suppose you could say that under much more makeup than I typically wear on a daily basis, the high heels, and the expensive clothes, I was covering myself up.

 

Regardless, I went through the rush process, and it did work out, despite how artificial I felt at times. I am currently in a house I love, but I cannot lie and say that I do not think the whole process seemed trivial and tolling on my mind and the way I view myself.  And this is a shame because it was not just me that was having thoughts of self-doubt and questioning. But, despite the many breakdowns and worries, I had to recognize the fact that I wanted to do this process for myself. Coming from a small town, I never had the space to do something for me, without anyone questioning me about my choices and abilities. I did this one thing for myself, and I understand now that rush was an arduous process, but it does not define who I am or what my values are. But most importantly, something such as this made me realize that I am more than my anxiety, a number, a name, or what I wear and look like. If anything, rush taught me that anxiety is extremely common, and to never shove my worries and fears away. It taught me to be unapologetically myself and that the right people for me will gravitate towards me, just as I found to be true within the house I am in now.