My favorite movie is Legally Blonde for two reasons. First, because Reese Witherspoon is the most talented actress ever, in my opinion, and second, because GIRL POWER. Elle Woods, when applying to Harvard Law School, received endless support from her sorority sisters throughout the entire process. When she received her acceptance letter, all the girls were chanting and cheering with her—as if they were the ones receiving the acceptance. They were all so genuinely happy for her. Maybe that is or isn’t a very accurate representation of Greek life, but I still I remember thinking how cool it was to have that many girls supporting you every step of the way through college.
As summer came to a close and the beginning of freshman year loomed before me, I remember staying up til 3 in the morning questioning how I was going to start all over again socially. I’m the only one from my school attending the UW, and only one of the five students going to Washington for college. Growing up in the same town all my life, I’d become so comfortable with my friends and social groups that it had been a while since I’d really gone out of my way to make new friends. I knew Greek life was a completely different experience from the non-Greek-life, since pledges live in the sorority house starting freshman year. I even had the opportunity to stay over at a house when I came down for Admitted Student Preview Day, and the sisters were super welcoming and really showed me all the perks of being in a house. Even articles online talked about it could be really hard to make friends in the dorms, whereas Greek life would give you endless opportunities to meet girls and guys through various social events. I was really close to paying the deposit for Formal Fall Recruitment; the tab was open in my internet browser every night. I even had followed a bunch of houses’ Instagram accounts. It seemed perfect; I could go into freshman year knowing I wouldn’t have to try super hard to make friends right off the bat during rush week, with the help of a neverending social calendar. I’d never feel lonely being the only one from back home at this huge public school, since I’d be sleeping and eating in the same room as 40-100 girls every night.
However, I couldn’t imagine limiting myself to one lifestyle than the other. If I were to rush and be in a house starting from my freshman year, only to realize I couldn’t fulfill the commitment with Greek life, I would’ve missed out on the opportunity to meet people in the dorms. Then, I’d really have to start over socially again—and who would I even room with the following year? All of my older friends in college and my parents loved dorm life; it seemed like an essential part of college that everyone had to experience. Also, none of my close friends were a part of sororities, so they weren’t encouraging me to rush either. However, when I decided to not rush and stay in the dorms, I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to make as many friends because of the articles I read online. During move-in day and syllabus week, I literally walked into all the dorm rooms that were open, talked to random people in line for free stuff in Red Square, and made friends in the mixers and other Dawg Daze events I attended. After doing that for a week straight and continuing to say hi to everyone I remember from Dawg Daze, I’ve made a solid group of friends—some of whom I even met through the study rooms late at night. The nice thing is that I’ve been able to meet them on my own, and not through the help of constant social calendars. We’ve all gotten so close that we’re even all going to this huge rap concert together—who would’ve ever imagined? Definitely not me.
What I’ve noticed is that my closest friends that I’ve made here came from me popping into their dorm, or barging in on their movie night in the lounges and just talking to them. If I didn’t force myself to be hyper-social, I probably wouldn’t have made so many friends and connections that week. I’m not forced to see these people outside of school via social events or anything, so it really shows how much effort we put into seeing each other when we can. So, I’m glad that I didn’t rush because I learned how to put myself out there and remember that it is OKAY and actually very fulfilling to start over socially. If I rushed, I think it would’ve been easier to make friends because you’re stuck with the same girls in a group for a week and then a house for the next four years. However, I wouldn’t have had to work as hard or swallow my pride and walk into some random person’s dorm and start a conversation with them. It really brought out my extroverted side, and even gave me more confidence to reach out to others. Though I would probably have had a completely different experience if I were in a house right now, I can’t imagine not having the friends I have now through the dorms.
That being said, if you want to rush, RUSH! If you don’t want to, DON’T feel discouraged about the social scene! At the end of the day, it boils down to how much effort you want to put in to make your college experience the way you want it to be. Greek and non-Greek life will give you memories you’ll never forget, but both settings can only give you so much to work with. You have to carve your own pathway whichever track you choose. Put yourself out there and you won’t regret it, guaranteed!