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Friday, August 18, 2017

To the Girl Who Didn't Get In: The University of Texast at Austin Sorority Recruitment

You're headed off to college. You are so excited. You have decided to rush. And you do it. You really go through it. You've paid the fee, gotten your t-shirts, purchased your specific outfits for the different rounds. You're ready. So you show up. You give it your all. But something happens. You don't get in. Or you are forced to drop. And that is soul. crushing. It happened to me. I was so excited to rush. I wanted to meet the sisters I would have for the rest of my life. I'm an only child and I was bouncing off of the walls with excitement of a future where I would have girlfriends to go with to anything. I realize that a lot of what I thought sororities were came from TV shows or movies and let's face it, these are not realistic. But I did do my research, I watched the videos, read their websites, checked out their social media and even looked into their GPA standings. I was prepared. Until I wasn't. 

Every school's rush process is different. And every sorority is different. I am very aware that what happened to me at Texas might not have happened somewhere else. But it did happen, and it has probably happened to other girls, that is why I am finally writing this. If I'm being honest, I didn't think I ever would because it still feels like a sore subject in my brain. A time that I, basically, failed. At Texas, there are 14 sororities, and they take about 70 girls in each pledge class. But way more than that rush, so there is a steady drop-rate, I was part of that. The whole process is fairly normal. You are supposed to get letters of recommendation from various friends or relatives who were in that specific sorority and have them send it to the house. I love a good letter of rec; but none of my family were Greek. Neither were my parent's friends. And I'm an only child of only children, plus my mom was adopted. So those 14 letters of rec were from very distant people. And that is what happens a lot of the time. You might know a solid 7 people who know you really well and can attest to who you are as a person, but the other 7 are random friends of friends of sisters of friends. But it is a system they rely on, so you play the game and get all 14.

Then you go to every house on the first two days and meet a random member of that sorority for approximately 20 minutes. You have 20 minutes to make an impression that you should be their sister. No pressure, right? The first house was when I learned about door chants, which is kind of terrifying, but cool to the newbie. You line up in alphabetical order, and they open the doors and scream at you these rhymes that involve their sorority's name {I'm a --, She's a --, So be a -- too!}. Then you walk through the double doors and receive a partner, someone who will talk to you. Some of the houses have you change girls part of the way through, other's don't. Some are really friendly and you have good conversations with. Others are really rude, like seriously, one house the girl only talked to her fellow sister, not me at all {and that was one I had 3 letters for...I was so confused}. After those two days you go to a room and "pref" your favorites, and say those that you don't want to visit again. After the first round, you are supposed to have 7-10 left {or however many your school has}. This is when I was crushed.

I was asked back to 2 out of 14, other girls got back more than 10, and I could only get invited back to 2. Every girl had said before we started the process, to trust the system, it works, you'll find your home. Well if the system works, why didn't I get the normal 7-10 like all of the other girls? The two I were asked back to, were not my favorites. One, unfortunately, doesn't have a house and I grew up wanting to have the big house where I would live with my sisters. I also just didn't like the vibe at that sorority. The other one was predominately a specific religion, so much so that it is known they don't take you if you aren't that.

So I cried. I cried so hard. My parents had to leave me after that traumatic experience, and they were afraid to go. They thought I would want to transfer schools because of this terrible time. If you are in a sorority and reading this, you might not understand how soul crushing it is to feel like no one wants you, based on 20 minute conversations and a random letter of recommendation from someone you might not even know. But I prevailed, I went to the two houses in the second round. And then the one that is a specific religion dropped me. I knew it was over. Because I didn't go all the way to bid day, I wasn't even included in the statistic that the sororities sprout about people finding their "home." There is a large group of people who drop before bid day and are forgotten at Texas, it is a systematic problem.

But that is for another day. Mainly, I am writing this post for the girl who goes through rush and it doesn't work out, whether that be your choice or not. It isn't your fault. You didn't say the wrong things. You didn't wear the wrong dress, or color, or shoes. As long as you were yourself, you did absolutely nothing wrong. Because, who wants a group of "sisters" based on superficial stuff like that? I am not saying sororities are superficial, a ton of my really good friends are in them and they are the sweetest people. But I think the rush process can be a wicked mistress. If you aren't from the right zip code or if you aren't wearing Adidas Superstars, you are looked upon differently. But if that happens to you, if you don't get into a sorority, your life isn't over. I know what it feels like, you just want to cry because a large group of your peers basically said you weren't good enough for them and as dramatic as it sounds, it's okay to be incredibly sad about it. However, realize now, your life will go on. You will meet amazing people who aren't Greek, or they might be and that is fine too. You can let the houses kick you down for a few days but pick yourself up and go back out there.

Because of my difficulties with sororities, my self-esteem was not good until three months into college, and I have pretty high self-esteem. I'm not usually one to let stuff get me down, but seeing all of these girls wearing their t-shirts with their letters and posting amazing photos of their bid day experiences, was really hard for me. It still is. I try to avoid certain streets at the beginning of the school year because I know rush is happening. It still cuts deep that something I wanted to be a part of, will never be a part of me. But I got back out there, I started my own organization, something I am incredibly proud of, and I got my mojo back.

Being in a sorority can define you, but not being in a sorority does. not. define. you. No matter what, you are an amazing person who deserves everything for the world {regardless of your tennis skirt size or the shade of khaki of your shorts}. If you go through the rush process and find your home, congratulations, seriously, I am incredibly happy for you. I think anyone who thinks they want to rush should. You do not want to regret not doing it later in life, so pay the fee and go do it. But if it doesn't go well, if it doesn't end the way you planned, that is fine. And ultimately, they say the system helps you find your home...well maybe your home wasn't in a sorority at all, how funny is that? But mainly, remember, no matter what happens...

You will be fine. 

I did not write this post to be negative about Greek life, the sororities at Texas, or anything like that. But I do think that people shouldn't go into anything blind. And people deserve to know that the groups they associate with are not the end all be all of their lives. I hope this helps girls who didn't get into their dream sorority or any sorority whatsoever at whatever school they attend. They deserve to be spoken for like the countless posts about how great the rush process is.

Two TikToks about Sorority Recruitment at The University of Texas at Austin

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