Let’s start at the beginning. When I decided to go to a school where Greek life is big, I promised myself I would never be a sorority girl. I totally respected and understood why some girls chose to, but I thought that path just wasn’t for me. Sure, both my mother and paternal grandmother were in a sorority, but I figured I just wasn’t cut out for it. Then came freshman orientation. I was overwhelmed with the amount of people and how I didn’t connect with anyone. At the time, I genuinely thought I was going to make friends at orientation. That turned out not to be true (for most everyone!). It was then that I decided I was going to go through sorority recruitment. Recruitment would be a great way to make friends. I realized that although there are so many opportunities on campus, Greek life is just one of them and if I chose not to be open-minded, I could be missing out on a ton of cool opportunities. I also really connect with a lot of girls that were/are going through recruitment. So I figured I’d give it a shot.
For all you non-Greeks out there, recruitment refers to the mutual selection process of inviting new members to join your chapter. It was nothing like I expected. We spent our first night standing out in the pouring (and I mean POURING) rain, stressing about our hair getting messed up and waiting for each chapter to open their door to let us in. The whole process was incredibly formal and it would take me forever to find the words to describe it. It truly is something you need to experience yourself. Although I sometimes felt uncomfortable with the formality of it all, I decided to push through the superficial conversations and weird traditions because there were a few chapters I felt really comfortable at. I loved the girls and could totally see myself spending the next four years with them.
And then I got dropped from those chapters. Because it is a mutual selection process, you and the chapter have to “preference” each other in order for you to visit them again the next round, and it seemed as though they didn’t preference me. Again, I promised myself that I would never set my heart on one chapter in particular, but as we learned before, I’m not really great at keeping promises I make to myself. I was devastated. I didn’t understand how I could feel such a genuine connection with these girls only for it not to be mutual. Hadn’t they felt it too? I called my mom in tears and eventually decided to continue. I had made it this far, why not keep going? I didn’t feel like I needed to join a chapter if I didn’t feel inclined to. I would just go, have an open mind, and see the ones that did want me back.
I liked a few of the chapters that day, but none really stood out to me. I began to feel discouraged and like I didn’t really belong. As I was walking to my last chapter of the day, something occurred to me. I didn’t have to make myself like any of these chapters. I didn’t even have to keep going if I didn’t want to. I texted my mom to make sure I wasn’t being ridiculous and decided to drop out of recruitment right then and there. I just didn’t feel a genuine connection with any of them… and some people just don’t.
I know that they say you find the right chapter for you, but what if none of the chapters are right for you? What if Greek life in general isn’t right for you? That’s what I had to admit to myself when I was walking to that final house that day. I may have not given the house the third chance they wanted, but I feel like I made a decision that was right for me. And it was really, really hard. I had to admit that I’m not cut out for something that thousands of other girls are. I had to admit that although it would be tough, swimming upstream and not following the pack will be the best choice for me.
Needless to say, I have so much respect for girls that do participate in Greek life. I think it’s an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As I post this, it’s bid day here at Iowa, so shoutout to all the girls finding their home away from home for the next four years and the friends they will never forget. I will be cheering you on from the sidelines.