Jen Shulkin | Searching for sisterhood
Guest Column | Tips on how you can find your best fit from someone who’s been through it
January 9, 2013, 1:38 am·
Are you nervous for rush?
You shouldn’t be.
Sorry for lying. Rush can be a very nerve-racking and intimidating process no matter what type of woman you are. Some fly through rush more elegantly than others. I was not one of those women.
However, now as a sophomore in a sorority, I feel that I would be able to rush much more painlessly if I were to go through the process again. Here are some things I learned that I hope you can benefit from:
Commit to your decision. Plenty of women are unsure whether or not they want to rush at all. Make this decision prior to rush. You will be a lot more successful in convincing sorority women that you will be a good member if you demonstrate a strong desire to be Greek.
Even if you have doubts that sororities are the right place for you, push these thoughts to the back of your mind during rush and commit whole-heartedly to the process.
Be open-minded. The few sorority women I had spoken to prior to rush told me the same thing: “All of the sororities are really great.” That is not what I wanted to hear, though. I wanted to know each sorority’s distinguishing features and what made each one different.
I turned to a couple of fraternity brothers, who advised me to choose between two or three specific sororities — none of which ended up being the sorority I wanted in the end.
My advice to you is, as difficult as it is to keep an open mind about all of the sororities, please do, because what you have heard from your older friends may be completely skewed. You will almost certainly be very happy in whatever sorority you receive a bid from, even if you did not think it would initially be right for you.
Dress to impress. Last year, I remember thinking that I was spending more time getting ready for rush than I had getting ready for prom. However, it is important, so work together with your hallmates to pick out outfits in advance.
The sorority women rushing you spend a lot of time dressing well to impress you, and you should reciprocate. It is critical to come off as dignified, well put-together and sophisticated. Your appearance is a significant part of your first impression and in half-hour rush rounds your first impression holds a lot of weight.
Be polite. Perhaps this seems obvious to you, but I assure you many rushes behave poorly and are rude — or boring — at sororities they think are not for them. The reality, though, is that you may end up wanting to be part of a sorority you had never considered initially. Play it safe and do your best at every sorority house. Keep your options open with a good attitude.
Be Engaging. You want your rush conversations to be interesting. No sorority sister is going to invite back a rush who cannot hold an exciting conversation. However, be careful with controversial subjects such as alcohol, drugs and men — sororities aren’t looking for out-of-control or scandalous women. Be interesting but refined.
And while cliched, be yourself. You can be anyone who you want in rush — these sorority sisters probably do not know who you are. However, it is hard to keep up an act for an entire week, and it does get exhausting. Rush is easiest and least painful if you truly are yourself.
My final advice to you is to be strong. I remember standing outside a sorority house in a single-file line in the rain and freezing cold waiting to start another round. A Philadelphia tour bus passed the house and I heard the tour guide laugh, “To your right, we have a group of college girls rushing sororities. Gosh, they must be crazy to torture themselves like this.”
Forget about the misery. Forget that your friends who are not rushing are sitting inside, warm and not in high heels. Forget about the boys who are having the time of their lives during fraternity rush. If you want to be a sorority sister, this is what you have to do.
And you will be glad you did.
Jen Shulkin is a College sophomore. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.