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Before the beginning of sorority rush on Saturday, the day's potential disasters outweighed the potential highlights in Leigh's mind. Worries about freezing weather and frosty conversations swept through Leigh's mind until the moment she attended her first Open House on Saturday. But she said she received a warm reception during her visits to the eight PanHellenic sorority houses and realized for the first time how much time and effort sororities put into the event. "It's been a long day," Leigh said Saturday night, "but I haven't spoken to anyone who didn't have a good time." · "I don't want to smile anymore," Leigh said Saturday night. "My face is gonna fall off." After nearly seven hours of quick entrances and exits, Leigh relaxed in a dormitory room and recounted the day's activities. By the end of the day, she said she could answer the sisters' first few questions before they asked them. "Where are you from?" "What are you taking?" "Do you like Penn?" But she added she was impressed by the effort put into rush by each house and commented that they did their best to make everyone comfortable. "They did everything they could to take the pressure off the rushees," Leigh said. Friday night, Leigh said, "We all pretty much have the same feeling. For better or for worse, we want it to be over with. But at the same time, there's nervous excitement." But Leigh, like most, has 20/20 vision in hindsight. Once the day was underway, Leigh quickly realized that "dreading" the experience was unnecessary. "It was fun. It was nice to be entertained for a day," she said. It took three hours to nine hours to decorate each house, she was told by various sisters. The decorations are "one of the things that makes you realize that this is important to them, too." Leigh described her day as "small talk, basically." "You'd be talking to a sister, who would say 'so and so, meet so and so; we were just discussing this,' and then you're talking to another sister," she said. "You start to wonder, are sorority women just outgoing or are they trained at this?" she asked. Once inside a house, Leigh said conversation can seem very natural or very forced. "When you first walk in, you realize that you're not going to have to find someone to talk to," she said. "With very few exceptions, they kept the conversation going." "Once you're in a house and talking, it was relaxed. By the last party I was laid back and chatting away." But the quick conversations had their down sides. "If something common comes up [in talking to a sister], that's great, but the most superficial thing was when there wasn't something in common," she added. "Then there are a bunch of questions they fire at you. That made me feel uncomfortable." Leigh said she found it strange that "if someone was going in [to the rush process] completely blind, having never heard anything about the houses, there's only small talk and instinct to go on." She also commented on the fact that someone in a bad mood is forced to fake it all day. But she said she felt more comfortable knowing the sisters had gone through the same process. "Everyone we talked to at rush has been through it themselves, and that makes it a little easier." · "I'm glad the day's over because I'm physically exhausted," Leigh said. "Right now I'm not really thinking about the next step." But at 7:30 last night, when the day's rush events were complete, the discussion of the activities really began. Even with the longest day of rush in the past, the process has remained nearly all-encompassing. "Everyone's discussing who they liked and why," Leigh said. "I was pleasantly surprised, I think we all were. But I don't want to do it again right away." "It's all were talking about," she added. Leigh noted that most of the rushees seemed to be keeping an open mind about the chapters. "Very few people are saying they have to be in such or such a house or they don't want to be in a house at all," she said. Late last week, Leigh met with her rho chi group, where they went over "a lot of stuff." She said the meeting was "totally laid back and relaxed." The rho chi is very helpful, Leigh said, and seems like she genuinely wants to help us. "I met a lot of great people in my rush group. I feel like I've made some good friends," she said. "I expected some feelings of competition within the rush group, but there weren't any." But before Saturday arrived, many other concerns ran through Leigh's mind. High on her list was the freezing cold. "I'm worried about the weather," she admitted late last week, "and I'm hoping that it doesn't rain or snow or anything awful like that," she admitted. And though there was no rain or snow, there was plenty of cold, with the temperature hovering around twenty degrees, even lower with the wind-chill factor. "The cold stands out in my mind," Leigh said when the day was complete. Leigh said she spent her time carefully preparing for Saturday by making sure she was well-rested and awake for Open House. None of the rushees she knew rushing drank Friday night. Just as the sorority rush manual suggested, Leigh dressed "comfortably" in slacks and a sweater -- "casual but nice," she said. She decided on what to wear after discussing the question with friends over Winter Break. "This is something that has been on people's minds for four months," she explained. Although the process has domimated Leigh's thoughts over the past few days, she said she is ready to move past the first stages of rush. First round parties will take place tonight and tomorrow, giving Leigh the opportunity to get to know each house better. She added she was pleased PanHel would require her to return to all the houses who gave her an invitation. [It] is good, as it forces you to take a second look," she said.

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