Sorority recruitment can be unforgiving. It demands hours of small talk, trudging through the cold, and being subject to the opinions of older peers. Each year, freshmen emerge from rush with bids from sororities, hundreds of friends stronger than they began. But it is inevitable that the process will leave many young women feeling inadequate, disappointed, and confused about their futures at Penn.
At first glance, it might not seem like Greek life is a huge part of the culture at Penn. Only 25 percent of students are involved. Still, especially as an underclassman, it can feel like sororities and fraternities dominate the social scene. It can feel like not gaining membership to a sorority or deciding to leave the process is a very big deal.
Joining a sorority can be extremely rewarding. It lends itself to extensive networking opportunities, making friends, and providing freshmen a place at Penn. But, for the women who weren’t as lucky, The Daily Pennsylvanian wants to tell you that you will be fine. A sorority is just like another club. It is certainly not the be all and end all of your Penn experience, even though it might seem that way right now.
As you watch some of your friends begin pledging, attend formals and date nights, and being paired with big sisters, you might feel excluded or upset. Penn is a challenging place to go to school, and it can be lonely. Being in a Greek organization might alleviate that a bit, but there are plenty of other groups and individuals on campus that are here to support students. Take advantage of them.
Freshman year is full of challenges: adapting to a different environment, living away from family, taking difficult classes, and making new friends. But being comfortable here often takes more time than just one semester, or just a few days of rush.
Greek life isn’t for everyone. We all must find what is right for us.
Discovering what you want to make of your time at Penn is challenging. Still, there are countless options. Start a petition about something you care about, join a club you’ve always wanted to but didn’t get around to, ask your favorite professor to get coffee.
It’s okay to be hurt if you were cut from a sorority that you wanted so desperately to join. Rejection can be painful. Take the time that is needed to process those emotions. But don’t get too hung up on them, because there are plenty of freshmen feeling exactly as you do right now. You just might not have found them yet.
This message extends beyond sorority recruitment. All of us will have to face rejection at some point during our four years here, whether that be from a summer internship, from a club, or from a class you wanted to join. Don’t let it distract you from why you’re a student at Penn. A year from now, you probably won’t give it a second thought.
Editorials represent the majority view of members of The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. Editorial Board, which meets regularly to discuss issues relevant to Penn's campus. Participants in these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on related topics.