I am a sorority-rushing dropout. It's not something that I'm ashamed of, nor proud of. It's just a fact. In the spring of my freshman year of college, I thought I'd give Greek life a go, and I quickly learned that it was not the right choice for me — and rushing a sorority may not be the right choice for you either.
There are only a handful of sororities at my school, so Greek life doesn't have a huge presence on campus, but as I was eager to find some sort of community in my university, I thought that a sorority might be the best answer.
While many of my friends in high school set off for college knowing that they wanted to rush specific sororities from the get-go, I never imagined myself being a part of Greek life. I couldn't see myself wearing Greek letters and going to Panhellenic events. I was going to attend a women's college, so wasn't that enough of a sisterhood already? But I'm always up for trying new things, and my first year in college left me wanting something more. I signed up to rush, not knowing what I was getting myself into, really, but hoping for the best.
Rushing at my school was a walk in the park compared to larger, more Greek-focused schools, but the process left me unsatisfied, and I dropped out halfway through. Hazing was never an issue, but I felt like I wasn't connecting to any of the girls I spoke to in the limited amount of time we were given to talk. I was shocked, thanks to my own ignorance about how Greek life actually works, that dues and fees were so expensive, and I was also disappointed when I left each "party" feeling more like I was leaving a job interview and less like I was on the path to making new friends. This wasn't how I wanted my college years to be. I signed a release form and walked out of rush feeling like I made a pretty good decision.
A year and a half later, I'm glad that I quit the process, and can't imagine my college experience any other way. My desire to be more involved on campus eventually led me to try student theater, where I found an engaging and supportive community that I would not have sought out had I joined a sorority. Don't get me wrong — joining a sorority can be a wonderful thing. It's a great way to meet friends, form networks, and contribute to your community. But while I have friends who love their sororities and Greek life as a whole, I've learned that rushing isn't always the right choice for everyone. If you're on the fence about rushing, here are 10 important things to keep in mind.
1. DUES ARE EXPENSIVE
Let's start with a fact: being in a sorority is expensive. Semesterly dues for being a sister run around the thousands, so if you're not going to shell out the dough, think twice about starting the process. Some sororities have scholarships for girls who struggle financially to pay their way, but it's important to realize that Greek life as a whole is not the most universally accessible social group to join. While a lot of that money usually goes toward philanthropy and National dues, those Greek letters still come with a hefty price tag, and your parents may not be too pleased if they receive the bill.
2. HIDDEN FEES ABOUND
Giving and receiving presents to and from your big and little sounds like a great time — but it's not the kindest thing for your wallet. Dues aside, involvement in Greek life will cost you, whether you're buying craft supplies for a sister project, T-shirts for a philanthropy event, or another dress for another formal.
3. RUSHING IS TIME CONSUMING
Parties, events, discussions, panels — rushing is incredibly time demanding. If your school only has a handful of sororities, the process will take about a week, but at big, Greek-centric schools, the ordeal can go on for multiple weekends. What's more, the process is draining: you've got to be on your A-game the whole time you're meeting new girls and learning new things. So unless you have the time and energy to spare, rushing may be too much to handle, especially on top of all your other school obligations.
4. IT CAN DISCOURAGE YOU FROM PARTICIPATING IN OTHER CLUBS
If you're in a sorority, chances are your calendar is pleasantly filled with mixers, events, meetings, and more, so joining other clubs may seem unnecessary, or overwhelming. While it is totally possible to be in a sorority and to be a member of other student groups, Greek life can also give you an excuse to not branch out, causing you to miss out on other opportunities to try new things and meet new people.
5. YOUR SOCIAL CIRCLE CAN FEEL LIMITED
True, joining a sorority helps you make a ton of new friends. But when you dedicate all your time to Greek life hanging out with the same people, you miss out on a whole other world of social possibilities, so much so that you may realize your only friends are the ones in your sorority. There isn't anything necessarily wrong with that (and it happens with other campus organizations too), but you don't want to constrict your major social circle to one group of people.
6. IT MAY JUST NOT BE THE RIGHT FIT
Depending on how big Greek life is at your school, you may have a hard time finding the right sorority for you. If you feel like you're forcing friendships and struggling through small talk, any specific sorority may not be the best choice. And if all of them feel like a struggle? Greek life is not for you.
7. PEOPLE MAY STEREOTYPE YOU
Sororities can be great organizations, with their focus on female friendship and philanthropy. However. That doesn't mean that stereotypes don't exist. We know that women involved in Greek life as a whole are smart and capable people who defy the stereotype (hello, Elle Woods), but that doesn't mean that everyone realizes this. There will be people who take your involvement in Greek life at face value, and although it's incredibly unfair for people to make assumptions, they will still do it. This can be an unpleasant reality check for someone new to rushing.
8. THE PROCESS CAN FEEL INCREDIBLY JUDGMENTAL
Through the rushing process, you meet dozens, if not hundreds of girls whose job it is to determine if you are right for their sorority. While this ordeal is usually described as a process of "mutual selection," there is the chance that you will be rejected from a group of college women who you thought you really clicked with, which serves as a reminder that rushing "parties" are more like job interviews than social events — which may not be your preferred way to make friends.
9. YOU'RE IN IT FOR THE WRONG REASONS
If you are only considering Greek life because you don't know how else to augment your social life or how to score killer connections, it might not be the best decision for you. Sororities are not all about parties — they are organizations of passionate, smart women who encourage sisterhood, leadership, and philanthropy. You can find parties and internships without the help of a sorority.
10. HAZING STILL HAPPENS SOMETIMES
Not all sororities haze, and many have even released anti-hazing statements, but at some schools, in some chapters, hazing is still a part of the rushing and pledging process. While most of the time hazing stories are benign (if not a little strange), there are some violent ones out there as well. If you're still considering rushing, try to find out whether hazing is a part of Greek life at your school. If it is, think hard about whether the pros outweigh the cons. In the end, it is your choice, for better or worse.