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Be careful what you rush for: being realistic in recruitment

By Greta Hallberg, Staff Writer

Freshman girls are anxiously comparing outfits and practicing hairstyles for sorority recruitment, which begins today.

I know this because four years ago, I was one of them. I, along with many of the girls on my floor, traipsed across a snowy campus in January to meet the girls that would someday become our sisters.

I fell in love with the prospect of meeting 50 girls, my soon-to-be best friends and my future bridesmaids.

During recruitment, I met countless new girls. I had conversations about anything and everything. I had a perfect rush. Though exhausting, I loved recruitment.

My friends I had met first semester were not as lucky. Girls get cut from sororities they thought they loved. I watched some of my best friends cry when they received their schedule for the day and found fewer chapters than they had expected. I saw hearts break right in front of me, not from a stupid boy, but by a group of girls they had known for 20 minutes.

Despite the obvious pain this process was causing, I was still determined to join a sorority. My first semester was, in all honesty, pretty horrible. I was hundreds of miles away from my home in Minnesota. I experienced complete culture shock when I was faced with the reality of binge drinking. At 18, I knew that being in a sorority was going to completely change my perspective. I was going to be obsessed with college.

When it came time to preference my top sorority, it was an easy choice. In fact, it's the one I'm in now. I was thrilled when I got my bid to the sorority of my dreams.

A few weeks in, I was thoroughly disappointed. I was having fun, no doubt, but I found myself overwhelmed by the amount of new people I was meeting. These girls were supposed to be my best friends and I could hardly remember their names. Notoriously shy, it was hard for me to insert myself into the friend groups that were naturally forming. And I hadn't met a single girl I knew was going to be my Maid of Honor.

Four years later, things have improved immensely. I don't have 50 best friends which, I now realize, was an unrealistic expectation. I do have a group of 50 women that I am proud to call my sisters, but I know that not every friendship will last beyond Oxford. I have a circle of girls I regularly hang out with and probably three of them will someday be in my wedding.

Needless to say, Greek life was not what I expected. Sure, I have had fun. I loved sharing 50 closets in the corridor. I learned a lot about myself and being part of a team.

But Greek life did not bring me out of my homesickness and my low mood. My job as a camp counselor, getting involved with writing on campus and my internship in DC changed my perspective on college. It was self discovery, not membership in a sorority, that lifted me out of my freshman year blues.

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Being in a sorority does not change the catty girls - they're going to exist in every facet of your life. It does not eliminate drama or erase cliques. It does not guarantee that you're going to get along with all 50 girls in your pledge class.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I rushed. I do love the friends I have made through my sorority. I will always look back fondly at college, and Greek life will be included in those memories.

But it is not the most important thing you'll do in your life, or even in this chapter of it. Greek letters emblazoned across your chest do not determine your self worth. The "tier" of the sorority you decide to pledge does not matter now, or ever. It does not reflect on who you are or the quality of your experience.

I love my sorority and the friendships I've made through it, but it's not the be all end all.