This article goes out to anyone who is considering rushing this upcoming school year. Here is an article I wrote last year about what I learned from rushing―and what I learned from quitting.
"I think you should consider joining a sorority, Caroline," my mom said as we were shopping for dorm supplies at Bed Bath & Beyond. "From what I've experienced, Greek Life runs the social scene at schools in the SEC".
Up until that point, I never really considered joining a sorority in college. My mom was never in one, and although I had a few older friends who participated in Greek Life in college, I never felt pressured into joining one.
However, coming to Mizzou from the east coast, I had limited knowledge of the social scenes at midwestern schools. Although my mom may have been stereotyping, I knew that there was a strong Greek community at the University of Missouri―one I didn't know much about. So naturally, I turned to Youtube.
Upon typing in "Mizzou sororities" into the search bar, I was bombarded with a flurry of colorful thumbnails of drone footage of Mizzou's iconic columns and pretty girls flashing their "signs" into the air while doing fun activities, like hiking or chilling at the beach. I felt uneasy as I clicked from video to video, watching girls blow glitter into the camera to Flume songs in matching outfits. All I could think to myself was, "Could I really fit in with these girls?"
Hesitantly, I signed up for recruitment last-second, and scrambled to get letters of recommendation from all of the Greek women I knew. Although I didn't obtain half as many letters as some of my friends did going into the system, I assumed it would suffice.
However, recruitment did not go as well as I thought it would. Every house I thought I had an authentic connection with eventually dropped me by the end of the week, and I was left with two houses that don't get me wrong―had great girls in them―but houses I just couldn't see myself in.
I've always trusted my intuition, and I knew by the day before bid day, it was time for me to withdraw from the system. Little did I know, however, that quitting Greek Life was one of the best decisions I would make in college.
That night, I went back to my single room, and called my friends and family to tell them the news. Out of pure exhaustion from running to and from 12+ houses all week, and frustration for what seemed like a wasted week, I decided to distract myself by tidying up my room and taking out the trash.
And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, my trash bags broke on my walk towards the elevator. On the verge of a breakdown, I released an audible sigh, and before I could even fully exhale, a group of students rushed towards me.
While they helped me pick up my mess, they enthusiastically shook my hand and introduced one another to me. "So this is what I was missing out on," I thought to myself; I was too preoccupied with recruitment that week to actually meet the people living on my floor.
Later that night, I was invited to see a movie with them. We piled in several cars, and I got to know more about the interesting, hardworking and diverse students on my floor. Living on an honors floor, I expected the students on my floor to be serious and competitive―and although yes, we are all nerds in our own way, I soon got to know the unique backgrounds of these students. I was shocked that students all the way from Nigeria to rural parts of Missouri could get along so authentically.
Not even a week later, I was studying, partying and attending football games with the same group of people. Between the girls on my floor, we share our clothes, look out for each other, and even spontaneously get piercing and tattoos together; we're essentially sisters.
I've also become friends with many of the guys, who are practically my brothers after just a month of knowing one another. I've learned how to play Grand Theft Auto (yes I still suck), attempted to "improve" my rapping skills (notice the quotation marks) and become more knowledgeable about football...even if our team isn't the greatest in the SEC.
As an only child, I've always felt like I've missed out by not having a sibling. In fact, that's the main reason I wanted to join a sorority; to find a home away from home, and become "sisters" with girls that shared similar interests as me.
Although there were a lot of interesting girls I met during recruitment, the bonds between the girls (and guys) on my floor are already unbreakable. Now, when I get home after a long day of classes, I have a room full of smiling faces that greet me. I have people that ask me how my day went―something I never really had growing up as an only child, with parents who were constantly working.
Between the "American Horror Story" premiers to the late-night Walmart runs to the sleepless nights, I am thankful to say I now have at least a dozen new "siblings."
And the best part? I live right next door to them.