Since writing last, I’ve arrived back on campus and have had a multitude of new and crazy experiences. I went through Panhellenic formal recruitment and started classes again, all while extracurriculars are starting back up. To say the least, I’ve been busy. In this post, I’ll focus mainly on the day-by-day recruitment process for sororities here at Cornell. Read all about the organized chaos called rush!
ROUND ONE – Open House
After a short briefing meeting on the first night and a meeting with our Rho Gamma groups (PNMs, potential new members, with a leader who has disaffiliated from her chapter for recruitment), we embarked upon the first round. Day one and two consisted of visiting all of the 13 sorority houses on campus, talking to three or so sisters, and watching a short skit about their sisterhood. This round, while consisting mostly of small talk and unmemorable conversation, was fun because for most of us, it was a chance to see all of the chapters in their natural environment. Round one allowed us to start getting a feel for which houses we might best see ourselves in. It was also nice because we got to wear pants.
ROUND TWO – House Tours
After cutting three houses (and being cut by a number), PNMs got to visit a maximum of 10 houses on day two. This was definitely my favorite round of the entire week because not only did you get more information on what it would be like to live in the house, but you also got to see the house, complete with bedrooms looking straight off the page of a PBTeen catalog. We also talked to a few of the sisters again, and the attire for the day was the notoriously ambiguous “snappy casual.”
ROUND THREE – Skits/Philanthropy
Though not as fun as the house tours, skit/philanthropy day, maximum of 7 houses, was an enjoyable one. The skits were, for the most part, funny, and definitely showcased each house’s unique personality. It was easy to tell which houses you liked the best based on which skit you liked the best because you can tell a lot about people by their sense of humor. Learning more about each chapter’s philanthropic efforts was also helpful. It allowed us to figure out which causes we most identified with and would be enthusiastic about. Attire was “business,” but really just a tad dressier than the day before.
ROUND FOUR – Preference
The most serious, pref round was all about making a final decision as to which house you’d most like to be in, as well as which house(s) want you to be part of their sisterhood. Events varied: at some houses they have you take part in a traditional ritual, and at some houses, seniors gave speeches about their time in the chapter. We talked to just one member (usually someone we’d previously talked to) for almost an hour, and the conversations were (for the most part) more substantial than all of the previous ones. Attire was semi-formal to formal, and at the end of the day, we ranked the three (or two, or one) houses in order of preference.
Really more like bid night. Every girl who received a bid (at 5:30 PM) met her chapter at a designated location, followed by a celebration at the house. I received a bid from Kappa Delta, and after being greeted by a caravan of honking cars, we were driven back to the house where new member shirts, information, and pictures awaited us, along with pizza and crepes. It was a really fun night, and I was just so happy that everyone (my own pledge class and others too) was so open and friendly. Since bid day, we’ve already had several KD events keeping us busy, and we’re starting to get to know both the initiated sisters and our fellow pledges. I’ve had a great time so far, and I’m looking forward to everything else they have planned for us!
In general, rush was an experience like nothing else. It was actually crazy, and very different than I expected it to be. Here are just a few of the major things I liked/didn’t like about rush week.
- Smooth sailing: The sororities spend so much time planning for this week that it only makes sense that everything is carefully orchestrated and executed so as to make our job as PNMs easy. From the moment you walk into a house, you’re guided by a sister who sits you down in a pre-determined spot after taking your coat for you. Once it’s time to leave, there’s a sister to find your coat again and lead you out the door. Never are you at a loss for what to do.
- Meeting new people: In Rho Gamma groups and in houses, you meet tons of new people, and the great thing about rush is that everyone going through it is open to meeting new people and making new friends. I hardly encountered anyone unwilling to strike up a friendly conversation or walk to the next house together. It was actually pretty cool.
- HOT DRINKS: They were the bomb. Every day, every house served decadent winter weather drinks with a twist. Examples: red velvet hot chocolate, lavender hot chocolate, cinnamon apple cider, Thin Mint hot chocolate, s’mores hot chocolate… Enough said.
- Emotional rollercoaster: Rush is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. It’s safe to say that most people were cut from houses they really liked, and it’s impossible not to take that personally because they are literally picking the girls they like the best. A lot of times it comes down to knowing people in the house–having someone to speak up for you when it comes to cutting people. You could have three great conversations at one house and not get invited back, and chances are, you won’t ever know why they decided to let you go. The process was disheartening for some more than others, but it was definitely a string of highs and lows.
- Uncertainty: Nights were fitful because you never knew which houses you’d be invited back to, and the anticipation c
- COLD: Excepting the first two days, it was expected that PNMs (and sisters, too) wear skirts or dresses. For us, that meant putting on sweatpants, snow boots, and scarves, then stripping all the layers and putting heels on before walking into the houses. The process must have seemed insane to onlookers. Let me tell you: we were all very aware of how ridiculous we looked.
The biggest thing I learned from rush week was the importance of keeping an open mind. Firstly, I was dead set against rushing in the fall. Secondly, I (and my roommate) ended up really liking a house or two that I had essentially discounted in the beginning. It was definitely a lesson in not being so quick to judge–people, groups, everything. I’m so glad that I went through with it, though. In the few days I’ve spent in KD, I’ve had nothing but great experiences. All in all, rush was an interesting few days, but I would never want to repeat that week of my life. I’m very relieved that it’s over and now I’m excited to spend time getting to know our future sisters. Let the mixers and bonding events begin!