January 19, 2001
I am not your stereotypical sorority rushee. I was never a cheerleader. I'm not blond, and the last time I weighed 100 pounds, I was in junior high. However, here I am rushing, and so far I've felt only slightly out of place. Rush starts on a Thursday with an information session. We get tips on what to wear to each event, and we are each assigned to a smaller group of rushees.
"I was glad they had the fashion show because they were vague about it (how to dress) in the (Rush) book, and you can only see from waist up in the pictures," freshman Betsy Gibson said of the information night. "I think it [Rush] will be fun."
I come into McAlister Auditorium feeling pretty intimidated and I again wonder why a self-proclaimed intellectual like me is considering joining a sorority, but I relax when I realize that not every girl present looks like she just stepped out of the J. Crew catalog. There are an amazing number of girls at this first event. It seems as though the whole of the freshman class has turned out: smart girls, girls with piercings and, of course, "social" girls.
The way we are herded into and out of the auditorium leaves me with a slight cattle-like feeling, but I leave enthusiastic about the upcoming weekend, when Rush really begins. The first event of Rush begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, and basically is a crash course in small talk. We rushees start off in our small groups at Newcomb and walk to the first sorority house on our schedule. In the course of the day we will visit each of the six houses.
I stand outside the first house with about 50 other girls, when an extremely powerful cheer rises up from inside the house. The doors are thrown open and the president and rush chair of the sorority come out to greet us. All the rushees are ushered into the house. For 25 minutes, I chat with the sorority member who has selected me. To my relief, all the women I talk to seem very nice. They listen to what I'm saying and seem interested.
There are, however, a few drawbacks to the process. For one thing, it is incredibly cold for New Orleans this day. I also begin to fear not being able to think of anything to say to the sorority members. The cat-calling young men watching all of us from the balcony of their house and repeatedly playing "Who Let the Dogs Out" are not exactly appreciated. Even with these few inconveniences, I enjoyed the process, as did most of my fellow rushees, and those cheers the sorority members do are kind of catchy.
"I think it's really fun. I'm having a good time," freshman Erica Rose said. The next morning, however is what I have been dreading. At nine o'clock, we begin the accept/regret process. Basically, each rushee is handed a piece of paper listing the names of the sororities to which she has been asked back. All six names are not still on my little piece of paper, and I feel misjudged. Obviously these sororities did not see the real me or they never would have cut me, right?
However, I find out that I am not the only one who doesn't exactly favor this accept/regret concept. When asked the worst part of rush was, Rose replied, "I feel like a number. I don't see how they can make a valid judgment unless they know the girls outside of Rush."
On Sunday afternoon, we each visit the four houses we have chosen to go back to. Each sorority has prepared a slide show, and several have also choreographed dances. This time rushing is easier because I feel more relaxed talking to the members. They explain all of their many activities, and they all seem to have a lot of fun.
However, Monday night is again accept/regret night and another chance for my self-esteem to plummet, though it turns out not to be as bad as I thought. We are basically done with Rush for the week. Friday we will visit three houses, Saturday two, and Sunday, Bid Day, we will pick the sorority we wish to pledge. Thus ends Sorority Rush 2001 and the story of one freshman's experience.
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org