This is the first in a multi-part tale of my experience with Greek life and sororities. This is not meant to offend, put down, or upset anyone about being in a sorority or being Greek (I was one too!). It is just my recount of how I became Greek and how I ended my affiliation. Please do not take this offensively in any way.
When I attended orientation at UCF in May 2005, I remember walking up to the Panhellenic booth set up in the Pegasus Ballroom. The girls that were standing near the tri-fold board had on black polo shirts and khaki shorts and their hair was down, in perfect, non-frizzy curls. “Hi! Interested in rushing this year?” One girl said to me. I can still remember how strong her perfume smelled, like Clinique Happy.
“Oh, umm, yes. Maybe. I had a question though.” My 17 year old self who had been sitting through orientation since 7:30am had frizzy curly hair and was slow at reacting to such a perky girl.
“Sure!” she bounced.
“Well, I was thinking about rushing this summer, but I’m going to be out of town for the first three days.”
She smiled and said, “Oh! That’s totally fine! When you register, just let them know! And then you can come join us on the last two days!” I guessed that they figured it was better than missing recruitment altogether.
I asked her, “What sorority are you in?” Hoping I could get some sort of inside opinion.
“Aha, I can’t tell you,” she said, smiling big with her blue eyes making full contact with my pale greens which were darting back and fourth, confused. If you’re in a sorority, you can’t tell anyone which one you’re in? Then why does everyone wear shirts and jerseys and bags with their letters on them? I learned a few months later that she was a “Rho Gamma” which is a recruitment leader, which was ironic considering the end of my story (which will be revealed later).
After discussing it with my mother back in the hotel room that night and reading about UCF’s strict anti-hazing policy, I was convinced that I would be rushing in a few months.
Somehow, while I was at UCF for my first summer semester, I decided that Greek life was not for me. I’m not sure what exactly made me change my mind, but I did, and I was confident that there was no way I was going to rush. Especially since none of my friends from high school were going to rush, either. We’d drive through Greek row making fun of the houses but also were curious as to what went on inside of them. Once recruitment came and went and I didn’t attend, I did not regret my decision not to rush in the slightest. However I still continued to congratulate every girl in my classes and dorm hallway that received bids. The more I walked around campus, the more I kept seeing all these girls bobbing around in heels and their sorority bags with their letters on them with bright blonde curled-with-a-curling-iron-and-sprayed-with-too-much-hair-spray hair on top of a head that was covered in make-up. And this was just to go to class or the gym! I did not want to associate myself with an organization that believed in something that I did not agree with and to me, that was judging someone by their outer appearance. (Or so it appeared to me)
A girl I met my first summer at UCF rushed and joined a sorority and I ran into her on campus in the fall. She was actually a member of the sorority that I am a legacy (my mom’s mom was one at UGA) of and she told me, “Oh my gosh, you should rush! You would definitely fit in with us.” She was beautiful with long brown hair, olive flawless skin, sickeningly straight bleached teeth, and came from a family with lots of money. I didn’t think I’d really fit in with her girls, so I laughed it off and said, “Heh, maybe.”
It wasn’t until Christmas break of 2005 that I remember looking at some of the sororities’ websites at UCF. As I watched the slideshow of pictures whip, dissolve, and spin on and off the screen, I started feeling like maybe this was something I should at least give a chance. All the girls were so pretty and classy. They all looked cute in their matching shirts, shorts, and high heels in their recruitment pictures. They all had a sense of belonging (later I would learn the term more appropriate would be “sisterhood”) that was contagious to me, just through the pictures. I decided that I would take a leap against every stereotype I had associated Greek life with and rush in the fall. At least if I still hated all-things-Greek, I’d have actual reasoning to back up my opinion, right? Part of me also wanted to see what they thought of me. Could I be in the sorority that is classified as “the prettiest?” And would the sorority that I was a legacy of that I honestly thought had nothing in common with me give me a bid? It was one of those decisions in life that I figured I would never find out these answers unless I opened my mind and my heart and gave it all a chance.
…to be continued.