Hi, friends. So this fall semester, I plan on participating in formal Panhellenic recruitment, or “rush week,” at my university. However, Lilly Pulitzer prints and pearls are not really my style. In fact, as a queer person, my style ranges from all-out girly to slightly tomboy, depending on the day. I want to have a chance at getting sorority bids, but I don’t want to compromise who I am and what I feel comfortable wearing. Help? Thanks. —Sabrina, 19, Florida
Hey, Sabrina! OK. Let me just say, I DEFINITELY feel where you’re coming from. I rushed Delta Phi Epsilon around two years ago at my university, and I had the same apprehensions that you’re having right now. Being queer myself and not conforming to one style, I was afraid that I’d have to morph into the one-dimensional “sorority girl” that we often see in the media. But I’m here to tell you that THERE IS NO REIGNING ARCHETYPE FOR SORORITY WOMEN.
Once you’re settled into a sorority and dealing with 200-plus personalities, you’ll see this for yourself. But before you get to that point, you gotta get through recruitment, also known as rush week. So, let’s talk about rushing!
Rush week is a magical time in every potential sorority woman’s life. You attend parties and events sponsored by each sorority and figure out which “house” aligns with your interests and hobbies. There are cute chants, sentimental songs, and lots of Q&As with sisters, so they can get to know you better. Recruitment can be really stressful—in the sense that you’re putting yourself out there to hundreds of women who are deciding whether or not you’re a fit for their organization. It’s kind of like a job interview, so shout out to you for taking the first step and signing up!
Rush week also is sort of like a practice run for sorority life: I know plenty of people who go through it and realize that it isn’t for them—that’s cool, too. Be honest with yourself throughout this week. Are you OK with the obligations that come along with joining a sorority? Can you keep up with the dues payments and weekly meetings and events while staying on top of your grades? It’s a bit early to tell during recruitment (the orientation process is when things become more apparent), but these are some things you should take into consideration.
While sororities are deciding whether you’re right for them, you should also be questioning whether they’re right for you. The best way to make sure you end up in the right sorority for you is by truly being yourself. Before you roll your eyes—trust me, I know how cliché it sounds. But it’s the only way you’re going to find authentic connections. You don’t want to end up in a sorority that you have nothing in common with because you were playing a role during rush week. Make it a priority to express your passions, ask questions (for example: What philanthropy does the sorority support? How much are dues? Why did the sisters you’re talking to choose the sorority they’re representing?), and—to answer your question!—choose outfits that show off your personal style.
You want to join a sorority that challenges you to be your best self and that helps you grow into the person you want to be. Which means: STAY AWAY from any sorority where everyone looks the same. RUN from any organization that makes you feel uncomfortable for wearing your own clothes—whether they’re “all-out girly,” “slightly tomboy,” or all/none of the above.
I think the biggest misconception people have about sorority women is that we all operate under a groupthink mentality. I can’t stress how many different people you’ll come across in sororities (in the diverse ones, at least), or how life-changing the relationships can be. If you want proof: Here are photos I took to show the wonderful connections I made within my own sorority.
Look into organizations that have a precedent for being diverse. And during rush week, pay attention to which sororities welcome you for being yourself. Good luck, babe! You got this.
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