A Study In Life:

"The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant."


Greek Life

Posted by Olivia Lawrence on September 27, 2013 at 10:25 PM

An Untraditional Student’s Greek Experience

A little basic info on me and why my Greek recruitmentexperience is different; I’m a 26 year old transfer and returning student.  I had about a 5 year gap between me droppingout of high school and getting my GED and starting at Community College.   I’m definitely what would be termed anuntraditional student.  Even though I’man older student there are a lot of aspects of the Greek system that appealedto me, so I signed up for rush deciding that it would be better to try it anddecide I didn’t like the experience than to always wonder.  There were still so many points before rusheven started that I debated whether or not to go through with it, it was not aneasy decision for me at all.  I’ve feltso unsure of myself due to my age and my self-esteem issues, and generalintroverted nature.  While I have nowfinished the process I’m writing this as I experienced it day by day so that itshows some of the emotional ups and downs that I experienced through theprocess.   


The first event of rush is orientation, and all day beforethat started I went back and forth on whether or not I should do it.  My brain went through so many issues from myage, to the cost, and the time that recruitment would take out of myschedule.  In the end I was so stressed aboutthe whole thing that I had to sit down and ask for higher guidance on the wholething.  I won’t go into the whole processof what made me decide to go, but come Wednesday night I was sitting in a roomsurrounded by freshmen and listening to the run down on what recruitment wouldentail. 

Unity Day

The first real day of recruitment is called Unity Day, it’swhere you go around to all 13 houses and spend about 20-25 minutes in eachone.  It’s a long day and it starts at 8am.  I live on the opposite side ofcampus from all of these events, and so the long walk to get there by 8 am andgetting up so early nearly made me decide not to go again.  I finally decided that I would probablyregret not going, and I was already up anyways. By the time the first house was finished I was already glad that I hadgone.  There were a lot of nice women,and I found myself getting out of my shell a bit.  That’s not to say that I enjoyed all thehouses, there were some I didn’t feel like I clicked with and some that I justfelt uncomfortable in.  By the end of theday I knew which 3 I wanted to list as my bottom, and even though we don’t rankthe rest I still had my top three laid out. I was so excited by the end of the day, and I had my favorite houses andI thought that it went really well.  Someof my top choices were actually pretty affordable cost-wise as well. 

House Tours

House tours days are a bit dressier and so I was up the nextday for class and I got all ready and felt absolutely great.  I had my favorite houses, and I knew I lookedadorable dressed up so I was super excited to go back to my favorites.  As it came time to meet up with ourrecruitment counselors to find out our schedules, my happiness completelydropped.  I only had 4 call backs out ofthe possible 10, and none of them were my favorites.  On top of that 2 of those 4 houses were onesthat I had missed going to the previous day because of work.  Only 2 of the 10 houses that I had seen theday before had called me back.  I don’tthink I can even properly explain how big of a self-esteem drop that was.  I had thought that things had gone so well,and here I was with most of the houses apparently not liking me.  I was so tempted to just go home rightthen.  I definitely didn’t feel confidentto go and talk to a bunch of strangers with my mood so low.  I had a break before my first house of thenight, so I took that time to get some coffee and chat with a recruitmentmate.  That helped a bit, I decided togive these houses the chance that they had given me. 

Going through my 4 house tours I loved my first house, onethat I had missed on Unity Day.  I reallyliked the house, the fact that so many sisters seemed to have gone abroad andliked traveling.  It was overall a verynice house, and I had a lot in common with one of the girls that I talkedwith.   I left the house smiling andhappy that I had gone through with the house tours.  The next house was another that I hadn’t beento, and they were also really nice, but I didn’t really seem to fit inthere.  My last two houses of the nightwere ones that I actually had been to, so I felt a bit more confident becausethey had actually met me and liked me enough to call me back.  Both of those went really well, and I likedthe girls and had fun.  I left that nightfeeling more confident because I liked 3 of my 4 houses and I thought that ithad gone well. 

Two Days Off:

The next two days were kind of hell for me honestly.  I spent most of my time feeling unsure if I’ddone something wrong at the houses and terrified I’d be dropped from those aswell.  I kept going through my headwondering why I was putting myself through this.  I think that I’ve spent so much time stayingin my shell and not joining groups that I had buried my insecurities ratherthan actually getting over them.  Reliefcame with a text from my RC late Saturday night.  She let me know that since my first eventwasn’t until after lunch I could sleep in, and she also gave me my schedule onrequest.  I’d lost the house I didn’treally like, but had kept the other 3 that I did like.  Feeling much better about myself I actuallymanaged to sleep a bit that night and be prepared for Philanthropy Day.

Philanthropy Day:

Philanthropy went really well.  I liked the houses I went to, but I also hada clear idea of where I ranked them.  Ionly had the three houses, so it was a much shorter day than everyone else had,which ended up being nice.  My firsthouse was after lunch and it was really great learning about the differentphilanthropies. 

The philanthropies of a couple of the houses I went to werepretty emotional for me.  One of thehouses dealt with being strong role-models for girls that may not have positivefemale figures in their lives.  Assomeone who didn’t have a good relationship with my mother, I know how muchthat has left me at a loss in life. 

There was another one that I got really emotional readingabout over the weekend.  I was doing someresearch into my remaining houses when I found out that my favorite housesphilanthropy deals with helping abused children get help with dealing with thesystem.  When I first saw that it openedup a lot of issues for me.  The issue ofchild abuse is a very touchy issue for me as a survivor of it.   I definitely know what it’s like to feelthat the system is not there to help you. I never did trust the system, and I just dealt with things on my own,but I know that for a lot of kids that is not an option. 

My past has always been something that I’ve kept hidden likea dirty little secret, and so this being the philanthropy of my favorite housekind of left me feeling ripped open for the world to see.  It made me really start to deal with my pastin a way that I’ve always tried not to. It left me realizing that if I just stopped trying to ignore who I am,that maybe I can heal better and possibly be a force for good in other kidslives. 

Philanthropy day itself was much less dramatic than myweekend was as I dwelled on my past and the meaning of my favorite house havinga related philanthropy. (I guess I’m a signs person) The day went well and Imet more great women, and I continued to be glad that I had joined recruitment.

Preference Night:

Waiting for preference night was nerve-wracking.  It was a day off from school and work, so Ihad nothing to do but wonder about what houses had asked me back.  By this point I was happy with the houses Ihad been to, and really liked my favorite. The horrible worry that I had was that I’d get my schedule and myfavorite house would be gone.  I’dalready had that experience with house tours and really didn’t want it tohappen right at the end too. 

When I finally got my schedule I found that I had indeedlost a house, but it was my bottom choice. So with an hour to wait I got somecoffee to relax before going to my two pref-night parties, the last of whichwas my favorite house.

House 1:

We went in and there were plates with our names on themwritten in chocolate syrup and there were cake-pops.  I was talking with a girl I’d already spokento before and she was really nice.  Ithink that may have been a disadvantage though because while she was reallynice, we didn’t have much in common to talk about once the basics of small-talkwere covered, so it was a bit quiet. There was a moment that really made me feel that if this was the house Igot into I should give it a chance though: they played a montage of pictures with “For Good” from Wicked play, andthat song has been really personal for me for a long time.  So I took that as a sign that I was doing theright thing being in recruitment, and that if this was the house I ended up inthat I should trust in that.  A lot ofthis whole experience required me to seek guidance from the gods, and so I wasletting myself go with the signs and feelings of the whole thing.  Even with that though, I still felt that Ipreferred the other house.

House 2:

I was so nervous for this event, because it was my favoriteand this night would be the determining factor in whether or not I would be inthis house.  There was a deliciouschocolate cake, then a video and some people talking about their experiences inthe house.  At this house it was just metalking to the sister(I’d been paired with another girl at the previous house)which was nice, it feels more like you can have a personal conversation thatway.  We went up to her bedroom and saton her bed to relax and talk which was really nice.  We got to know each other a little bit, andshe talked about her experiences going through recruitment.  I asked her why she chose the house, and shesaid that she’d always felt comfortable, never felt judged, and that it justfelt right.  I definitely understood thatfeeling because from the first time I’d stepped into that house something justfelt right.  As preference night ended Iwalked away from the house with them singing “I want to linger”, a song thatwe’d sung at camp when I was a teenager. I left smiling and really feeling like that was where I belonged. 

Bid Day:

Having class all day before getting our bids(invitation tojoin a house) was not great.  It made thetime move a bit faster but I was so distracted. I just wanted to know what house I’d gotten, if I’d gotten the one Iwanted.  When I walked to the event I wastrying to be positive about both houses, tried to think about how if I ended upin AAA rather than BBB that it was what was meant to be.  That was really hard though, because all Icould think was that BBB was where I belonged, and that if it felt so rightthen how could it not be the right one? 

Anyways, after some torture from the recruitment councilors,we were able to open our bids.  Mine wasa bit difficult as it was an envelope fashioned out of a bigger envelope and soit took about twice as long to open.  Butfinally there it was, my official bid from BBB. I was so happy, I kept looking again to make sure.


So we went to the house, got some presents, went to atrampoline gym and had a blast.  I letmyself go and have some fun and chat a lot. It was nice to feel so happy and so much like I belonged.  We were set up with a sister that is ourgo-to person for the first bit, and as I talked with mine on the bus we had somuch in common that I just felt reinforced in this being the right place forme.  Turns out there are a bunch of nerdslike me in the house, so I’m in good company, and I really love everybody. 

WARNING: It gets depressive and moody after this, so feel free to stop here.

Final Thoughts:

I’m writing this part a few weeks after recruitment, and I’vespent 4 weeks in a house that I really loved, with girls that I felt I couldreally be close to.  As we hit weeks 3and 4 I’ve really started to stress about the money issue because it hadn’tcome up.  As an independent student Ihave no one else to rely on, so the money I have to get by is all financialaid, which leaves me with very little extra money.  As I ended up in the most expensive house,that is a serious problem. 

At the end of recruitment I really thought that it was allworth it, and I was glad I’d gone through it all.  As I sit here tonight packing up everything I’dgotten from the chapter to return tomorrow I’m not sure how I feel.  I think that it’s a lot harder for me since I’mnot close with any of my family.  Sure Italk to two of my siblings, but not close like family should be, and we neverwill be.  I’m damaged goods in a lot ofways.  There are things inside me thatare broken, and the family ties between me and my siblings will never be ableto be mended fully.  They don’t know whatI went through, and they won’t accept it. I was so hopeful that I had found my new home, my new family.  And tonight I lost that. Is it really betterto have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?  As someone that has just lost another familyin a long line of losses, I’m starting to really wonder.


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