Why I am glad I did not rush a Villanova sorority

Lauren Sorantino

I entered college unsure about whether or not I would rush a sorority.  I grew up near a large state school.  I had seen the good: many girls found their best friends through their sororities.  I had also seen the bad: many girls lost their identities and emerged from their respective sororities as carbon copies of their sorority sisters.  Others had their self-esteem diminished significantly during the rush process.  I ultimately decided not to rush, however, all three of my closest friends did.  The result was a quasi-social experiment.  I got about as close as one can get to seeing the Villanova rush process from both the inside and the outside.  After all is said and done, I am glad I chose not to rush.    

After viewing the rush process from the outside, I have formed two major grievances with sororities.  These grievances are founded in my close observations of my friends’ experiences—observations I tried to make sense of as objectively as I could from the outside.

The first grievance applies specifically to Villanova’s sororities: the rush process is far too short.  The idea that girls can be dropped from a sorority—let alone multiple sororities—after only one day of rushing is absurd.  A sorority’s recruiters are barely able to get to know a girl in a day.  Nine sororities’ recruiters certainly can’t get to know if a girl’s personality actually fits into the atmospheres of their respective sororities in a day.  What nine sororities’ recruiters can do in just a day—in much shorter than a day, actually—is know whether a girl looks like she fits into their sororities.  

The sad truth that most of us know but few of us openly acknowledge or try to change is that, for most sororities, appearance seems to be paramount in determining a girl’s admittance.  If you doubt me, I invite you to look at the Tumblr accounts of Villanova’s most well-known sororities.  There is a certain characteristic “look.”  This truth about the importance of appearance is the same truth that my friends optimistically chose to ignore as they rushed, and the same truth they realized could not be avoided as they got dropped frustratingly quickly by sorority after sorority.  

It was not long after my friends arrived on campus to rush that I started receiving texts about their disappointment.  I got, “This is terrible,” first and an even more disconcerting, “my self-esteem is ruined,” later.  My friends felt cheated, like they did not have enough time to prove themselves to the sororities they felt suited them best, like they would have been rejected solely on the basis of appearance by most sororities—regardless of what they said during their interactions with recruiters.

My second grievance with sororities lies in their foundational principles.  I think that automatically subscribing to someone else’s idea of what sisterhood and womanhood are is inherently wrong.  To me, sisterhood is something that occurs organically.  It takes time.  To me, womanhood is unique to each and every woman.  Some young women may look at a certain sorority and say, “this feels like authentic sisterhood to me,” or “these girls are models of womanhood.”  For the girls who feel this way, sororities are effective.  I would even go as far as to say that sororities are empowering for these girls.  Many young women, however, do not possess this conclusiveness at age 18 or 19.  I think most young girls need the freedom to figure themselves—and their friends—out, unhindered by the boundaries of the conformity often imposed by a sorority.

I can’t deny the fact that rushing a sorority has been a positive experience for many.  With that being said, I am glad I didn’t rush.  I chose not to engage in the process because I had an inkling that the rushing process might be shallow and unfair.  For most of my friends, it was. I am confident inferring that rushing a sorority would not have improved my college experience.  In fact, I believe rushing would have made it worse.  I don’t possess the characteristic sorority girl “look.”  I don’t identify with any of Villanova’s sororities on the level of sisterhood and womanhood.  If you are disenchanted with your rushing experience or feel frustrated by the commonly held view of Greek life as a necessary part of college, you are not alone.  Join me in attempting to knock Greek life off of its pedestal as the most essential extracurricular in a college experience.  Join me in seeing it for what it is: an optional, flawed institution that has proven beneficial for some students, but certainly not for all.