It’s been eleven Augusts since I left my home in South Jersey and traversed the Delaware to start my college career at the University of Pennsylvania. I was looking forward to looming academic challenges, expanding my horizons, meeting new people and finding my way in the world.
After four years of classes and experiences, memories and fuzzy details, I do have some regrets from my time. But, the one thing I certainly do not regret (and encourage all young men reading this article to do) is rushing a fraternity.
Despite all the good Greek organizations do, they are still much maligned and I’m sure many administrators would rather see them hit the road. No matter who you are or what you believe, if you think the Greek system could help you improve your life, give it a shot. Here are some suggestions for those looking to rush:
1. Do the research — don’t believe the hype
The Greek system is a fantastic extracurricular that combines traditional values and experiences and provide increasingly diverse student bodies a chance to grow and give back.
Yes, tragic accidents from binge drinking and other lapses of judgment at fraternity events have transpired, but these instances represent the minority, not the majority, of what happens in fraternities.
The fraternity life isn’t all about getting hammered and laid all day — and it shouldn’t be. Find out which chapters hold charity fundraisers or volunteer in areas surrounding campus.
2. If you can, wait until the spring semester
Moving to college can be a difficult transition. Rushing first semester emphasizes going Greek before students are able to get a solid grasp on college. So, for the first semester, go to class and get acquainted with your surroundings.
Spend time with people on your floor and in your classes. Get to know your town and city well, along with your campus. You’ll be better equipped to make friends and learn more about the social scene by doing so.
If you do have a fall rush, still head out for recruitment. Take your experiences and wait until the spring, when you’ll have the leverage of a smaller prospect pool. It won’t be as much of a cattle call and you’ll already know some people at the houses in which you’re interested.
3. Don’t be afraid of rejection
As a high-achieving student who was risk-averse throughout school, rush taught me how to deal with rejection. Part of the rush process is that houses make cuts and invite back some candidates for further consideration.
One of the great lessons it forced me to learn was how to manage my expectations. More likely than not, you will find a place in a house. The Greek system has become more inclusive over the years and it is a great way for young men to gain leadership experience.
Sometimes, it just takes some exploration and time to find where you fit best.
4. Go to invite events — no matter what
The moment I realized that I found my house happened on a bitter cold Friday night in January 2004. I sat in my dorm as the wind howled and wondered whether I should go to a closed rush event across campus, where my lack of drinking experience would be exposed.
Ultimately, my friend convinced me to brave the cold and go. I met many of my future brothers and the refreshments kept me warm on the return trip.
Closed events are a lot of fun and most places will ply you with alcohol and awesome food. Spend time talking to the brothers and get a feel for what the social events are like.
Gents, this is a great time in your life. Doors will open and can take you to incredible places if you’re willing to take the risk and put in the work. Go after it with purpose and enjoy it as much as possible — especially the free booze; that doesn’t happen often in the real world.
Photo Courtesy: Tumblr