“At Hopkins, people are not defined socially by their Greek affiliation.” That’s what prospective students are told when they are just getting to know Hopkins. However, for freshmen drunk off an entire semester of Greekrank and hearsay — and not actual information from real-life sorority members — the opposite is true.
At Hopkins, according to some freshman girls who have been here for a grand total of one semester, people absolutely are defined by their Greek affiliation, not only socially but also in all the other ways a person can be defined. For them, bid day is the college equivalent of Judgment Day: Some will be rewarded with social heaven, while others will be sentenced to seven semesters (equal to one eternity) in social hell.
During recruitment, you spend a lot of time waiting in line. For this reason, I’d advise against heels. For this same reason, I’d also advise against standing next to anyone who has had a little too much Greekrank to drink. As a natural consequence of having spring rush, very few potential new members (PNMs) go into formal recruitment with an open mind. Some PNMs’ minds are so full of preconceived notions that they cannot afford to absorb any new information that could possibly make them think otherwise.
On the first day of recruitment, after visiting a whopping total of one chapter, I was exhausted. While standing in line for the second chapter, I mumbled something about my fatigue to the girl next to me. “Good thing it doesn’t matter after this one,” she kindly reminded me. I said nothing, but I should have thanked her for reminding me, because if she hadn’t, I might have made a futile effort to continue being a decent, friendly person at the next three chapters.
Not only did she kindly remind me, but she also spent the next 1.5 rounds of recruitment generously advising others. In all my secular life, I’d say she’s the closest I’ve ever had to a priest, for she seemed to know exactly which roads led to “heaven” and which roads condemned one to “hell.”
Mediocre biblical jokes aside, that girl exemplified the superficial attitude that many girls have going into rush: Being in a sorority is only worth something if you’re in the right sorority. As a result of this shallow fixation, rushing brings out the cutthroat attitude that Hopkins is known for. It really does feel like an inane competition.
More specifically, it feels like an episode of The Bachelor. Contestants put their best feet forward and dress to impress. Even though they’re told to be themselves, they’re convinced that they must act a certain way in order to be wanted. And just like in the hit ABC reality TV show, they’re not here for all the right reasons, and they’re not here to make friends.
With this in mind, contestants are allocated a few short conversations to prove that they are charming, desirable, funny, smart and most importantly, deserving of love. If they can’t prove that they possess all of these qualities, they “go to hell.” Or they don’t receive a rose. One of the two.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t a reliable way for chapters to get to know over 200 PNMs in three days. Likewise, there really isn’t a reliable way for PNMs to get to know over 600 sorority women in three days. Therefore, PNMs rely on a semester’s worth of preconceived notions to determine where they “truly belong,” rather than using their very own judgment to form their very own opinions.
Maybe it’s presumptuous of me to say that they’re wrong, but on behalf of the over 600 proud sorority women at Hopkins, and for the sake of anyone who felt they had a reason to be anything less than euphoric on bid day, I hope I’m right.
During recruitment, you’ll spend a lot of time waiting in line. This aspect alone, as well as the process as a whole, is draining emotionally, mentally and physically. For this reason, I advise that you go into recruitment because you want to be in a sorority, not because you want to be in a specific one.
After all, the Bible says “Adam and Eve,” not “validate your self-worth through a superficial hierarchy and anonymous online forums.”