I got up at around 7:00am so I could have a full face of makeup, presentable hair, and fashionable outfit by 9:00. I just have to add that my first class last semester started at 1:25PM, so waking up at this ungodly hour was even more painful than I hoped it would be. For Round 1, all of the PNM (Potential New Members) have to visit all 11 Panhellenic Sororities. Round 1 is actually split up into two days; you visit 6 houses one day and 5 houses the next. Depending on your Rho Gamma group, you might visit the 6 houses visit, as in my case. Today was the first experience I had ever had with rushing. And it was... insane.
The 11 Panhellenic sorority houses in Cornell are (in no order) Alpha Epsilon Phi (AEPhi), Pi Beta Phi (Pi Phi), Kappa Alpha Theta (Theta), Kappa Kappa Gamma (Kappa), Alpha Xi Delta (AXiD), Kappa Delta (KD), Delta Delta Delta (TriDelt), Alpha Phi, Delta Gamma (DG), and Sigma Delta Tau (SDT). For my first day of Round 1, I visited AEPhi, Alpha Phi, Kappa, TriDelt, DG, Pi Phi, and KD.
Like I said before, I came into the process with an open mind. I tried not to think too much about the houses, and I figured that in the end, I would end up in the house I was meant to end up in. Otherwise, I just wasn't mean for the sorority life. Before I even visited the houses, I already had a few preconceived notions about each of the houses, and the first house I visited (AEPhi), was already at the bottom of my list. From what I heard (and read), I led myself to believe that I could never fit into a place like AEPhi. It was known as a JAP-py (Jewish-American Princess) house with a lot of stuck up and pretentious girls with whom I could never seem myself having fun. And so we waited outside, in the freezing cold might I add, and we waited. And boy, was I REALLY not prepared for what was to happen...
Before we even went into the house, dance music of epic proportions started blaring. Behind the closed door, we heard screaming, cheering, and we feared for our lives. The sisters pounded on the wood, as if they were going to destroy us as soon as the door opened. After about five minutes, the insanity was finally unleashed on us. Sorority sisters shrieked and yelled as we walked into the house. They continued to clap and dance, and soon a sister would personally come up to you and grab you. I didn't know how to react. Where was this damn lady taking me? What da eff is going on? I had never been more frightened by my own gender in my life.
After the girls took our jackets, we sat down in a room full of chairs and were individually situated with a sister from the house. It was immensely difficult to hear what the girls would be telling us, as other girls would still be walking into the house and the music would still be blasting. It felt... unreal in a way. But here was a girl, right in front of me, waiting to talk to me. Surprisingly, the conversation was very easy and relatively relaxing. I expected something completely different. These girls wanted to get to know me, and I thought they would just look me up and down and simply judge my outer appearance. It just wasn't like that at all. I talked with the first girl for roughly ten minutes, and I talked to about three girls for each house on average. At AEPhi, I talked about my obsession with Hello Kitty and the Jersey Shore, and I left the house feeling relieved, to say the least.
Rush wasn't anything like people had told me. These girls would simply strike up conversations with you about anything and everything, and really just wanted to get to know you. They weren't judgemental or catty in the slightest. And I realized that I would be able to make my own call on a lot of the houses, and that my initial notions about each house were probably biased and false. I soon looked forward to going to all of the houses.
Still, that didn't necessarily override the harsh conditions of rush week. PNMs had to walk around in single digit weather, walking for maybe 7 miles a day just to visit all the houses. The hours were long, and the journey tedious. The first day of Round 1 didn't end until 6:00pm. Still, I wouldn't have taken back the experience for anything.
After AEPhi, I then visited Alpha Phi and Kappa. As I continued going through the houses, I saw just how some of the stereotypes were put into place. Most of the sisters were ridiculously gorgeous, and I felt disfigured just in their presences. Still, they were just as real as any other girl, and most of them were hilarious and interesting. I didn't really know how the houses eliminated the PNM's, but I soon began to form my own list of top and bottom houses.
At the end of the day, I ended up loving DG, Kappa, Alpha Phi, and AEPhi. I didn't particularly like Pi Phi or TriDelt. I clicked the most with the girls I talked to at those sororities, and I soon realized just how cut-throat the process must have been. I only talked to roughly three girls from each house, and if even one of the girls didn't like me, I was probably cut from the house. S Also, it was hard to have any particular opinion about a house. Having even one terrible conversation with an awkward girl from one of the houses could completely ruin my opinion for the entire sorority, even if it might've been just a fluke. Still, I kept telling myself that if it was meant to be, it would happen.
I laughed at what everyone had told me before the first day. It was nothing like what they had told me. They didn't make us do anything self-deprecating, or treat us like trash. Instead, they welcomed us with open arms. They offered us hot chocolate, took our jackets, and tried to get know us for who we really are. I saw myself really liking the entire sorority experience. I ended the first day of rush week with a sigh of relief and excitement for the next day, which was a continuation of Round 1.