What’s up, everyone? My name is Adam, and I’m sure most of you know me, though not by name, from Skye’s mentions of me (her boyfriend) on this blog! She has so graciously lent her blog to me so I can do a post on fraternity recruitment/rush and life in a fraternity!
If you’re at all like me, at some point you’ve probably said, “Well why the heck would I want to be in a frat *gags* anyway? Who wants to pay for their friends? It’s all just bro-dudes and being fratty all the time…not for me.” This was me my entire freshman year! Any time anyone would ask me, “Are you going to rush?”, I would shoot the idea down immediately because I didn’t think I would fit in, or some other uninformed, closed-minded reason because I didn’t know what fraternities were actually like. I only knew what movies and TV had shown me, none of which looked particularly appealing to me. I was totally wrong, which I’ll explain more later. So, come along on this journey with me! I promise I’ll be mildly amusing.
How do I recruitment?
The best place to start when talking about rushing a fraternity (and yes, I use the whole word) is the rush process itself. It varies from school to school, but generally, fraternity recruitment is a lot of fun. Guys get lucky, mainly because our rush process consists of a bunch of free events that are centered around getting some face time with the actives of a specific fraternity, and trying to make an impression worthy of a bid to enter their pledge/associate/etc. process. The recruitment process can be a whirlwind one-to-two weeks, but it is a lot of fun and I know I met a lot of great guys through recruitment alone, both as a rushee and as recruitment chair. Plus, who’s going to say “Nah, I’ll pass!” to things like free food and games like bowling or Lazer Tag?!?
The most important thing to remember during rush, and the one thing most forget, is to be yourself and not someone you think they want you to be. The right house will want you because they see potential in you, and characteristics worthy of whatever their credo may be. Also, remember that you get a say in what house you join, and you don’t have to join a house just because they give you a bid! You have just as much of a say in what house you end up in as the actives of said house.
Rush is a lot of fun, so have fun, ask a lot of questions, be open to answering questions, and ultimately go into it with open eyes and an open mind!
I got a bid…now what?
WOOOOOOOO! Someone liked you and wants you to join their organization! That’s awesome, right? Maybe you rushed more than one house (which you should do…unlike me who only rushed one) and you got multiple bids! Now comes the part where you get to exact some control over the situation and decide a couple different things: what house is the right one for me, and is Greek Life even right for me in the first place?
The right house is the one that you can see yourself being a member of during your remaining time at your university. I ended up in Phi Kappa Tau (Hoo-rah!) because I knew a lot of guys in the house, and I saw myself rushing that fraternity because I knew I would fit in, and be able to and want to contribute to life in Phi Tau. You don’t have to agree with everything they say or do, which you won’t, but generally you should see yourself fitting in. If you can’t see it, then they’re not the right house for you, plain and simple.
However, before you pick a house from the bids you’ve been offered, you’ve gotta decide whether you really want to dive head first into fraternity life. What’s the best way to decide?
- Having an on-campus family and support system. Trust me, this one is actually true and it is the biggest pro behind rushing. If you pick the right house for you, you’ll have a great group of guys behind you who will be behind you, thick and thin, and who will always be around. Literally. At any given time on campus, I was guaranteed to run into at least one of my brothers, and it’s something I got used to very quickly.
- Things to do! Being in a fraternity guarantees you an endless list of things to do. Coming out to recruitment events, semi-formals and formals (basically high school dances but with no one telling you what to do), charity events (usually sports games or talent shows), weekend hangouts with the brothers, meetings once a week, parties, service events…the list is endless! If you’re bored just going to class and then going to the library or your room, seriously consider Greek Life. You will never be bored.
- Opportunity knocking constantly. There are so many opportunities that come from being in a fraternity. They can be something as a simple as getting a recommendation from a brother to take a class that you wouldn’t have taken otherwise, to something as huge getting a job through a brother (I have seen this happen many times). Being open to entering Greek Life means being presented with a world of opportunities you might not have had otherwise.
- Personal growth. Seriously. This one was huge for me. Before I rushed, I was a different person, and sometimes that wasn’t the best thing. Being part of Phi Tau and holding the positions I held made me a more confident person, one who is more open to new experiences and meeting new people, and one who is generally more comfortable with himself. Plus, if you’re an only child like me, there’s something to be said for rushing a fraternity and having that sibling-esque figure you’ve never had before.
Cons (and yes, there are some):
- Different strokes… Being part of a fraternity means being part of a group made up of a lot of different people with a lot of different opinions, who engage in a lot of different behaviors. You won’t always agree with them. If you’re like me and you want to help everyone do the right thing, this will get frustrating.
- Things to do! As great as the endless list of things to do is, sometimes being constantly busy can lead to being a little burned out. If you’re a champion of time management, this won’t be a problem for you! But, if you’re a mere mortal like me, sometimes you’ll have to miss out on something you want to do because of something you have to do for the fraternity. C’est la vie.
- Financial commitment. The downside to being in a fraternity is having to pay dues. The dues help you do things like host semi-formals or get t-shirts for EVERYTHING, but the financial commitment really sucks, and you won’t always want to pay your dues. Pay them anyway, because the consequences aren’t fun. Fortunately, if you’re a student supporting yourself, like I was, there are options to spread out the cost of the dues and scholarships available through your fraternity so your money doesn’t totally vanish before your eyes.
- Losing yourself. This doesn’t apply to me personally, but I have seen some of my brothers, as well as guys from other houses, get caught up in all the “opportunities” fraternity life affords, at the expense of failing classes or losing other friends. Don’t be that guy. That guy gives fraternities a bad name. Don’t let the fraternity consume your whole life because when you graduate, well…that life has to end. Think of Zac Efron in Neighbors.
Expectations v. Reality (I’ll try to go through this quickly)
Speaking of the way fraternities are portrayed in media, I’m sure many of the guys out there think that this is exactly how fraternities are IRL. While there is an element of truth to every over-exaggeration, the truth is that the movies and TV shows are just that! They are an overblown representation of how fraternities can seem to people.
Yes, there are dumb parties. Yes, there are goofy traditions. Yes, it can get a little bro-y at times.
However, there are also a lot of great, amazing, touching things that never get represented in the media. Brothers opening up to each other, even to the point of tears. Brothers helping each other through some really difficult times. The inside of a weekly meeting. Brothers helping each other study. Brothers coming out to support each other at thesis presentations, concerts. Brothers hanging out outside of the school/fraternal environment (e.g. camping trips). This stuff is the stuff no one ever sees, because it’s not funny or because it’s not what people want to see. However, this is what you actually sign up for when you rush a fraternity, and these are the things that make the fraternal experience.
I’m not saying Greek Life is for everyone, but what I am saying is that if you have doubts about it, like I did, go out to a rush event, talk to the guys, and see what you think. You never know what you’ll find out, and you may realize that Greek Life wasn’t what you thought it was at all! After being in Phi Tau for three years, my only regret is not rushing as a freshman, and I think that’s saying something. Now get out there and give it a try! Oh, and shout-out to all my brothers out there who made my college experience one for the books!
Back to you, Skye!