As women growing up in our society we are often told to be strong, independent individuals to prove that we are equal to men. We are told to take no bullshit from others, and always stand up for our wants, our beliefs, and ourselves. We are told to embrace our differences and go against the “typical woman” stereotype. Yet here are twelve hundred young, bright women at the University of Michigan standing outside in rain and shine, getting shouted at, and forced to conform to a system that can end in an unbelievably high levels of stress and dejection. And there I was questioning this process while in the cold as number 1047, behind Stuart and in front of Sweet at 7:50, when I should’ve been sitting around a table in a tiny hot- box, located in the basement of Angell Hall, learning how to write this essay.
If I’m questioning this process, I wonder how local bystanders are handling this. It must be an interesting sight seeing hundreds of girls dressed up with nametags around their necks and a map glued to their faces as they rush to the next house. I asked my friend, Sydney, who lives down the hall how she felt about rush and why she dropped after the first round. Her main reason for dropping was that the whole thing was too time consuming and expensive. Sydney said she didn’t like the idea of being judged after only ten minutes. How could they know whether they liked you or didn’t like you after only ten minutes? She felt they were judging on purely superficial things during first round such as looks and the clothes you had on. “To be honest I don’t even know how the rush process goes, but I do know that I’m happy I’m not a part of it anymore. Its crazy and so intimidating. You see girls just lining up in front of all these houses and I couldn’t help but compare myself to them. The only reason I wish I did it is so I can go out with y’all, but I know there should be more to it than wanting a social life.” And she was right. I knew I wasn’t just going through rush for a social life. There was more to it. She was also right about the rush process being crazy. The first part of the rush process is getting assigned to your “New Mother”, also known as your Rho Omega. A Rho Omega is a sister from one of the houses, but during the rushing process she is neutral. All evidence of her in a sorority are taken down or covered up. They are neutral so they can guide you and give you advice without being bias. Your Rho is the one you go to for help of any kind, whether you need a mint, tissue, tampon, brush, perfume, bobby pin, or Band-Aid, she is always there for you. Your Rho has you fill out thirty-three notecards with your name and number, my number being 1047, which we gave to the sororities after each visit. I’ve been told that they either put a yes, no, or maybe on your card and discuss you after you leave. Rush is a two-week process that is composed of four different parties. Each party, besides preference parties, is spread out over a two-day period. At the end of each party the women are to report back to the Union to rank their houses. How you’ve ranked the houses and how they rank you determine whether you are called back to the sorority or not. The first party is called “mixer.” Mixers are twenty-minute visits to every sorority on campus. The second party is called “second set.” Second sets are forty-minute visits to, at the most, eleven houses. With longer time, the conversations are longer and more in depth compared to mixers. A tour of the house is given and a skit is performed. The third party is called “third sets.” Third sets are very similar to second sets. They are forty-minute long visits to, at the most, seven houses. On this round they explain their philanthropy and how they partake in it. The fourth and final round is called “preference parties,” known as “pref. parties.” Pref. parties are hour-long visits to, tops, three houses. On pref. parties you have to go through tradition ceremonies that explain what...
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