I didn’t come into Tulane knowing whether or not I wanted to rush a Panhellenic sorority. I knew that Greek Life has a significant presence on campus and thought that it might be a good option, but I come from a family where none of the women have been in sororities. Throughout my first semester, I debated back and forth on whether or not to go through recruitment. I loved the close friends I had made, but also wanted to branch out. It seemed so overwhelming to keep making friends with new people, and I thought Greek life was the only way to do it.
Ultimately, I decided to go through recruitment; I wanted to take advantage of this structured opportunity to make friends. I booked my flight to come back to school a week early, and arrived on campus eager, excited, and slightly nervous. Unpopular opinion: I actually enjoyed the rush process. While the days were exhausting, I talked to so many new people each day. I was able to glean insight into Tulane from older girls in my majors and from my state, hearing about opportunities to take advantage of, courses and professors to take, etc. I made friends with the girls next to me in line and had really great conversations with actives at every house. I worked hard not to take anything personally when I didn’t get invited back to certain houses. In the end, I really believe that “everything happens for a reason,” as cheesy as it sounds.
During the week, I tried to trust my gut. I made sure to be aware of how comfortable I felt at every house and tried to remember that if I wasn’t totally in love with a house, it wouldn’t be worth it. I told myself that I would drop if at any time throughout the process something didn’t feel right, but subconsciously thought it would never end up happening. I was wrong!
I ended up dropping on “Pref Day,” when each girl only goes to two final houses. I liked both of the houses on my schedule, but that morning I had a sort of awakening. Throughout the week I had heard from girls in almost every house that they were still involved in tons of other things, best friends with girls who weren’t in Greek Life or were a part of other sororities. Greek Life wasn’t the only defining part of their college experiences.
That’s why I knew it would be okay to not be a part of Tulane’s Greek Life. I realized that there isn’t a huge divide here between Greeks and non-Greeks, and although it would probably be super fun to be in a sorority, it didn’t seem to fit with my belief system. This is not to say that I am judging anyone who is in a sorority; many of my best friends here and almost all my friends from home went Greek. I just didn’t think it was the right decision for me. I also didn’t want to break the bank for experiences and friends that would probably still come naturally. And I wanted to leave room in my life for possibilities that I’d have time for if I wasn’t committed to a sorority.
Although it was hard to see all the Bid Day Instagram posts, even just a few weeks later, my worries about feeling “left out” of Greek Life and being unable to make friends have disappeared. I’ve already made new friends this semester who are in a variety of sororities and those who aren’t involved in Greek Life at all. Plus, I managed to keep a couple thousand dollars of my hard-earned savings in my pocket.
Cover Photo: Carolyn Ellis
Rachel Gothelf is a freshman from the Bay Area, California. She’s planning on majoring in Political Science and Communication with a minor in Spanish, and has joined the Crescent as a College Life contributor for the purpose of having fun writing about her experiences here at Tulane!