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Sorority recruitment: Struggling to stay true to ourselves

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My friends and I spent the weekend of Sept. 6 in a whirlwind of emotion, anxiety and perfume.

It was sorority recruitment weekend here at SLU, and my personal experience with it consisted of so many ups and downs that a rollercoaster would likely feel threatened by it. While bid day—the day that we finally found out which sisterhood we were accepted into and ran home to our new sorority—was cloaked in raw excitement, I found the rest of the process to be rather exhausting and psychologically trying. From the conversations I’ve had with other girls who rushed, I’m not alone in this feeling.

Here’s the thing about recruitment: you’re constantly being judged. And while the ultimate goal is to find a group of girls who will build you up for the rest of your college experience, I felt as if the process itself sought more to tear us down.

I saw more than a few girls sobbing relentlessly in the hallway when the chapter that they felt a strong connection with dropped them after the first night. The nagging questions of what we did wrong to forfeit a return invitation were solemnly swirling in our minds. Was it the way that we looked? The way that we dressed? Did we come across as awkward, unsure, too “this” or too “that?”

Being unwanted by even one group of girls can have a pretty detrimental effect on a person’s confidence. After all, the craving for acceptance is embedded in our nature and can’t just be ignored.

As much as a positive attitude and an open mind can help guide the recruitment process along a smoother path, the truth of the matter is that rejection is painful. Receiving a little slip of paper each morning that tells you how many cliques had turned their backs on you feels like a bit of a slap in the face.

I get it. Not every group is for everyone. Each sorority revolves around a different style of community, and every single individual can’t be expected to fit that mold. The differences amongst chapters are what contribute to the beautiful vibrancy and diversity of the Panhellenic community here at SLU. The issue here is not that there is a problem with the way we are viewing the sororities and their decisions; rather, the problem is with the way that we are viewing ourselves.

Over the span of that weekend, I sat next to a multitude of anxiety-ridden girls and literally watched their confidence fall out of their eyes. We ache so deeply to feel like we belong that we would fall to our knees in order to impress. It’s a deeply rooted issue, one that resides in human instinct and one that is going to be incredibly hard to combat.

But we have to at least try.

The confidence will come when we stop trying to whittle ourselves down, to mute our voices, to dilute our truths for the sole sake of fitting in.

I realized this about two days into my own recruitment journey. I found myself acting bubbly, when I really felt exhausted, and maintaining surface level conversations to avoid the vulnerability of speaking out about my passions. At one event, mid conversation, I realized what I was doing. I made a conscious effort to stop making a conscious effort, to just be myself and let my people come to me. I couldn’t be happier with where I ended up.

The moral of the story?

When you are your authentic self, and you believe in the value of your own being, your self-assurance will soon follow suit. In turn, social situations will no longer hold any power over you. Being loved for who you are will always feel better than being accepted based on the image you project.

Let’s all take a lesson from sorority season and remind ourselves that our worth lies within us.

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Sorority recruitment: Struggling to stay true to ourselves