“Rush is a big deal in the South.”
That statement is something every girl hears when she decides to go to college and join a sorority in the South.
As a girl born and raised in a small town in southeast Missouri who decided to attend school at Ole Miss, I took that statement with a grain of salt. I never thought Rush Week would be as intense as everyone said it was.
But when I got to school, my thoughts soon began to slowly change.
There were a total of 1,477 girls who decided to rush. That number shocked me. That sea of girls roaming the streets during rush week was overwhelming, even to the people that drove by.
To prepare for rush, I took the normal preparations. I collected all of my recruitment letters, including my resume and pictures, put them together just like Pinterest told me to, and I sent them to every sorority. But when I got to Ole Miss, I realized there were apparently many more precautions I needed to take.
So every girl could be prepared for the most stressful week of her life, each girl was put into a small group to talk about the ins and outs of rush week. In my small group, I not only learned from our leader, but the other girls in my group, too.
I realized I was so behind in the game. These girls already knew how rush worked for the girls rushing and the girls recruiting. They already had each outfit picked out for every day, and it was steamed and pressed, hanging up in their closet. They knew which sorority they wanted to try to be in, and which ones they did not. I was amazed at how much they already knew and almost nervous for what was ahead of me.
As the week began to roll around, you could tell the atmosphere had changed around campus. Every girl was in the salon getting their hair done, their nails done, getting a spray tan, getting fully prepped for the week to come.
I, on the other hand, was selecting the outfits I supposedly needed to have chosen months before. I never stressed as I went into rush with an “open mind,” meaning I had no idea what sorority I wanted to be in. I just knew I would end up in the one I was meant to be in.
The first day of rush was on a Sunday 0 Greek Day. All 1,477 girls had on the same shirt, and they all looked as excited as anyone on Christmas morning. That day was the longest and most exhausting day anyone could imagine. It started at 8 a.m. and ended at around 9 p.m. No girl was allowed to have their phone, so no one knew exactly what time it was.
On Greek Day, each girl visits every sorority house. There are 11 at Ole Miss. And in each house, you repeat the same three answers over and over again – your name, where you are from, and what you are majoring in. You try to get to know a person and the sorority in a matter of minutes, and then you are off to the next house.
At the end of the day, you go to the Inn at Ole Miss to rank the houses, which helps indicate which houses you will attend the next day. Although that part sounds exciting, it is not.
You have to stand in an extremely long line, sometimes for hours, and you cannot say a word. If you talk, you are sent to the back of the line. Once that is over, you go back to your cozy bed and have the best sleep of your life.
The next day, Philanthropy round is at 3 p.m. sharp. Every girl goes to the Grove to receive their schedules, the houses they will be attending for that day. You are allowed to get up to eight houses back, but that is not the case for every girl.
Some girls got one house back, and some girls got no houses back – cut from recruitment. There were tears and screams of joy. Some girls dropped from recruitment themselves because they did not get the house they wanted back, and some were ecstatic because they got exactly what they wanted.
This roller coaster of emotions went on all the way to Saturday’s Preference Round. In this round, a girl can attend up to two houses, and you will hopefully get a bid from at least one of these houses the next day. You look your absolute best on this day with full hair and makeup wearing the $300 outfit you and your mom picked out during the summer.
You go into these houses discussing why you want to be in their sorority or why you are conflicted on which house you want to choose. But, at the end of day, you rank these houses by the one you want the most to the second best, and then it is all over, and you wait for the next day.
Sunday, Bid Day, is the day these girls dreamed about for years. They have worked hard for this day, and so have their moms. Every girl still in recruitment goes to the Grove to receive a bid from a sorority. But, it is not just the girls this time, it is parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, bystanders, visitors. People come from all over to watch the chaos of Bid Day at Ole Miss.
The atmosphere is filled with excitement and nerves. As each girl is handed their envelope, the butterflies flutter a little faster. Then, as the countdown begins and ends, girls rip open the envelopes to see what sorority they just joined.
Screams, tears, and laughter – all filled with overwhelming joy – immediately fill the air, and girls jump up and down, hug their friends, and start to run home, literally. Every girl runs and tackles their way to their new home, to a girl holding a sign with their name on it.
There is glitter and face paint everywhere. There are pictures to be taken. There is music blasting. But, the smile on every girl’s face is true happiness. The week is long, it is exhausting, it is stressful, but the satisfaction you feel when it is all over is worth it.
So, when deciding to rush in the South, be prepared, do not be stressed, and believe every word you hear.