The not-so-secret diary of the bid-less

By on February 11, 2010

It is after midnight on Saturday and the phone didn’t ring. I am nonplussed. No call. No e-mail. Nothing?

This semester, I decided to rush a fraternity. Yes, it seems absolutely insane. I am the most cynical person in the world. Admittedly, cynicism is one of the uglier traits I possess. I have been all too vocal on the very subject. But for one week, I tried to turn over a new leaf. I tried to do something different. I tried to be someone I was not.

Rushing was everything I expected and more. It felt forced and awkward. I made every attempt at meeting new people, and I did meet a lot of nice members of the fraternity. Most were pleasant to be around and I would have liked to spend more time with them. I put myself out there every night. Perhaps I could have done more, but in general, I don’t feel the need to sell myself. I am who I am. The entire process never felt quite right for me, which I couldn’t see until now.

Initially, I was apprehensive about joining Greek life, due to fear that I would be judged. I have spent the better part of my teenage years being judged and teased by my peers.  I was told I was not good enough. I never did get on that soccer team or get cast in the play or become the editor of my high school newspaper. I guess rejection comes in all shapes and sizes, and follows me wherever I go.

I see the numerous benefits of Greek life for the work sororities and fraternities accomplish through their various philanthropies. I know first-hand from friends how much it has improved their college experience. I wanted to get involved and see for myself how great it was. Unfortunately, I was not given that chance.

I must have misunderstood when it was stated the evening before that those who came out for the fraternity would be phoned regardless of receiving a bid or not. And I know others who were left with the same impression as well. Three evenings with the fraternity and one interview later, I thought the least I deserved was a phone call informing me I didn’t make the cut. An e-mail would have been fine, as well.

So, what can I suggest for this fraternity as they approach this in the future? At the very least, an e-mail thanking prospective members for seeking interest would have sufficed. That would have been the gentlemanly thing to do. It bothers me that I spent so much time with one group only to be tossed aside so nonchalantly. I am human, if anyone forgot. I found it cowardly that not one person had the common courtesy to let me know in some manner, which has become the impetus for sharing my experience with everyone.

Throughout the last week, I had come to appreciate the brotherhood and its mostly welcoming environment. My opinion has not changed in that regard; however, I felt the final outcome was hardly brotherly and not fraternal in any way.
And had I received a bid, I would probably still relay this same message, but with a different approach. If it wasn’t me, then it would have been someone else who hadn’t heard directly and that isn’t right.

This experience could turn me off from ever trying something new again or putting myself out there in search of new opportunities; however, as one friend told me, that would make for quite a sad life. And I completely agree. I will continue to explore new avenues of involvement where I don’t need an invite to sit at the “cool” kids’ table or need to be best friends forever with members of an organization to get in.

My experience may read like a laundry list of complaints, but I’m content not associating myself with any exclusive organization whether that pertains to Greek life or something entirely separate. I could have predicted this scenario, and did as much before I stepped out of my comfort zone when I decided to rush. I have been excluded my entire life, so I’m not sure what possessed me to try to join an organization that judges my qualifications without really knowing what I have to offer. I was naive to think this would be different.

Fortunately, I did not spend that Friday night alone. Three friends hung out with me as I waited for the phone to ring. I was surprised how supportive they were when I revealed I was rushing this fraternity. They told me it was the right one (if there even is a “right” one). However, as time passed that night, they appeared far more agitated than me. It seemed their impression of the fraternity changed drastically for the worse.

I know there will be those who will defend the system and share how much they love Greek life. And that’s great. I am glad there are those who have reaped the benefits of becoming a cog in the greater Greek machine. If I am ever asked about my opinion toward Greek life on campus, I can at least be honest now. Any and all preconceived notions I left at the door when I went to a Greek event came true.

I would not discourage any student from going out for Greek life in the future. However, I would tell that student to not let anyone make you think you are inadequate or that you are not good enough. I would never want that person to question their sense of self-worth and importance to the Quinnipiac community. I personally did not feel this way, but there are several men and women who did not receive bids, who may feel discouraged. I want them all to know they have a lot to offer and there are numerous other organizations actively seeking members. This piece is intended for you, the bid-less.

Through the period of waiting, I realized that I don’t need to be part of a larger group of people to feel like I belong. I was in the current company of friends who genuinely care for my well-being. And the best part about the three who stayed with me? They come free.


About Matt Busekroos

Matt Busekroos
Twitter: @mattybooz
Year: 2012
Major: Print journalism
Hometown: Shrewsbury, Mass.
Dream Job: Writer for an entertainment trade magazine


  1. Matt

    February 11, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    This feels a lot like a journal entry and not like an opinion piece. After the first three paragraphs, I understood that you were upset about not being offered a bid, but why did you continue to say the same thing three to four more times? Is the Chronicle even editing articles anymore? In my eyes, this article was written for the wrong reasons; this article is written as a vendetta towards a fraternity and not as an opinion piece. Where are the opinions? It’s just a petty attempt for attention about how one individual did not get what he wanted. We all try and fail, but we learn values and lessons from our failures. Where is the lesson? Was it the jab at Greek Life in general about how they “pay for friends?” How is this an opinion piece? Hell, how is this journalism?

    I can see where your frustration comes from, and trust me if that happened to me, I would be upset too. However, if the Chronicle continues to push these barely edited, narrow sighted articles off as journalism, then they continue to lack all the credibility they have tried to gain back since the entire staff left two years ago.

  2. Paden Livingston

    February 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Dear Distinguished Readers, My Fellow Bobcats and Matt Busekroos,
    I completely agree with your right to express your opinion of Greek Life here at the Q and you present your opinion well; however, it is painted at the expense of the Greek organizations on campus. While it is well within your rights to do so, it is also well within my rights to respectfully disagree.
    I feel it necessary first, however, to explain what being in Greek Life means to me. Being in Greek Life is not only about the friendships made to share life experiences and vicissitudes. The latter reason, in my opinion, makes up but a small aspect of why most people become a part of Greek life. People new to Greek life soon realize after a few weeks the purpose of joining was not due to a “need to be a part of a larger group of people to feel like they belong.” Being a member of a Greek organization is a challenge; a challenge to better oneself, especially in terms of my fraternity. We recognize the foundation of bright young leaders and, through our rituals, and practices we strive, in all our efforts, to help those young men reach that potential. Being a member of a Greek organization has enriched my life in ways I consider both intangible and ineffable. Intangible due to the lessons I have learned that cannot be duplicated by any other organization and ineffable in terms of these lessons being taught in confidence and rituals among brothers, with the overall goal being to advance our local communities, as well as, in the grand scheme, humankind.
    In your article you claim, “And the best part about the three who stayed with me? They come free.” In other words, you cherish the friendship those men gave you, which I respect as well, but mainly because they did not pay to be a member of the same organization as you. When joining any organization, yes, it is customary to pay dues but in actuality, a solid portion of the Greek dues paid go directly to our national headquarters. Another way in which our dues are distributed is through our budgets so we can have the money to pay for philanthropic and social experiences to share with our friends inside and outside of the organization. The Gentlemen of Tau Kappa Epsilon do not get checks cut to them for walking up the mountain for Alzheimer’s, nor do the women of Alpha Chi Omega throw Frisbees for an income. It is the feelings of our hearts that guide our hands of charity. All the events facilitated by Greek Life that impact greatly upon our community would not be attainable were it not for the dues paid, which many refer to as “buying friends”.
    While I agree that there has been some inconsistencies in the rush process and new member voting, I am going to respectfully disagree with your point of “free friends”. Friends, in general, are free and not paid for. I do not give the people I call my friends a biweekly check, although I’m sure many feel they deserve one. My brothers are all my friends, and chose to be so on their own reasoning and accord, not because of monetary reasons. The reason why we refer to one another as “brother” or “sister”, and not friend, is due to the rituals and lessons we share in confidence within our organizations that will keep each member, not only at Quinnipiac, but with any national fraternity or sorority, forever in the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood.

    Cheers and Respect,

    Paden J. Livingston Quinnipiac University Bobcat 2011 Brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon CT-E

    • cindy

      February 13, 2010 at 1:40 am

      Have your brothers informed you of your fashion faux pas?

      Like that indiana jones hat you’ve been wearing?

  3. Heraclitus

    February 12, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Truth indeed, Mr. Livingston. The philanthropy and quality of fraternity men are both well-documented. But in the eyes of one bid-less, certain fraternity men lied and left him hanging. These men, prided on bettering, left him worse off.

    It could be just plain forgetfulness or a clerical error from the fraternity that left the bid-less with a bad taste. But he’s well-warranted in calling it–well, I’ll be blunt–a bitch move.


  4. Lesley

    February 13, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I felt he made excellent points and there are definately some things that the Greek system needs to look into. If they say they are going to give you a call either way THEY SHOULD GIVE YOU A CALL! That is not showing respect for the person who tried to be a brother in their fraternity. He isnt mad that he didnt make it hes mad that he was waiting for hours like they told him to do and he didnt even get a call. And Mr. Livingston you sound like your giving a speech at one of your frat meetings. Try being a real person and see there are some flaws in the Greek system that need to be addressed. Not everyone wants to be molded into something they are not . This is well written and for anyone to think otherwise should go read the NY Times because that is apparantely what they are looking for.

    • Paden Livingston

      February 15, 2010 at 11:11 am

      those who join greek life dont get molded by others. they mold their own futures guided by the principles of the faternity or sorority. each person is there own individual is a law of the universe and adheard to in Greek Life and every person is real. The person standing next to you is just as real as a person in the townships of South Africa.

      • love it

        February 15, 2010 at 2:08 pm

        maybe in your fantasy world.

        get real.

  5. Paden Livingston

    February 15, 2010 at 11:02 am

    You all seem to be missing the point here. In no regards am i agreeing or disagreeing with the moajority of material written in the article, but i dont agree with the thinking that greeks pay for friends. In no way am i adressing the organization or functions of greek life. I simply gave my own perspective on Greek life and disagreed that we dont pay for our friends life like the article inferred. If someone would like adress me and touch on that and not “bitch moves”, being a real person, or my hat, then I am willing to listen and respond.

  6. QU Jr

    February 16, 2010 at 2:36 am

    Granted you didn’t get a call saying you weren’t in and that was very unprofessional, but writing this thing (I refuse to call it an opinion piece or an article) is just terrible. The fraternities and sororities choose who they want they have probably judge you and decide if you would be a good fit or not for their organization. (QU did the same when they accepted you) That was also a low blow by saying that your friends come free implying that you pay for your friends by joining a fraternity. You may have to pay a membership fee but that is to continue to help running events and such I would assume as I am not part of a greek fraternity/sorority. This I feel was written primarily with the bitter taste in your mouth due to the lack of contact which wasn’t right, but to write this and post it is just stooping down even lower. Also, there are plenty of other organizations to help out the community that aren’t greek life. And finally, if anyone feels that they are worthless because an organization decided that they weren’t a right fit, I just think that’s pathetic. You are who you are and if others don’t like it then tough ****.

  7. estudiante

    February 16, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    alright Matt, I can understand you are upset you didn’t receive a bid, and hell I experienced the same thing when I rushed an organization over a year ago. Although I did receive a call that I got rejected, what I didn’t do was then make a 360 degree revolution, and insult the Greek system on the whole by insisting it is “paying for friends.”

    Now, you’ve made all the people in the Greek scene your enemies and offered everyone some of those sour grapes you are currently holding.

    First off, while yes you pay dues, you still have toc display the social skills to make your siblings want you as a friend. There do exist siblings in Greek organizations which aren’t terribly popular with their our organizations, that got a bid for miscellaneous reasons, such as wooing others really well, a Jeckyl/Hyde style personality switch at rush, GPA needs, etc.

    Second, you talk about rushing feeling forced and trying to get to know everyone in a small time frame. Indeed rush can be difficult, and one has to be comfortable and come off relaxed and outgoing with a high number of strangers. However, there is one thing you and anyone else looking to join Greek life ought to know: if you want a chance of getting into an organization, you should know at least 2 people from prior experiences in a positive manner before you rush AND you must do your utmost to be as outgoing as you can, say hi to as many siblings and strike up as many conversations as you can at rush.

    Third: Knowing what I know now, it would have served me well had I known these things when I rushed last year. But then again, if I had gotten in, then I would not be in the organization I am in today, which I feel is by far the best one on campus and superior by leaps and bounds to the one I rushed initially. So in a sense, I’m lucky I got rejected from the first one. But thank god I didn’t insult all of them thereafter, or I wouldn’t be in any.

    But one last thing: know what you are looking for when you go out for Greek life. Greek life has great benefits: you have increased chances to do philanthropy and community service; you have the chance to lead; to network; get into good social situations and be a part of something larger than yourself. And while it does cost money, that money goes to events and the national organization. What fraternities and sororities are NOT are social escort services! As I’ve said, you must display social skills to make others desire your company. Greek life does not go like “give some $, get friends.”

    And after all Matt, why did you want to “pay for friends” in the first place?

  8. just an observer

    February 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I agree with the posters that an opinion piece in a newspaper should refrain from personal attacks on organizations or the people that choose to be a part of that organization. Although by definition an opinion piece allows the author to express their thoughts in most cases those thoughts need to be supported by research.

    Rather than use this forum to insult people (or their hats) it would be better for students to get involved in what ever organization is the best fit for them. Greek Life, SIFE, Q30, SHADE, intramurals etc. All of these activities are ways to get out there and DO SOMETHING.

  9. bobcatfan

    February 18, 2010 at 12:38 am

    I think everyone is getting really heated up about this issue and overly defensive. I actually agree partially with both sides. Greek life, for those that are lucky enough to be accepted, is a great experience for those involved. I have heard numerous great things from many of my friends who are involved in the sororities and fraternities. They get to meet a lot of new people, form great relationships, and are able to do a lot of great things. However, there are a lot of people at QU who weren’t fortunate enough to have been accepted to one of the fraternities or sororities. And while some don’t care, others are going to be bothered by it.

    And honestly, I’m one of those people. I went out for recruitment my freshman year for the three sororities and didn’t even make it past the second round of rush. I also tried to join Alpha Delta Pi this fall, but I didn’t make the cut there either. Both times, I was extremely eager to be a part of one of the sororities as it seemed like a great opportunity for leadership and friendship and all the great things that come with Greek life. However, I don’t have the greatest social skills, especially for the short, mingling type activities that make up the recruitment process. I think that I have a lot to offer and that I would have made a great sister for any sorority, but it takes more than a few minutes of small talk to see this.

    And for those of you who say to just “get over it”, it’s not necessarily that easy. Rejection hurts. Yea, I’m not going to let it bother me for the rest of my life but it still stings. When you go into something like that where you feels as if you’re being judged and then you are rejected, it feels like you are missing something or lacking in some way.

    So bottom line is: Greek life is amazing for those who are able to be involved. But, it sucks for those who want to be involved and are barred entry.

    • learning experience

      February 18, 2010 at 3:05 am

      I think the reason people have the “get over it” mentality for this is that rejection from greek life shouldn’t affect you. Yeah it may suck but there are worse things out there. I mean me personally I’ve never gone for a fraternity, but I’ve asked girls out and gotten turned down. But you can’t let a rejection take over. Just take it as a learning experience especially regarding something like this. You tried, you may have failed, but if it was meant to be it was meant to be.