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