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Posted by / 18-Aug-2020 09:25

I, like so many other girls rushing, had decided some of my preferences before I even stepped foot into a sorority house.

Still, I try to use the process to my advantage, remembering where I had the best conversations and made the most memorable impressions. During recruitment, we’re told to ignore what we’ve heard and read online about the different chapter houses.

One of the Panhellenic Execs speaks into the microphone to make a muffled announcement and reinforce the process’s rules. The hard truth is, as much as they might have tried to evaluate me based on the substance of our interaction, they had to rely on stereotypes as well: what being from New York City and having attended private school says about my status and how much I party, how my student–journalism background might jell with their organization, how my blonde hair and blue eyes will influence their image, and how the designers I’m wearing reflect my family’s bank account.

Then she says: “Your schedules are available now.” Our thumbs feverishly refresh the app. I’ve been cut from five sororities, and asked back to three, one of which I ranked as my last choice. According to Andrea, sororities use varying methods to rank the girls they meet. I thought we were supposed to be asked back to at least four! During so many moments in my life as a woman, I wonder what is wrong with me.

An Instagram bio decorated with Greek letters, hundreds of new Facebook friends, social relevance, an extensive lineage of big “sisters” to offer unconditional support. Others found their home in the so–called “bottom tier." And some—like me—got lost along the way.

This is the promise of gaining membership into one of Penn’s eight sororities. I emerged from rush without a sorority, but I did get a front row seat to the elusive “process.” The first day of rush is 14 hours long. on Tuesday, we’ve doused ourselves in perfume and plowed our heeled booties through the slush, marching towards Irvine Auditorium.

“I’ve been told that it’s better to try to rush and drop out rather than not have any experience with it,” she says.

This is something I wished was clarified to me during rush, throughout which, I was reminded to be myself when it felt like my identity was something to be ashamed of.

We use an app called PNM (Potential New Member) Companion to rank the different houses.

Since it’s the first day, we rank six sorority houses as our first choice, and then two as our second and third choices.

I laugh at unfunny jokes and nod my head at stories to which I’m barely listening. The girl I’m talking to helps me collect my belongings and escorts me to the door. But also for superficial reasons, ones that not many girls are willing to admit.

It’s like speed–dating for friends, or a job interview where I have no idea how I’m being assessed. Walking down Locust in a Greek letter–emblazoned sweatshirt makes a bigger statement than any designer label.

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It proves a girl’s social prowess: that she has cool, hot friends. In the seat next to me is Gillian Teitelbaum (E '21).