My gosh. It’s been 19 years since I pledged. And while I know somethings have changed, I don’t feel like it’s really transformed a whole lot either.
In 1999, a student coming from Florida, was like a weird foreigner stepping foot on US for the first time. I knew going in, that I would have a tough rush, because I was not a “true Southerner.” Let’s be honest, Florida is just not the South. And only those from Florida can make a claim like that. It’s a modge-podge of people who finally sought warmer weather and a guarantee of no blizzards. After all, that was my family. We moved from New Jersey to Florida after the “Blizzard of 96” dropped nearly 40”of snow in two days.
Naturally, I still get the question “How did you wind up in Oxford – being from NJ and FL?.” But during the Fall if 1999, I was most certainly an outsider. But those who know me, know that doesn’t scare me. It inspires me to help forge change.
Well, then I also had another thing, kinda sorta working against me for a “rush” experience. I was a triple, in-house legacy at AOPi. Yes, my mom, aunt and at the time, my sister were all AOPis. My sister really worked hard with her friends at other houses to ensure I had a successful rush (thanks, Lizzie.) But I thought that 1. Being from Florida, and 2. Being an in-house legacy, would make rush difficult.
However, what a surprise I got. Either my sister did a really good job bargaining chips for me to get asked back at houses, or rush was working as it was supposed to.
After the first round (coca-cola parties) I was asked back to 6 of 9 houses. I had to pick 5. Then after 2nd round I was asked to “pref” 3 houses (AOPi, Tri Delt and Pi Phi). Kendall previously wrote about how rush happened exactly like it was supposed to, and it totally does. Of course I felt at home at AOPi, and TriDelt seemed like a great house too (but I only knew 1 girl in the house) and Pi Phi, I didn’t know anyone.
That night when I went to submit my list of order of preference, I remember sitting in my car and saying “will l regret this decision of going where my mom went, my aunt went, my sister currently was?” I knew it meant more to them, than to me. It was an easy decision when I took a step back.
Funny thing is, I still take that same question into practice when I’m struggling to find answers “Will I regret this decision?”
I think the Greek system does something for everyone. For my sister, it gave her an awesome foundation of confidence and life skills (she learned the difference between a dishwasher and a washing machine - seriously). For me, it gave me the opportunity to grow within a leadership position and prove that out-of-staters are just as loved as the in-staters.
Last week, I was SO proud when I was behind a Jeep with New Jersey tags and a Kappa Delta sticker proudly affixed to its window. It just goes to show, anybody from anywhere can come to Ole Miss and find the right home within Greek life.