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From Greek to Non-Greek.

I have been bursting at the seams to write this article – but I had to wait until after Recruitment. I know some “PNMs” may not have had the best week last week or bid day yesterday. If your student didn’t get the house they wanted – or was released from recruitment all together – I have news for you: It’s all going to be okay! As a parent, you're hurt, because your child is hurt. And for many of you the whole “rush” process is brand new. You may have never been in a sorority or fraternity and feeling overwhelmed at the whole phenomenon known as Ole Miss Rush.

Let me tell you my story – and I hope you and your student can sit back (sometime soon) and put things in perspective.

I was the only person from my high school to attend Ole Miss in 2001. I didn’t know a soul and I was so excited to take this journey on my own. I was mostly unaware of the insanity that was “Ole Miss Rush” – and 17 years ago it was not as hard core as it is now, but it was definitely still a huge deal. I got a couple of rec letters written but, beyond that, was totally unprepared. I just did my thing – went to class, made friends in the dorm, learned my way around Oxford, experimented with “night life”, went on a few dates – all without trying to “impress” any upperclassmen girls or put on a front that I was anyone other than “Emily.”

When rush came around, I was immediately cut down to three houses. Maybe it was the lack of rec letters. Maybe it was because I was in the band (which, if that’s the case, shame on all who can’t look past the “band nerd” stereotype.) Maybe it was because I didn’t go out of my way to be a different person that who I really am. However – it didn’t bother me at all that I got three houses. I attended skit round (the second of the total three rounds back in the day), I had fun, and I pledged a sorority on bid day 2001. I had several friends in the house – many with whom I still keep in touch.

But, by March 2002 – right before my Freshman year was over – I called my parents with some news. I had decided to write a deactivation letter to my chapter president. I had never quit anything before in my life, but we had already started prepping for next year’s Rush, and I knew I could not devote enough time (or mental energy) to the idea of recruitment. Spending months, learning these potential new members, interacting, and trying to form relationships and opinions of whether they would be a good fit in our house was not who “Emily” was. And I’m glad I held true to who I was.

Fast forward 17 years. Guess what…I have a GREAT life…not being Greek didn’t ruin my college years, my post college years, and certainly doesn’t affect me now! I married a GREAT man (my college sweetheart, who was also non-Greek), I have 2 BEAUTIFUL babies and I’ve had an amazing career…all without being part of a Greek “sisterhood.” Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking sorority girls as a whole. It’s just not for everyone, or especially me. I had several great friends in college from every house and I as an adult, I still have friends who are involved as alumni advisors to their houses now. Naturally, there are some great things about being Greek, but there are great things about anything you do or do not do! It’s all about living where your feet are.

But if Greek was in their mind, and today they are dealing with the unexpected, please hear me when I say it’s not the end of the world! There are so many things on campus to be a part of. What a great place to be! It’s a wonderful thing that recruitment is delayed. Your student has had time to meet a crew of friends, all before having Greek letters. Also – they can still hang out with their friends that perhaps are now in sororities – it’s not like they can’t talk to them anymore!

So, no matter what happened last week, tell them to keep their chin up. Their college career has JUST begun! There are so many experiences to be had, friendships to be formed and lessons to be learned. Tell them not to be discouraged and certainly not to let this define them. They’re stronger than that.

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