When you get to Penn, you hear a million things about sorority rush. One girl says it’s the best thing she ever did, while another didn’t even think about trying it. One girl realized it wasn’t for her and dropped out, while another found her best friends. The one thing you won’t hear is what the girl who got cut has to say. I'm that girl.
But I'm not the only one—about a third of Penn women who rush ultimately get cut. Why won’t they admit it? Because getting cut from rush is embarrassing. It’s 1,200 girls telling you you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not funny enough and not interesting enough to be their sister. I can’t think of a rejection more painful during your first year of college, so when it happened to me, I didn’t know what to do with myself.
My first reaction was disbelief. I couldn’t believe I’d been one of those girls, one of the third that gets cut. That stat stuck with me from my recruitment orientation. It was likely the first time the PNMs (potential new members) heard this number and probably the last.
Surely, I couldn’t be the girl who slipped through the cracks. I watched my best friend get into the sorority she wanted, I watched another friend try to cope with being cut, too, and I watched many acquaintances make statuses about AXO being the way to go or “APhi for me.” I watched in silence, and when asked what had happened to me, where my bid was, I pretended I had dropped. “It just wasn’t for me,” “I didn’t get called back anywhere I liked, so I got out,” “I just got bored.” Any excuse that came to me when asked, I regurgitated.
A week later, I was crying in my dorm room bed, quietly and at night so my roommates didn’t hear me. I cried because I felt more lost that week than I had my first week at Penn. How could I identify without those two or three Greek letters? I hadn’t gotten very involved in extracurriculars, and now I was a girl who had been cut from the one activity everyone seemed to do.
It wasn't very dramatic—being told I hadn't been called back to any more houses. I was sitting on my dorm room floor the day between Philanthropy Round and Pref when I got a phone call from a number I didn't recognize. When I picked it up and a woman from the Panhel Offce introduced herself, I braced myself. "Unforunately" is the only word that I really remember her saying, the rest a blur. "Thanks for letting me know," I uttered before she hung up. I definitely hadn't meant that.
The next morning, I started to reconsider all the groups on campus that I'd been taking for granted. Now was the time to finally go to those meetings that I'd been ignoring for a semester.
By the end of freshman year, I’d found who I was again. I started writing more and got deeply involved with Colleges Against Cancer. I realized that waiting for rush to tell me who I was and where I belonged wouldn’t have helped me at all.
I kept my friends from first semester and made new friends in my new groups. I started hearing the truth about getting cut from older girls: some people just get forgotten about, some people unfairly pull for others and some people ultimately just have bad luck with rush.
I’d like to thank the 1,200 girls that didn’t notice me or didn’t think I was cool enough; you gave me the opportunity to figure out who I am.
Getting cut isn’t the end of the world. It sucks; there’s no way around that. You’ll feel rejected, but that feeling won’t last forever. Someone needs to say that because everyone acts like getting cut isn’t a possibility. It happens, it sucks and then you get over it.
I joined the new sorority, ADPi, my sophomore year, but my affiliation is now a mere afterthought. It doesn’t shape my schedule or determine my friends. My affiliation hasn’t dictated what I do or who I am at Penn. For that, I couldn’t be happier.
I’m a writer, a philanthropist, a student—anything I fucking want to be, and no group of girls could have told me that. I’m not saying fuck the Greek system, I’m just saying “who cares?” So what if you get cut? You know who you are. Go be that girl.
If you liked this piece, you should check out The 9 Most Memorable Quotes from Rush Convocation.