To Rush or Not to Rush: Pro-GDI

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Olivia Field

After returning to campus for my spring semester of freshman year, refreshed and renewed from winter break, I was slapped in the face by my new reality. I decided not to rush a sorority, and now I was a GDI (a god damn independent, someone who chooses not to participate in Greek life).

I didn’t have a new pair of converse sneakers to doodle on, my room wasn’t trashed with glitter and I was free to do whatever I wanted on Monday evenings (the day chapter meetings take place). Although I would be lying if I said I never had moments of doubt, I can now say with confidence that my geed-ness has allowed me to flourish at Wake Forest.

For the first few weeks of that spring semester, it felt like one’s status within Greek life was going to be a pervasive force in campus life. Within a few weeks, however, the novelty of the system wore off, and it became clear that being in a sorority or fraternity is only one facet of people’s experiences at Wake Forest. I continued being friends with people in Greek Life, just as they continued being friends with GDI’s.

The way that I think of it, Greek Life provides a friend group just like any other student organization. So, joining a group like the Old Gold & Black (OGB) provided me with a diverse social circle composed of students from different grades and places. The feeling of belonging on campus can be defined in a multitude of ways — Greek life being just one of them. Joining a student organization like OGB, trying out for a club sport or becoming part of a co-ed fraternity like Alpha Phi Omega (APO) or Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi) is an even better way of building community, as you actually have something in common other than your Greek letters. 

Another reason that I chose not to rush is simply that I don’t love the institution. The idea that I have to sell myself and my personality to a group of people judging me based on a few conversations rubs me the wrong way — that’s not how friends are naturally made, and it seems forced. Personally, I am proud of myself for deciding not to participate in the rush process. With all of that said, I am clearly not speaking from experience. I have many friends who are in Greek life and have had overwhelmingly positive and empowering experiences. All I can say is that I am happy with the choice I made, and you have that choice too. 

Ultimately, one of the most persuasive reasons to not join Greek life, and the one that initially pushed me not to, is that it costs a boat load of money. Depending on the organization, you can pay hundreds to thousands of dollars a year to participate. Echoing my above argument, I truly dislike the principle of needing to pay money to make friends. But mostly, I just couldn’t (and still can’t) afford paying those dues on top of every other college expense. 

So, whether or not you choose to rush is up to you, but just know that it’s okay not to be a part of Greek life. The most important thing is that you surround yourself with people who support you and make you happy, however that comes about.