Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Rush That Wasn't

I grew up in the South, and as anyone from that area knows, being in a sorority in college is the thing to do. I think some of the schools are 80-90% greek or something like that. When I was a senior in high school, my boyfriend was at Ole Miss and in a fraternity. I'd go down to visit and stay with some of his friends that were in sororities, so I was fairly certain I'd have no trouble getting in. Afterall, it's who you know, right?

A few weeks before I was supposed to leave for Ole Miss I got a wild hair and decided to go to college 2000 miles away. I packed my bags and left within a couple of weeks. The foremost thing on my mind was making it in time for Rush Week. I didn't know any of the sorority girls, but I'm basically pretty friendly and outgoing and have never had trouble making friends so I wasn't worried.

During Rush I went out with several of girls from different sororities and a good time was had by all. I picked my two favorites, then saturday morning I jumped up to go to the University to get my bid. I was so excited, I thought for sure I'd get a bid from my number one pick, but I'd resigned myself to be happy if the bid came from my second choice.

They called my name, and I went into the office to get my bid. Only there wasn't one. They called me in to tell me I didn't get a bid. Not one of the sororities wanted me. I was crushed heartbroken devastated. The girls I met tried to soften the blow by telling me it was because I didn't go to high school there, I didn't know any of the older members, etc. It didn't matter though, I thought my life was over.

Luckily I soon realized my life wasn't over. I dragged myself out of bed went to school and realized that although there were plenty of greeks on campus, it wasn't the norm as it is in the South. I even stayed friends with some of the girls I went thru rush with.

However, I've never forgotten how it feels to be shunned by a group of people with whom you want to belong. I still dread having to be voted on for anything. I had to apply to be on the Board for our local Habitat for Humanity, and these old thoughts of rejection were awakened once more.

What I've learned from this is that sometimes rejection is inevitable. Not only am I on the Board of HforH, I'm also the Family Selection Chair. This is a gut-wrenching job and as much as I love it, I also dread it. It is my groups responsibility to decide who is qualified to get the Habitat house. It's like trying to decide who lives or dies. Luckily there are straighforward guidelines we use to deselect families, but it's still hard. We work side by side with the families applying for the Habitiat house, and get to know them very well, inside and out, acheivements and skeletons in the closet. Some families are easier than others to omit from the running. We occassionally encounter people who abuse the system and are only looking for a hand out. I explain that a Habitat house is not a free house. There is still a mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc. There is also the general upkeep of the house that many of our applicants have never had to deal with.  Habitat is about giving needy people a helping hand. We are about providing decent housing to people from all walks of life that otherwise would not be able to do it on their own.

The house that we are building this summer had 19 applicants. Only one family can be selected, so 18 families were faced with rejection. What will become of them? Honestly I'm not sure. I'm thinking of the young mother with 3 kids living in a beat-up trailor in a drug-infested neighborhood. Or what about the familiy of 4 with a son that has a heart condition and the father stays home to take care of him and can't make ends meet. There was also the grandmother that took in her neices and nephews when their mother died so that 8 people are living in a 2 bedroom house.

I could go on an on, but it's depressing me. Rejection is all around us, and to most of us it's nothing new. You pick yourself up, shake yourself off, and resolve to do better next time. I guess if getting rejected by a sorority is the worse thing that happens to me, my life isn't so bad after all.

13 comments:

McGillicutty said...

Oh how well put, I love this post, I have walked in your shoes although never tried out for a sorority, just other general stuff in high school and in my younger years. This is one thing I dread for my kids and if I could ever prevent them getting that feeling I sooo would... however... it is a learning experience and they should feel it to know that we don't always win the hearts and minds of others and it's just fine! Life goes on.
As for the H4H people, let's hope they make it some other way!

Medora said...

Yes, rush is a busy, crazy nightmare, especially if you don't get a bid at the end of all that. It looks like you found where you belong - and others benefit from what you are doing, as well.

willow said...

There are so many needy families right now. I am counting my lucky stars. I truly have much to be thankful for.

Hit 40 said...

With all the empty foreclosed homes....

why are they semi homeless?? Just doesn't make sense

Elle said...

Learning to deal with rejection is part of what makes us who we are. Still sucks though.

Loredana said...

WOW, this story made me realy sad. Not the sorority part, not that that wasn't sad, but it wasn't humanely sad like the 'habitat for humanity' part. It's sad that any rejection takes place in life either towards us or towards others and when it happens there is nothing to absolutely do but learn from it and try again if that's what you really want.

I hate thinking that people suffer, it makes me real, real sad to think that thate are a million people out there just like the ones you described that are waiting for a helping hand. But what keeps me going is thinking and I really believe this-they'll get their hand out one day. That's the only thing that makes me go forward with this life...HOPE!

otin said...

You really are a good hearted person, I think that is why I always look for your posts! Rejection does hit hard, but in the grand scheme of things, my rejection has been relatively mild.

Carbunkle Trumpet said...

I can't see you wearing a bow in your hair driving a BMW and being at Ole Miss.

I loved that I did not attend the big 3 (Ole Miss, Tenn, Alabama) and got to meet people from other parts of the country.

Funky Art Queen said...

Very timely, I'm working on a book proposal and I totally fear but understand rejection is possible. I know that you have to get through the nays to get to the yays! Great post.

Optimistic Pessimist said...

Sigh...they didn't know what they passed!

Ice Queen said...

Personally, I never felt the need to join a sorority but I see where you're coming from.

That must be tough deciding who gets in and who doesn't. At least you have the comfort in knowing that you are helping someone.

Hit 40 said...

I forgot to comment on your cruel experience. I didn't have the $$ to rush. I always felt like I missed something. Now I feel better that I didn't have the $$$ for it.

Dara said...

I was in a sorority and I still felt left out at times. When we had to do rush, I never got very many rushees, apparently they decided I wasn't a great rusher...not sure how they decided that, but it always made me feel left out knowing they thought I wasn't good enough to rush potential members into my own sorority