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
Luckily I soon realized my life wasn't over. I
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.