Opinion | Don’t feel pressured to rush

By Emily O'Neil, Staff Columnist

Panhellenic life is an integral part of many universities and rush has become a phenomenon on Tik-Tok. After COVID-19, panhellenic organizations are starting to gather again in traditional ways. And as spring semester begins, so does rush for sororities and fraternities. 

Recently I have felt pressure to rush and convinced myself this is how to make friendships — even though I have met some incredible people. Although I felt pressure to participate in Greek life, I knew that rushing was not suited for me. I find that it is important to remember that you should never do or join something just because of what others are choosing to participate in. 

I felt as though people were throwing it in my face that I needed to actively participate on campus and that rushing was the way to do this. In all honesty, the concept of joining a sorority never stuck out to me as something I would do at college. However, people close to me decided that they were rushing and then tried to convince me at the last minute that I should join them.

I knew that it was not suited for me and my college experience, but I do feel slightly judged and pushed into considering joining something that I frankly do not have the time or capacity to fully involve myself in. I am getting a dual degree and would not have the time on top of academic work, jobs and various other activities I already have. 

I don’t think that there is anything wrong about our sororities or fraternities here at Pitt. With that said, I also decided not to rush, as it is not representative of who I am as a person.​​ There are many controversies that occurred with Greek life in the past couple of years. A campaign emerged by students to abolish Greek life at various colleges. Greek life is very multifaceted and each chapter at every college is different. However, I knew that, personally, I could not join an institution that does not fully acknowledge its history and adverse effects it continuously creates. It would go against who I am as a person. 

I understand the lure of wanting to join Greek life and the benefits this can bring, such as building a community of individuals, access to internships, study groups and a large network of alumni to connect with. However, Greek life is not for everyone. If you can barely find time in your schedule for your part time job or other activities, it is worth reconsidering the reasons why you are wanting to rush. 

Joining Greek life is not the only way to make friends in college, and joining a fraternity or sorority has many commitments. They are also costly, with dues ranging from a few hundred dollars to more than $2,000 a year. 

If a person is rushing because they feel that they want more friends or social connections and feel pressure to rush, they might become disappointed after undergoing the formal rush process. RushTok creates a misconstrued idea of rushing and creates specific expectations of the rush experience. The prevalence of this trend on social media is creating a fixated view on the glamor of the rush experience. After undergoing the whole rush process, individuals may realize that they do not have a lot in common with members of their Greek house. 

Sororities and fraternities are such tight-knit formal communities intended to provide a sense of home and support system, but this can actually limit students’ ability to branch out and create relationships with those not involved in Greek life. While those involved in your Greek organization may become some of your closest friends, everyone meets people in various types of ways. So it’s important to not limit your interactions to only people in Greek life even if you do end up rushing. 

While Greek life is suited for some individuals, it is not for everyone. There are more ways to create close friendrelationships while also bolstering your resume.

Pitt has a large number of various student organizations to join, ranging from academics, advocacy, cultural, music, student government or club sports. Joining a student organization that aligns with your major, interests or personal goals can help you find friends who share similar aspirations. 

These activities and organizations can require less of a strict commitment schedule than a Greek organization. Many organizations I have participated in understand the large amount of coursework and other aspects students have going on in their lives and are lenient with students attending meetings weekly. There are many student organizations to join that align with a variety of different interests. If you cannot find a club that has your specific interest, Pitt does allow for students to create new organizations every semester. 

Even though it appears as if everyone in Greek life has an immense amount of friends and social connections, think about the quality rather than the amount of friendships. Quantity is not always better than quality. Remember to not base what you want your college experience to look like off of others — decide for yourself what is important for you to participate in. 

Choosing activities that suit your needs, interests or goals should never base itself on what others are doing or the facade of creating more friendships that in actuality may not become the most meaningful relationships.

Emily O’Neil writes primarily about societal issues, politics and campus life. Write to her at [email protected].