Clairmont: To rush or to not rush?

The importance of extracurriculars and exploring all your options


H. Beck, Illustrator

This illustration above is meant to mimic the OSU Interfraternity Council’s “Jump Day.” This is an event where new members of fraternities meet at the Memorial Union and are boosted into the air and caught by their new fraternity brothers.

Editor’s Note: This column does not represent the opinion of The Daily Barometer. This column reflects the personal opinions of the writer.

Current Oregon State University fraternity and sorority pledges and others formerly involved with school-sponsored organizations urge incoming students themselves to apply on campus, even if they find Greek life to not be the best fit.

According to a study published by Ohio State University, highly-involved students are three times more likely to be considered for a job than those who were not involved, and those who participated in at least one co-curricular activity are 1.8 times more likely to have job offers at the time of graduation.

While these statistics may not be surprising to some, it is hard to deny the positive benefits of getting involved in extracurriculars even if at a first glance they can seem costly, stressful and time-consuming.

Many college students choose the Greek life path in hopes of finding social solace and a sense of belonging within the community, but others still voice concerns before rushing events even begin. What-if’s and skepticism plague the minds of new students in their attempt to determine where their place is at OSU and whether they decide to get involved with a fraternity or sorority.

Sure, putting yourself out there can be tough, but is it worth the short-term stress many face in the presence of the unknown? Will you reap these so-called long-term benefits? Is it really worth your time, money and energy?

The short answer is yes! You may not immediately see the growth and progress you are making, but getting out of your comfort zone and building up your resume will ultimately boost your confidence level and sharpen those social skills.

Wrigley Campbell, a junior at OSU and one of Alpha Chi Omega’s pledges, understands the pressure and anxiety many feel surrounding rush, and said, “It was not an easy process to come to my decision just because I had good options, but I ultimately had to think about my personal values and how they matched with the house.”

The stereotypical college-party scene, house drama and a general fear surrounding any pressure to conform are why some people may be quick to dismiss the idea of joining a sorority or fraternity. For those with social anxiety or those who are naturally introverted, the thought of getting involved in Greek life may seem unthinkable.

Kelsey Bigelow, a recent graduate from OSU this year, stuck by her decision not to rush and said, “I am very independent, so always having to be around a large group and not having the freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted would have been difficult for me.”

Bigelow thought that “becoming friends with so many other women would be hard, [and] with that I think there may be a stigma that there is a lot of drama, but whether [if] it is true or not I wanted to avoid any social issues at all cost.”

As a merchandising management major, Bigelow found DamChic, OSU’s student-led fashion magazine, to be her home, saying, “I was able to express my love for fashion and join that creative community.”

For those who may have a fear of missing out if they don’t rush, Bigelow advises students to “at least rush and see if it is your thing. I never even gave it a shot, [so] therefore I can’t make too many assumptions because I have met a lot of people who did enjoy it, [having] all different personalities and backgrounds. I think it is important to at least test the environment to see if it is a fit before making a decision.”

Pressure from the house to be social and a lack of alone time are fears that students like Bigelow often voice when debating if they should go Greek, but Campbell said, “I’ve never personally felt any pressure to be outgoing or social around my sisters; I joined this chapter because I felt very comfortable around them, and we are all kind of naturally social anyways.”

Campbell said Greek life is not all about the so-called “party scene,” and sororities are very involved with philanthropic events.

“[During] my freshman year, there was a huge dodgeball tournament, a volleyball tournament [and] a talent show, and last year we were able to host our own, which was a softball tournament!” Campbell said. “It’s so entertaining to see how competitive the guys get about winning, especially when it’s for a good cause.”

“I always think about how lucky I am to have found so many people with similar interests, goals and traits as me, but then I remember that’s what the rush process is all about: You go through the process to find where you belong!” Campbell said.

Christian Horn, the president of Lambda Chi Alpha, opened up about his strong desire to create a supportive environment for his brothers and to encourage their desires, dreams and individual strengths.

“I wanted to stay in a role where I could be helpful to them and do everything in my power to keep morale up across campus and specifically to keep my brothers on track towards their own goals and their pursuit towards their degrees,” Horn said.

“Without Greek life, I would have ended my college studies after the first term,” Horn said. He urges students to join and said it’s the best way to get the most out of college.

By joining in and becoming a moving part of a larger team, whether that team consists of your fellow pledges or adjoining members of a school-sponsored organization, you’ll ultimately feel empowered and proud of yourself for contributing to some kind of greater good. This is, of course, if you only build up the courage to face your fears and put yourself out there.

While there is truth in everyone’s opinions about Greek life, only students can decide for themselves what is right for them. One thing remains clear: getting involved will only lead to meaningful, lifelong relationships and a sense of purpose on campus.

So rush and explore your options for involvement because there’s a special place for every person at OSU if you’re just willing to look for it. College is what you make of it.

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