Section: Opinion

Going Greek isn’t so scary after all, a first year reflects

If you had told me a year ago this time that I would decide to rush a sorority, I would have laughed in your face — maybe even spit a little since I would have been laughing so hard. Even though I’ve grown up in the preppy South, Greek life has always turned me off like the smell of wet dog: Why would anyone sell their soul to a community like that? Why would anyone pay for friendship? Certainly I would never be that kind of person.

I was wrong on so many counts, so please, let me backpedal. As a first year I know only a sliver of what Kenyon Greek life is all about. My first memories of what it means to be a Kenyon Greek organization are from a tour I took guided by Gray Clark ’17 as a prospective student: It’s like normal Greek life but more open, more accepting and more diverse than at the colleges that surrounded me growing up.

After that tour and my six-month relationship with the Hill thus far, I can say that for the most part I agree with Gray. It took me a long time to move past my bias against Greeks — but I’m happy it’s behind me. After meeting people like Dom Camperchioli ’17 and Shaun Stewart ’17, both funny and kind frisbee players and members of Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKEs), it is so easy to see why many of my guy friends are drawn to joining a fraternity.

The question then became not about fraternities but about sisterhoods of Kenyon — since those are the groups I could consider  joining. I decided to rush this semester for three reasons. First, I learned that all my chemistry TAs, dynamite tutors, were in sororities — so maybe sororities foster intellectual growth? Second, I returned from break feeling slightly socially insecure — what happened to so many of my close friendships from last term? Finally, if my down-to-earth hallmate and best pal wanted to rush, then certainly I was way off with my prior biases — perhaps we would even have fun.

Of course, launching myself into rush week I had absolutely no idea what was going on. No Her Campus article from 2009 or advice from sophomores could prepare me for the whirlwind of meeting people, girl-flirting and small talk. Admittedly, I do not know the names of half the folks I have met, and all these new faces waving to me on Middle Path are more frustrating than exciting. On top of all this, I hear these nasty rumors that all this wooing — all this celebration and coaxing by sororities to get us to join — is all a ruse. Like a siren song, they have pulled us in with sweetness — and all of that will change once they’re sure we’re caught. Granted, it’s all rumors, but in a small place like Kenyon I cannot wonder if they don’t contain at least a kernel of truth.

I am slightly terrified about the prospect of joining a Greek organization. For the most part, I have only known these ladies for a week — yet I am being asked to commit to them for a lifetime. When I hear rumors about these groups shunning members after they leave — refusing to make eye contact with them when they pass on Middle Path — I question if these groups are as sisterly as they claim to be. Is Greek life really right for me? What if I leave and suddenly all these new friends turn into cold-shouldered strangers?

Even with all this speculation and uncertainty ahead of me, I submitted the OrgSync interest form this week. I may be an ignorant first year to think that I’ve stumbled upon some amazing alternative Greek life system here at Kenyon, but I am also a stubborn first year and want it to be true. Sirens or not, I’m diving right in. Hopefully I won’t need a lifeline.

Jess Kusher ’19 is a film and biology major from Spartanburg, S.C. Contact her at kusherj@kenyon.edu.

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