Sometimes it’s just not your choice: your grades aren’t where you want them to be, your finances at the time don’t really permit it, or it’s just not a good fit into your already hectic life.

Sometimes it is your choice: you’re not sure which organization to join, you didn’t get to know as many members in your top choice organization as you wanted, or maybe Greek Life just wasn’t the right choice for you during your first year at college.

Whatever the reason, going through formal recruitment as an upperclassman can be a daunting task that sounds unappealing at best.

The thought of having to go through a process that historically holds the misconception as a “first-years-only” club can make even the toughest upperclassmen waiver in their decision to go Greek.

Is this fear of going through formal recruitment as anything other than a first-year warranted? Should an upperclassman feel silly or embarrassed going through a process “only meant for first-years?”

According to seniors Sam Norris and Chelsea Shields, waiting a year to join their respective organizations was the right decision.

I didn’t go through formal recruitment freshman year because I wasn’t absolutely sure. I was friends with a lot of the guys who rushed Deke freshman year, but I had never even put it on my radar in the first semester, let alone before college. I was certain that it wasn’t a decision I wanted to rush into,” Norris said.

By the time February rolled around during my sophomore year, and even during the fall semester, I was sure that I wanted to ‘rush.’ My friends within Deke had remained my friends, and I wanted to become a part of their organization. I’m very happy with my decision to join, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Shields shared these sentiments and stated her reasons not to go through formal recruitment her first year on campus.

I was hesitant to go through formal recruitment as a first-year because no one in my family had been a part of a Greek organization before. I was uninformed about the Greek community. Through the media and acquaintances I was exposed to Greek stereotypes and therefore I did not register for recruitment my first year. However, after seeing my friends go through recruitment and their experiences on bid day, I realized I misinterpreted the culture of the Greek community on campus and was missing out on an incredible opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself.”

It seems that waiting a year was the right decision for people who might be on the fence about going Greek, but is it too late to initiate into an organization after that first year? Do you miss out on too much by not joining an organization right away? Again, Norris and Shields give their opinion on “missing out” on a whole year of their organization.

In retrospect, perhaps I did miss out on a year within the brotherhood,” Norris said. “What I’m realizing now is that I won’t be graduating with my pledge brothers, [but] I definitely plan on coming back for theirs. [All in all] my pledge class is great, so I have no regrets.”

I would not change the course I made joining a Greek organization,” Shields said. “It was the right choice for me at the time. Continuous open recruitment [a recruitment option offered only to upperclassmen deciding to join an organization in which the student obtains a bid from an organization during the fall instead of in the spring like formal recruitment] isn’t necessarily the right avenue to Greek life for everyone, but it was for me. It allowed me to figure out what was right for me and correct the misconceptions I had coming into college. Looking back, I would not change the process I went through. Waiting to join as a sophomore allowed me to get to know the different organizations on campus better and it also provided me the time to determine if Greek Life was for me. Joining an organization is a rather large commitment. I can’t think of any cons of my decision to wait to go through the recruitment process.”

So it would seem that waiting a year to join an organization is not the worst thing to ever happen.

It can actually relieve some of the anxiety a first-year might be feeling about the whole recruitment process and thus make transitioning into Greek life much easier.

Norris sumed up this idea perfectly when he said, “If in a lot of doubt, I would recommend waiting. If the men [or women] are truly your friends, you’ll still be a part of their lives, and they will still welcome you in next year.”

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