Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Rush Scene

Greek Life is something that brings to the surface many differant opinions. The movies make it out to be a slush fest with some very permiscuous teenage students. However, this is yet another label that the world loves to place on something that can not be fully understood by the general movie watching population. This semester I am pledging the Delta Chi fraternity here at Purdue, and while I will not be able to discuss the inner workings of a secret society I hope that I will be able to shed some light where previously only stereotypes existed.

The greek community here at Purdue is a very large and elite social network. The rush process is used in order to describe the first couple weeks at a Fraternity or Sorority. Since I have only witnessed first hand the Fraternities' process that is what I will be refrenceing. Students that are interested in the greek comunity are encouraged to visit different houses during organized times. These visits include a free meal (enough to draw many poor college students), house tours, and talking with the brothers of the house. Most rush events only last two hours so utilizing this time is crucial because otherwise the selection process is mostly based on first impressions. It takes some effort in order to help people past appearences in order to fully understand someone in time to be selected.

Rush events are very awkward. An interested student is forced to step out of their comfort zone and imerse themselves into this tightly bonded group. The brothers do not need to make the effort to seek out the rushies and talk to them, because they have already gone through the process. It is the rushie's job to seek out the brothers in order to let them get to know the rushie as much possible. This is very intimidating.

The easiest way I found to accomplish this was to sit next to a group of them at the dinner table. That way I could introduce myself to a large group, allowing more than one person to get to know me at a time. This also allowed for fewer awkward silences. It allowed me to participate in many conversations in order to get to know a little about them and to see if these brothers fit me.

Now honestly not just anyone fits into any house. Like personalities tend to migrate toward each other. Some houses are for specific majors and have other requirments; however, with 47 fraternities on campus there is a fit for anyone who is interested. The hardest part is realizing where you fit. Many people try to rush a house because of its reputation not because of the guys that live there. This is a huge mistake. By trying to change yourself to fit that profile you lose who you are and in the end those are the people that drop or get weeded out. Taking time to realize what youre are about and who you are is vitally important when deciding which house is right for you.

Some guys look at the stereotype and think that is exactly what they are looking for. Those guys quickly realize that a fraternity is about a lot more than dirinking and "good times". Its about building a close relationship witha group of guys that you can trust and rely on in times of need.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First Impressions

Many people say that they don't care what other people think of them. That's great! However, they are also probably lying. Without an abnormal psychological personality disorder it is human nature to care or at least wonder what other people think of you.

The main reason people claim that they do not care is because they know that people are getting the wrong first impression, or that they themselves don't fully understand what impression they give. These individuals have given up trying to change people's opinions about them, hence the "not caring".

First impressions last a very long time, and no matter how hard someone tries not to judge or jump to conclusions it is very difficult when you are sporting a crazy hair-do. Classmates, friends of friends, and employers all use first impressions in order to put all of the new people surrounding them into a category. Sometimes these first impressions can cost someone a job or make the first days of classes very awkward and unwelcoming.

I'm not saying that anyone has to fit a certain mold or act a certain way; I'm just saying that everyone needs to be aware of what type of vibe or impressions they are giving off to those around them. Most people do not even realize that they seem unapproachable, slutty, socially awkward, geeky...

These stereotypes and labels can come from a wide array of factors such as body position, clothing choice, facial expressions, and many others. All of these factors seem very specific and picky, but they are the subtle things that people pick out in order to help them feel like they know you or understand you. It's inevitable. People are going to gain an impression of you, good or bad, the first time they even lay eyes on you.

So just be sure that the things that you are doing, or not doing, are what you want to be remembered by when someone thinks of you.