Rush is About Making the Best Possible Choice
Rush Is About Making The Best Possible Choice
Rush is a very exciting and confusing time for freshmen. It is so short that it's easy to make a mistake and pledge the wrong fraternity.
I rushed nine fraternities and pledged one. Only later did I learn of my great mistake. A crisis occurred at the fraternity after rush, and I found out the true personality of the fraternity. The behavior of the brothers changed, and I uncovered the dark side. I felt like a captive, betrayed. I wanted out. Fortunately, the understanding people who do housing heard my case and helped me depledge. I found out later that I wasn't the only one in my pledge class to depledge that fraternity, although I was the first. Many of my friends had suffered being put in the wrong place.
I don't think that the entire Greek system is to blame. I think that there are some very good fraternities out their that help lift up a good number of people. I think that a good fraternity can be better than the best dormitory because of the camaraderie and social skills that a good fraternity aims to cultivate. But the bad fraternities are worse than any dormitory. And the risk of being picked up by a bad crowd is all the greater because of the brevity of rush so much confusion - not enough time to make the right decision, and it's a shame, both for the people who end up in fraternities who belong in dormitories and for the dormitories people who belong in fraternities. The system messes up people on both sides.
The most important thing in rush is that you end up where you're supposed to be. MIT recognizes this. That's why you can appeal to housing and get out of a fraternity or try to get into a fraternity on a pick-up bid. If you don't like where you are, the system allows you to change. I'm just so glad that I got my first choice pick of dormitories after the lottery was already run once; it just goes to show that depledging doesn't mean you'll end up somewhere else you don't want to be.
Do I regret not picking some other fraternity? Sometimes I wonder what it might have been like if I had gotten into one of the many excellent fraternities at MIT. But I'm increasingly becoming aware of my own personality and why I really am a dormitory type. I enjoy the freedom of the dormitory. However, it took a lot of thinking before I came to my decision. It's not the same decision I would automatically suggest for a friend. My words of advice are that whether you choose a dormitory or fraternity, try your best not to make a mistake.
Both fraternities and dormitories have dangers. Both shape the personality. With the fraternities, the danger is that the personality of the group will destroy the personality of the individual. I have seen men who used to be leaders become followers after they've been in a fraternity. They become mindless drones, swayed back and forth by the movement of the masses, dazed and confused by constant commotion. The successes in the fraternities can maintain their personalities and individuality despite not being in control of the situation. They become the world's leaders.
The danger of the dormitories is isolation. Without much effort, the individual can lose his social skills and become a hermit. Soon, he can't communicate with the world and becomes a nerd working in a closet. Social interaction is of utmost importance because it is the key to changing the world. Many a scientist has come up with a great idea but couldn't announce it to the world because he didn't know how to communicate (and he didn't bother to learn how).
Being socially active in dormitories can be hard work. It's not the natural thing to do. Those who do become the world's leaders because they can communicate with the world while maintaining composure and a strong inward serenity and peace that cannot be shaken by anything in the outside world.
Both dormitories and fraternities have lessons for the individual. It is very important that incoming freshmen make the right decision based on tendencies in their own personality - and they can always change their mind later if things don't work out.
Wes Beebee '00