You’d better hurry; I heard there’s a rush

Opinion by Hannah Broderick
April 11, 2016, 11:59 p.m.

It’s only been two weeks, but spring quarter is already doing a bang-up job reminding me why I was tickled pink to start my freshman year at Stanford back in September. Sunlight showing up and out like nobody’s business, new flower species making their presence known, a wonderfully diverse range of classes to choose from; the list goes on. Apart from transforming campus into a fairy dell, spring quarter also provides freshmen and sophomores the choice to participate in Stanford Greek life — cue rush.

It’s human nature to talk. And so, in the quarters and weeks leading up to rush, girls toss around sorority stereotypes and attempt to mentally prepare themselves for one grueling weekend of small talk. I am writing this piece having gone through two days of rush and anticipating a third and final night tonight. My feet are aching, my voice is hoarse, I can barely see over my stack of homework, and yet I am excited.

While the process of rush is certainly not perfect (i.e. minimal bathroom breaks, hunger pangs, and girl overwhelm), the sentiment of sisterhood, community, and joy comes across surprisingly well, given that each sorority is only allotted an hour every night to impress their values upon masses of wide-eyed girls. Between silly videos of rally-clad bodies riffing on pop songs, hilarious skits poking fun at familiar Stanford tropes, and genuine conversations about campus involvement and favorite television shows, rush, contradictorily, is anything but quick. It is instead an impressive synthesis of a diverse community that feels expansive in its transparency. People are who they present to be, honest and relatable.

Rush has a bad rap for being a small-talk fest in which neither girl really cares about the other, and both are involved in a kind of sizing up dance. Speaking as someone who had reservations about an exclusive community founded upon ideological similarity, I can now say that we cynics underestimate not just Stanford women, but people in general. There are certainly a lot of faces to wade through, and the nights can feel endless (especially around the fifth hour of the seven-hour first night), but I refuse to believe that the women involved don’t care about one another. Conversations are a rarity in this most heavily digitized age, and so to be able to speak comfortably about life and fear and happiness was an unexpected treat.

While my experience at Stanford has been multivariable, an overarching theme has been a lack of time. There isn’t nearly enough time to speak with everyone in my freshman dorm, nor is there enough time to finish a paper to its best and time is indeed a precious commodity. And yet this past weekend, I met a fellow English/Art History double major, heard tales of stolen inflatables, and spoke with a fashion-minded student interning at Harper’s Bazaar in Mexico. In short, I had several real conversations in an environment in which time lost all importance. That’s not to say I wasn’t ecstatic when the weekend came to an end, because I was!

In the end, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet so many badass upperclassman women from all seven chapters of Stanford’s ISC. These women inspired me with their kindness and care, and it is my hope that they felt how much I enjoyed meeting them. It is my hope that our human strength, our capacity to so fully and completely care for one another, will never disappear. And that we won’t sell ourselves or our intentions short.

Contact Hannah Broderick at inbloom ‘at’

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