My entire life, I have been somewhat of a reserved person. I don’t like showing people my entire personality until I really get to know them because I have always feared the judgment of others. As a child, I grew up with one sister and then I had a few neighbors that were on my street that I would hang out with all the time. For the most part, they were all girls and I cant’t help but realize that that has effected me and my personality today. As I went through school and found my passions; singing and dancing. I definitely realized that I had more girl friends rather than guy friends. I could almost say that I didn’t really have any guy friends up until my junior/senior year of high school. It’s not that I didn’t want to have guy friends, it’s just that I wasn’t entirely into all the popular interests and sports like football or basketball. I still did sports in high school, so I was part of team of guys, but I never really felt connected to them. As a person who is really passionate about music and performing, I grew up only really having friends that were girls. I almost felt like I was judged by all the guys in my school because I wasn’t interested in the same things a them, so I felt like I wasn’t able to put myself out there and make guy friends that much.
Coming into college, I definitely wanted to venture out and step out of my comfort zone and make a change. I knew that I would be experiencing living with three other guys, but that wasn’t a huge deal for me because I knew that if I didn’t end up connecting with them that I wasn’t entitled to hang out with them if I didn’t want to. Luckily, that was not the case and I could say that my roommates definitely helped me, if anything with this transition into college. As I was thinking about what I wanted to get involved in, I explored the idea of Greek Life and joining a fraternity. I really didn’t know much about it, but I also was hesitant because I knew how much of a commitment it would be time wise and financially. I knew a few people that were already involved with Greek Life so I was able to ask them some questions that I had, but I really wanted to talk to some people when they had an informational event, Meet the Greeks. Once they announced the date, I decided that I would go out and meet some of the guys of the different fraternities on campus to get a feel of what I was getting myself into before rush week. It was held in a room in our University Center and as I arrived, I began to feel very nervous and my heart started beating faster and faster as I entered. I saw all the guys at their designated booths and just watching everyone, I was very intimidated. I was all by myself so, I knew that I had to go out of my way to go and talk to them. I was so timid that I almost turned around and left, but I knew that this was something that I wanted to do and that I needed to get some information. As, I finally worked up enough confidence, I went up to one of the booths and instantly one of the guys smiled and introduced himself to me. As I began to have a conversation with him, I got so much more comfortable. I was surprised at how nice he was and I could tell that he was very passionate about his fraternity. After my conversation was finished with him, I walked over to another one and then another one. I wasn’t nervous anymore, I was comfortable talking to everyone and I accomplished my goal that night, leaving with a better feeling of what to expect during recruitment. Each one of the fraternities told me that recruitment for guys was that following week starting on a Sunday.
Leading up to Rush Week, I had many emotions going on. I was excited and nervous, but I feel like I was mainly anxious about how everything would play out. As rush week began, it started with an informational meeting, that wasn’t mandatory, but I thought it would be beneficial to attend it and get more information before the week started. At the meeting, each fraternity had a representative, whether it be their president or recruitment chair, go up and give a little information about their fraternity and some mentioned their events they were going to host throughout the week. Now, just a rundown of how rush week works for fraternities. Each fraternity has events throughout the week either at their house or at a location like the SAC and they host these events so that guys who are interested in their fraternity can get to know them and they can get to know the people who are rushing. These events could range anywhere from a grille and cookout to playing volleyball and football. The events went from Monday through Wednesday, then on Thursday, sometimes Friday, there would be an invite dinner for the guys that the fraternity was a interested in. At that point, I didn’t know what would happened after that.
As I was planning out which houses I was interested in going to, I had to look up where they were because I didn’t know where any of the houses were located, other than the fact that they were all, for the most part, on main street. As I approached, the first house I was going to go to, I began to feel knots in my stomach. Nerves, for some reason, like I’ve never felt before. I arrived, just as the event was scheduled to start and I didn’t see many people there. There were a few in the front yard throwing a football and playing corn hole, but not many others that I could see. For some reason, I felt something holding me back from walking up to the house. I didn’t have enough courage to go there quite yet, so I saw an apartment complex right before the house and I went to the parking lot and sat on one of the porch. I know it sounds ridiculous, but just imagine a 5’3″ asian walking up to a bunch of big college guys and starting a conversation with them. You’d be scared too. I sat down there for about 15 minutes talking to my mom on the phone just running all the worst possible situations that could happen in my head because that’s just what I do, I psych myself out. I finally began to see more people arrive at the house, so it made me feel a little bit more comfortable knowing that there will be more people like me there. I finally got enough confidence to take my little self to the house. As I approached, none of them really made any expression to my arrival. I walked through the yard towards the porch steps. As I started walking up the steps, there were guys sitting on the railing and they greeted me and asked for my name. They told me to go inside and sign in, so I walked into the house and there were people all over the place standing around and having conversations. I walked to this table where I signed in and filled out some information about myself. After I was finished, I began to wander around the house looking for a conversation. What I had trouble with was starting a conversation, but that seemed like what I had to do. I was just lurking around minding my own business until someone came up to me. He asked my name, where I was from, and that was about it; the conversation ended. I began to have more and more conversations that seemed to be the same way and it ended up being very repetitive.
I was a little discouraged about the entire idea of greek life because of my experience there. I had a few good conversations, but they still felt very forced and no one really seemed like they were interested in getting to know me, which I felt was the whole idea of having these events. I pushed past what I had experienced there and I headed to the next house that I wanted to visit. As I walked up to this house, instantly someone saw me and introduced themselves. He said that he was the recruitment chair of his fraternity, which I could definitely tell once I started talking to him. He was very kind and welcoming and even gave me a tour of the house. He told me to make a name tag, so that people can visually see my name and remember it better. This was a really great idea because I felt like more guys were opt to come talk to me because they could see my name. I had a fairly good experience at this house, but I was still interested in what the other houses were going to be like.
Coming into rush week, I knew that my mentor in LAS as well as my G mentor were both in fraternities. So, after I was finished with the house I was at, I decided to go and visit the fraternities that they were in. I had a pretty good experience with one of them so I was excited to go visit the other one, which was my mentor’s.
As, I entered the house of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, I felt a whole different energy than the other houses that I had visited prior. I was instantly greeted by several people including their recruitment chair, Alex Kraft. Alex had me sign in and then we just started talking. It was definitely the best conversation that I had had all week leading up to that. After I was finished talking with him, it wasn’t long until I was brought into another conversation. Each talk with someone was so noticeably different than the other fraternities that I had visited. They were more than just the generic, “What’s your major?” questions. They asked what I was involved in and why I wanted to join a fraternity. One of the guys, Jacob Humphrey(Humps), asked me about what I wanted to do with my major and how I came about pursuing that field of Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts. I told him that the past summer I had created YouTube channel in which I filmed videos about my life. I told him that I really enjoyed making videos as well as editing them and that it took me a long time to actually have enough confidence to create a channel of my own. He instantly asked me if we could go down to the basement where it was quieter so we could watch one. I was surprised by this, but very touched by the fact that he was interested in watching one. Once we got downstairs, there was someone else down there and his name was Jason Greene. Humps told him why we were down there and he came and joined us in watching one of my videos. After watching it we began to just talk about it and how I had the interest to create one. This was definitely one of the highlights of my week because this just showed that they really cared about getting to know me rather than treating me just like any other guy that came through.
Once the first day was done, I sat down and evaluated all the houses that I went to and my experience at each one. Although some were better than others, I decided to give each one another chance because I didn’t want to rule out any of them, considering the first day I was very nervous. Once day 2 came around, I visited the houses that I went to again and had a fairly better experience with each one. I was surprised by the fact that some people remembered me, despite the small conversations that I had had. At the end of day, I found myself sitting in my room reminiscing about life and how stressful the week has already been. I was sitting there in my room and all of sudden I get a call. I answer it and the person asked for my dorm and room number. They said they were from one of the fraternities that I went to so, I wasn’t just giving my room number to a complete stranger. Once I told them, they instantly hung up. Not even three minutes later, I get a knock on my door. I open it up and two guys in suits show up and one asks,” Is Kyle here?” I told them that I was Kyle and they told me to come with them. At this point, I had no idea what was happening because it was a Tuesday night, only two days into the week. I unhesitatingly agreed and followed them to their car. I got in and we drove to their fraternity house. Despite the fact that I am unable to really speak about what happened after that point, in the end, I got an invite to their invite dinner and I also received a bid from them.
After that day, I was pretty excited, knowing that I at least got a bid from one of the fraternities I was interested in. The next day was the last day of events, at least for the four fraternities that I went to, and I decided to go to two houses; the fraternities that I was leaning more towards. I spent approximately an hour at each house, ending at the SAE house because at that point, that was my first preference in fraternities. At the end of the day, I waited impatiently in my dorm wondering when/if and how they were going to send out invites/bids. It came around midnight and I decided that I should go to bed and that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. The next morning, I woke up to a text from my mentor, Bobby, who is also in SAE, and he started rambling on about how no matter what happens that he will always be there for me. At that point I was scared because I didn’t know what this meant. I figured that he was trying to comfort me because I hadn’t gotten an invite to SAE, but then the text after that one said for me to don’t worry because they were just waiting on my GPA. This confused me because my GPA was no where near the borderline of what the requirement was so I didn’t see the problem. I soon found out that everyone else got invited to the dinner that night after I went to sleep, but I hadn’t found out my standing if I got an invite or not because they received the wrong GPA for me somehow. Throughout that entire day, I was stressing out and couldn’t concentrate because not knowing if I was able to receive an invite because of something that I couldn’t control was just frustrating. I then called my mom to see if she had any documentation of my final transcripts and GPA and she said all she had was my parchment that we sent in to the colleges that I had applied to. I texted Bobby and he said that they would accept that. So, my mom told my sister to send it to me when she got home from school because my mom was at work until 6 and the invite dinner was 6. As I was sitting in class waiting for my sister to email my parchment to me, I began thinking about the other two fraternities that I had options to. At this point, if I didn’t get SAE, I was definitely going to be sad, but I knew that I would want to join another fraternity because I’d be happy wherever I ended up at. As soon as my sister sent it to me though, I sent it to Bobby, the president of SAE, as well as the recruitment chair. The time stood at 4pm and I was beginning to have doubts because the dinner was literally only two hours away. I sat in class, waiting to get a response; my heart beating from the anxiety that rests within me impatiently waiting to hear my fate. I then get a text from Bobby saying the invite dinner was at 6:30 and to meet at the house at 6 in pin attire. The amount of relief and excitement I had was uncontrollable that I could barely pay attention to my professor anymore.
So, I got ready and all dressed up to go to the invite dinner for SAE. As soon as it was time, I started walking down main street towards the house. As I approach the house, I see a few familiar faces from throughout the week. They greeted me as I walked into the house. I entered and it was interesting to see who else accepted the invitation to the dinner. A few of the guys apologized to me for all of the confusion and they told me that their system sent them the wrong GPA for some reason and that they just needed to confirm my accurate GPA before they officially invited me, especially because SAE does not have a pledge process. Once everyone arrived, we headed to the location of the dinner all together and this was a really good opportunity to casually talk to some of them without any stress. I also thought it was really nice of all of them because some people volunteered to pay for each one of us. After the dinner was finished, we met back at the house and were told to wait inside while all of them went outside. I could see the nervousness in some of my fellow “rushers” as they told us to wait inside. As I thought to myself, I knew that nothing bad was going to happen, if anything, it’ll probably be something good. After not even 2 minutes went by, one of the guys opened the front door and asked one of us to come outside. We all watched as he slowly got up from his seat following him outside. We all watched as the door shut behind him. We stared at each other waiting for something to happe
n until all of a sudden we heard loud clapping and cheering. We were all so relieved knowing that something exciting was about to happen. One by one, our names were called to come outside and then followed a roar of clapping and cheering. My name was called and I got up; a part of me still nervous. I walked outside and saw what were to be my future brothers as they stood in a U-shape surrounding the walkway up to the porch. I walked down the steps of the and the president, I assumed, said congratulations to me and that they were happy to extend a bid to be a part of their fraternity of Sigma Alpha Epsilon to me. My face lit up with excitement and I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Soon, we all got our certificates and I couldn’t feel more proud of myself and my future class of SAE. All we had to do was except the bid online and complete some modules and we would soon be official member of the Delta-Omega Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
Going through this experience was such a rollercoaster of emotions. Joining the Greek community was always something that I was interested in, but never knew much about. All the conversations I had, the faces I saw, and the connections I made were all leading up to the discovery of where I belonged and who I would call my brothers. Anyone who is interested in rushing a fraternity/sorority, my advice to you is to just do it. Go through rush week and recruitment and have confidence in yourself; let your heart decide where you belong because I promise that it will forever change your life in the most uplifting positive way.