A letter of encouragement to the girl going through rush

Dear Emily,*

I am so excited for you to be heading off to college in the next few days. It is such an amazing and significant time in your life. And there’s no doubt that choosing to go through rush adds to the excitement.

Twenty years ago this August I left the only house I had every known and moved to Columbia to start my college career and think about joining a different kind of house. I debated the pros and cons of joining a sorority and going through rush, and the scales tipped (for me) slightly in favor of rushing. When I look back now on the whole experience, I have a range of emotions. I just thought I would share with you a few of those emotions, with the benefit of being 20 years past them rather than in the emotional-ness of the moment. (I am fairly sure most of these thoughts wouldn’t have at all been on my radar twenty years ago!)

First a few points of encouragement –

  • Your desire for community is a godly desire. God intends people to live life in relationships. The desire to join with other women and do life together is right and should be encouraged. Some of my closest friends were, and still are, girls I met through my sorority. Many of them were the ones who pointed me to Jesus when I found myself in hard places (and still do). There are many places to seek these relationships, and certainly sorority life can be one of them. And it was for me.
  • Your desire to engage and join in is also commendable. Going to a big university has its challenges, and the desire to join organizations in order to connect with others is a good one. Too often we live life on the sidelines. We fail to be intentional in engaging. I’m happy you are being intentional about getting plugged in.

Along with these points of encouragement, a few cautions/reminders:

  • Your Christian life does not take a break during your college years. The gospel is meant to affect every area of your life, and this includes decisions made during college, and more pointedly, rush. Don’t try to convince yourself that this decision is outside the scope of your Christian life.
  • Real authentic community encourages you to come as you are. True friendship doesn’t demand you change to fit in, rather it says you belong as you are. There is no requirement or pressure for you to be a certain weight, dress a specific way, or drink a certain drink.
  • Home is never contingent on a house or a specific address. All these are temporary. The Bible is clear that we are to live as aliens here on earth and long for a permanent address of heaven. You will have to fight this cultural norm going through the rush process (and many times in the future). The sooner you grasp this temptation the sooner you can fight it. The world tries to make us comfortable/content here. Don’t be easily fooled.
  • Christ is who makes you right. No bid or invitation back to a house can remotely compete with your identity as a child of God. Likewise, not getting an invitation or bid does absolutely nothing to change your place as a child of God. Because Christ has done it all, you did nothing to earn your place as his child and you can do nothing to lose your place as his child. Don’t let any process or person convince you otherwise.
  • Be prepared to go through this process and not join a house. If at any time you are convinced that these points above will be compromised please have the courage to pull out of rush. College can be a great time without Greek letters plastered all over your belongings. Sometimes quitting is the most godly thing to do. Quitting is not always a sign of failure.

Whew – sorry for the length of that! Go well, Emily. I will be praying for you and all the other young women like you. May you find a place to do community well while in college, wherever it may be. Most importantly, I pray that Jesus will be the head of that community. I pray that you will never let fitting in become more important that Jesus. May you find a group of friends who love Jesus and encourage each other to be more like him.

Yours,

Erin

P.S. Oh, and now that I am closer to your mom’s age than I am to yours, make sure you keep your mom in the loop. Call her often. She is trying her best to let you be independent, but she will never stop caring. Make it easy on her and call often. 🙂

 

*This letter is not written to anyone in particular. The name Emily is used as it was the most popular baby girl name in 1998.

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