Rush Ph D

This post comes from Margo, our trusty correspondent on all things post-grad.  Definitely brings me back to the college days and Greek life.  If you weren’t in a frat or a sorority, this may be Greek to you (terrible pun, but how could I resist), but entertaining nonetheless:

Do I leave it or take it off? For those of you who were involved in Greek life in college, you know what I am talking about. That daunting task of choosing whether or not to reveal your “active member” status in a sorority or fraternity on your resume. Your decision rests upon the industry you are breaking into; still there remain such controversial opinions surrounding the nature of Greek life that I made the executive decision to not even give my employers the chance to prematurely judge me (for better or for worse) and took it off my CV.

That said, you can imagine my shock when I discovered that my first doctoral program interview weekend was rush (minus the singing and matching outfits). A professor took me out to lunch the day before the interview – what I learned later is the academic equivalent of dirty rushing.

The day of the interview a fifth year doctoral student who was to “guide” me (hello Greek-neutral girls instructed to take you from house to house) escorted me from interview to interview (there were 4). 20 mins of talk time. 10 mins in between to get from point A to point B. There was even door-knocking when our allotted conversation time was up. The only thing missing was a Greek-neutral sweatshirt and a synchronized stopwatch

If you know anything about rush, it is ice-breaker conversation after ice-breaker conversation. And lets be honest, professors aren’t exactly smooth talkers. I utilized every technique branded into my brain from rush to win their hearts – when in doubt discuss weather, to seamlessly transition a new person into your conversation begin with the disingenuous “we were just talking ab___,” the list went on….The crux of it all was the “exit interview” where I was bluntly asked where else I was applying and how high up on my list this program was. Can you say preferential round (minus the tact)?

Suffice it to say that it is in vein to think the social realm and academia are not related. All skills are necessary to succeed in this world and no facets of life are mutually exclusive. Stigma remains stigma, so I did not advertise my sorority involvement (and pride!), but my privileged knowledge of social interaction had me racing far above my competition.

Note from Ms. Betwixter:

Margo, I can’t tell you how many social and professional settings I’m in where I catch myself saying to a newcomer in the conversation “We were just talking about (insert synopsis)…” and how it hearkens back to my days as Rush Chair.  I thought those songs would never get out of my head, but alas, neither has the programming of my conversations.


  1. Well said by a professional Greek!

  2. Greek-letter organizations are called social groups for good reason, and it isn’t because the members socialize. The original purpose of fraternities and sororities was to allow an open forum for discussion among like-minded people, and to better prepare members for life in society. Even though we are wary of the preconceived notions we may encounter because of our Greek affiliations, we should still be proud that our memberships (and for many, our upbringings) have made us more successful than we may have been. The difference between two equally-qualified candidates is often the way they interact, and soft-skills are much harder to teach.

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