For years we have all been reading about a strange breed of helicopter parents that pay out the nose to ensure their precious child gets into the best of whatever there is to offer. Preschool admissions are becoming as cut throat as the college process, cheerleading tryouts have led to assassination attempts, and parents are paying up to $40,000 for college admission consultants. These parents, it seems, are willing to do anything to ensure their child gets a shot at the very best, of everything, although what the end goal is remains to be seen.
As these kids grow up their parents move onto the next “prestigous” box to check off of their child’s resume, after preschool and sports and day camps and science fairs, and it seems that the newest way to spend money is to pay for an image coach to ensure Little Miss gets into the best sorority on campus.
I’ll give you a minute to think about that. Parents are paying money – sometimes a lot of money- to help their daughter’s get through the rush process and end up with the best outcome. I’m not the only one one who was appalled by this idea, but I’m also not using this trend to mock the Greek system. I’ve been outspoken about my positive experience as a Kappa Kappa Gamma at a Southern school, where sorority rush is a major life event for most young coeds (alternatively we have also shared a not-so positive side to the Greek scene). The reason I’m so disappointed by these “rush coaches” and “image coaches” is that sorority rush (or recruitment, as they call it these days) is about being yourself and letting your personality shine through so you end up in a house with women you are comfortable with. From there you and your sisters spend countless hours together, volunteering, studying, attending social events and generally trying to be a positive organization within the community. You graduate with lifelong friends, bonds forged through experiences both academic, philanthropic and social.
I suppose I can understand why these helicopter parents care that their daughter ends up in a good house. As my parents and grandparents reminded me, your house was a reflection of who you were and could pave the road for future life endeavors- through your sisters you might find a wonderful internship, learn about a graduate school program, or get an “in” for a coveted job interview. Sororities, fraternities and other social organization all thrive on the idea that it isn’t what you know, but who you know, at least to a certain degree. In theory, the “better” house you are in, the better opportunities that might come your way.
But again, that is the theory. If my experience as a Greek taught me anything, it is that most of the opportunities I found through the Greek system related to great babysitting jobs and friends to stay with during a summer road trip. And, most importantly, if you fudge your way through the rush process with the help of a coach, you might end up in a house where you just don’t fit in- and in the end, your Greek experience will not be meaningful or fun. Sure, rush can be a scary thing, with ice water teas and skit days and preference nights, but most schools have a rush orientation program and Recruitment Counselors or Rho Gammas (who are sorority women who unaffiliate for rush) in order to provide guidance and support to the rushees. The system is set up so you can ask your Rho Gamma if a sundress or jeans are appropriate for any given day, not a paid for coach that answers to Mommy if you don’t end up in the house you want.
No coach can teach genuine enthusiasm, grace and the ability to make small talk in a crowded room- but those are the skills that are essential for rush. If parents want to pay thousands of dollars to help Little Miss make the best wardrobe choices, so be it – but one day that young lady will be lost in her closet before a job interview or important social event and realize she never found the skills within herself to make up her own mind.
Daisy is a lawyer married to a lawyer (insert lawyer jokes here) living in a small condo in a big city with a new baby and beagle. She breaks up the legal-speak by blogging about life in Chicago, which is filled with escapades of urban living. In the summer she enjoys patio dining and in the winter wonders what she was thinking when she moved here. You can read more from Daisy on her blog, Just Daisy.
image courtesy Murray State