For me, that craziest part of rushing SLGs my first year wasn’t going to the events. I didn’t black out at any parties or dance on any tables but I did have a crazy bid day.

A brief bit of my mental state on Saturday, January 27th, 2018: I swear I go to other places at Duke, but this story also revolves around an experience I had at Shooters II Saloon. I had survived both Brownstone and Cooper until the final round. I had been to more events for Cooper, only missing one or two throughout the rush process. I really liked both, but I felt like I clicked better with the upperclassmen from Cooper. Flash forward to Saturday the 27th. For the first time in a few weeks, there weren’t any rush events to attend, so I decided to go to Shooters with a couple friends.  About halfway through the night at Shoots, a friend who had also rushed Cooper came up to me and exclaimed “Dude, I got into Cooper.” Amidst the haze and loud music in Shooters, I was confused. “How do you know? Who told you?” 

He said “They sent an email! Check your phone!” I slipped away and pulled up my inbox

I held my breath as I tapped on the email with the subject “Cooper Rush Round 3 Result.” 

The first words, after “Hi, Luke,” were “I’m sorry to inform you.” I was shocked and upset. I was impressed by everyone I had met in Cooper during rush and I thought I would’ve fit in really well. I came back near the dancefloor and found my friend, and told him that I didn’t get in. As soon as I said it, I could see that he regretted telling me Cooper decisions had come out. Maybe he was tipsy and not thinking straight, or maybe he thought I had a good shot, too. But either way, I had put most of my hopes into Cooper and didn’t get anything in return. I was pretty sure I was about to be rejected by both SLGs I had spent the previous two weeks getting to know and love.

As if my thoughts about SLGs had summoned them, two upperclassmen from Brownstone approached me and asked how I was doing. I lied and went with a neutral “good.” I don’t remember what we talked about, but I do remember noticing how cheerful both of them seemed. It was Shooters, after all, so alcohol and the atmosphere could’ve explained a little. But I also knew that Brownstone had finished its deliberations earlier that day and made their final cuts. I wondered if they were giving me a hint. 

Still a little thrown off by getting rejected by Cooper, I had to admit to them that I couldn’t remember their names.  They seemed so excited to see me, and I felt guilty.  It suddenly felt like I deserved what I got from Cooper. Why should I get a spot in an SLG when I’m not even capable of remembering people? But the question that kept bouncing around my head was whether or not they were—inadvertently or otherwise—giving me a clue about my fate in Brownstone. I went back to my dorm and told my roommate about my day. As I worried about Brownstone and tried to brush off Cooper, he worried about Maxwell. 

I got a call from Brownstone congratulating me the next day, and re-read my email from Cooper that also stipulated that I was “extended the opportunity to be placed on a very short waitlist.” 

I ended up joining Brownstone with a few of my close friends, and I don’t regret the way things turned out for even a minute. Rush was fun for me, but bid day was confusing, disappointing, and stressful.I can’t remember having felt so conflicted in my entire life. 

Because rush was so confusing for me, I’d like to create a rush FAQ for first-years who may be as lost as I was.

  1. Is rush selective?
    1. For most SLGs, rush is selective. SLGs do not have infinitely large sections at Duke, and many have a greater number of students interested than the number of empty beds in their sections. 
  2. What do SLGs look for?
    1. Much like in college admissions, it is really hard to point to just one or two factors. But in my experience, most people in SLGs are empathetic, down-to-earth people that are eager to contribute to their communities. That is not to say that the secret to getting into every SLG or your favorite SLG is feigning empathy or being more relatable than the next person, but being a good listener and actually being interested in what other people are saying is a good place to start. 
  3. What if I’m more of an introvert?
    1. I asked some introverted friends for advice, here’s what we came up with:
      1. Don’t feel like you have to make friends with everyone during rush events. It is okay to have a more substantial conversation with just a few people. 
      2. If you’re really not feeling an event one or two nights during rush, it’s okay to skip it. Rush is not about perfect attendance, but being at as many events as you can will make it easier for people to remember you. 
  4. Should I tent as well as rush?
    1. Heck yes. You’ll probably miss an event or two due to a tent shift, but if your other tent members are decent they’ll try to work around your rush schedule. And if you are genuinely interested in getting to know people at Duke, tenting is another great way to do that. 
  5. Do you have any tips for rush?
    1. Go to several round one events for a few different SLGs and try to feel things out a bit. Don’t place too much emphasis on open houses, all of the events after that matter much more and are a lot better representations of the cultures of the respective SLGs. 
    2. Try not to tell any jokes that are too edgy or give people doubts about wanting to live within the same vicinity as you. 
    3. Cliched though it may be, be yourself. But be the best version of yourself as you can. Be respectful and open to new ideas and different ways of thinking. Be kind. Listen well and ask questions. In essence, be a good human being and try to show a little of what makes you you.

Luke Sallmen is a Trinity sophomore. His column runs on alternate Wednesdays.