Small talk is hard. I’ve never been good at it. When I’m at a loss for how to continue a conversation, I usually just make an excuse to awkwardly walk away – or maybe run.
So from pretty early on, I’ve understood joining a social club was not for me. To be sure, I went to the All-Club Rush my sophomore year. I walked away positive joining a social club was not for me.
It’s almost impressive how much small talk was crammed into such a short amount of time at that rush. It might have been my nightmare; swarms of upperclassmen surrounding me and continuously passing me to another person for more and more small talk.
Now, I understand that the All-Club Rush is an unfair way to judge social clubs. It’s awkward for everyone involved, and it was not my final determining factor of the big question: to pledge or not pledge?
But it was clear to me that certain parts of my personality (my need to compare myself to others, my slight rebellion of being labeled, my distaste of crowds) didn’t line up with pledging. I knew myself, and I knew joining a social club would cause me to focus an unhealthy amount of time on myself and would generate a large amount of worry. It didn’t seem worth it.
I remember as more and more of my friends decided to pledge, I began feeling less and less sure of my decision not to. It wasn’t long before my unwieldy imagination created a future where all of my friends had new friends and I was left with none. This wasn’t true at all, however. I actually had a good number of friends not pledging.
So I stuck to my guns. I decided not to pledge. I did it realizing I might regret not being in a club sometimes and that I might feel left out sometimes. The reality is, a year later, I still don’t regret it, and my friends who did pledge, don’t regret it.
Pledging isn’t for everyone. It is good for a lot of people, but if you know that being in a social club isn’t for you, don’t just force yourself because you think it’ll be good for you or you think it’ll make you more likable.
Here’s the deal, the majority of the school is not in a social club. Seventy-five percent of girls are not in a social club, and seventy-six percent of guys aren’t either. Most of them still have friends and are still able to have fun somehow.
And if you’re worried about having too much free time if you don’t pledge, come join the Optimist. We’ll give you plenty to do.