Rush Alpha Gamma Apartment!

Programs for this blog post

Teach In Spain Program

Authored By:

Kaylee S.

Let’s go back to freshman year of college. You’re new to campus and feeling eager to get involved in order to find your place at your new school. Remember that feeling of walking around the club fair, surrounded by booths with colored signs and free giveaways… really anything to capture your attention and grow their organization’s numbers. You give your student email to some, take flyers from others, and just nod at those that you have no interest in.

Now think about that one specific group you just can’t ignore (no matter how hard you may want to) - Greek Life. The world full of clapping, chanting, posing, big and littling, and of course, frat parties galore. You tell yourself you’re not that kind of person, you don’t fit into the mold, and you don’t want to go through the whole long process of rushing. But, then you do it anyway, and it’s all worth it in the end cause you found your forever home.

Funny how four years after dealing with that process in college, I find myself facing it here again in Madrid, but in a new, adult-like form: finding an apartment.

I was right. I’m not the kind of person who can functionally schedule countless apartment tours, I don’t fit into the mold, because I don’t speak Spanish well enough to talk with the landlords, and I really don’t enjoy going through this process due to the constant cycle of rejection. As I search for my forever (10 month) home here in Spain, I can’t help but notice how similar the process feels to sorority recruitment.

Put on your perkiest smile and your favorite Greek letters, let me break it down for ya:

Round 1: Round Robin - Let’s start at the very beginning. You’ve decided you’re all in on the process, but now you need to meet the Greeks to figure out where you can see yourself. You walk from room to room learning about the different organizations and what they stand for. Your eyes light up when you see the ones you love, and you quickly decide which won’t be the right fit. The apartment hunt equivalent to this is called Idealista. It’s a Spanish website for buying, renting and leasing all the places you could ever dream of. You’ll spend countless hours scrolling across places you fall in love with but can’t afford, hit all the criteria on your list but are already taken, and won’t stop begging you to come view them even though you’ve made it clear you’re not interested. You can read all the facts about the potential homes and favorite those that match what you’re looking for. Once you’ve narrowed it down, you’re ready to make some calls, set up viewing appointments and move on!

Round 2: Open House - Let the games begin! It’s time to really scope out your options (and the competition). This is your time to get a close up look at all the prospects. Whether it’s sorority girls or master bedrooms, you want to see if they look as good in person as they do on paper. You need to use this event to get a real feel for your potential home and try to visualize yourself there for a long period of time. Just like some organizations may be missing a value you stand for, or a philanthropy you care about, some apartments may be missing a vital piece of furniture (like a bed) or a key feature you were looking for. That’s okay! This is YOUR process, although it is a little scary to reject a potential offer, you want to clear the path for whichever sorority or apartment you like the best. You have to decide if you want a place because you genuinely love it, or because you love the idea of it more than being homeless. Once you narrow it down to your top choices, you’re ready for the next step!

Round 3: Philanthropy Night - It’s all about giving… when you decide which organizations you like the best, you go learn about where they like to give back to. When you decide which apartments you like the most, you go give them all your important documents (passport, visa, Carta, past payrolls, etc.). In the rush process, this round is super important because you want to approve that the sororities you’re interested in put their service hours towards a good cause. Every organization has a different philanthropy that they raise money and awareness for, and you want to pick one that’s near and dear to your heart. In terms of apartment hunting, the landlords are the ones with all of the approving power. They need to make sure all of your documents prove that you have the financial means to rent, and the proper paperwork to be residing in Spain. Once we like all our causes and clauses, we can keep going!

Round 4: Second Invite - This is where everything gets a little more real. The sororities that approve of you invite you back for another go at meeting their members, and the landlords that approve of you will invite you to read over a contract and see if you’re ready to commit. You get a deeper look into what the commitment of being in the org or renting the apartment really entails. The members will tell you about the goal of chapter meetings, how many service hours are required, mandatory events, and being an involved individual. The landlords will give you a big, long document entirely in Spanish (always have Google Translate ready) stating rules about paying rent, whether or not utilities are included, if pets are allowed, and no illegal activity. If they like what they see in the Greek world, you’ll be asked to move onto the most important round for you. If YOU like what you see in the apartment world, you’ll get to move onto the most important round for them.

Round 5: Formal - It’s time to commit people! During recruitment, formal is typically an invite only event, and getting that invitation is often a stepping stone to receiving a bid. It’s imperative to only attend the formal of the organization that you know you would want to be a part of. Now think about it in apartment terms. Once you have to choose where you want to put down your deposit, you have to consider who is worth giving your money to. This is a decision you won’t get back! By showing up to the sorority formal round, you're essentially promising your acceptance if given a bid. By giving the landlord money, you're promising that you will move into the apartment. This is the final 'formality' in the process until the big day. 

Round 6: Bid Day - Best day! This is when everything becomes official. The day when the sorority hands you a bid, inviting you to be a member. The day when the landlord hands you the keys, inviting you to call the place your own. After you officially accept the bid from the members and shake hands with the renter, you're in. Of course, no good things come completely for free. You gotta put up with a little bit of hazing to prove that you're really committed. Whether that's being forced to learn the entire Greek alphabet and the name, year, birthday, family line, address, and social security number of every member in your organization, or having to deep clean your brand new apartment on your hands and knees and carry your fifty pound suitcases up several flights of stairs, it's all worth it in the end. 

When you look back on the process in a few months, all the blood, sweat and tears you shed will seem silly. You can laugh about the absolute hopelessness you felt and the fact that you thought you'd be homeless forever. You found your place and you know it's where you were meant to be. Now you have new best friends (it's not 4 years, it's 4 life!) in the form of sorority members or apartment roommates. Because in the midst of all the madness of moving somewhere new, all you need to find is your happy place that makes it feel like home.