A Declaration of Independence


“Which tribe are you in?” they all ask, assuming that because I’m friendly and sociable I MUST be in a tribe. I smile, and answer that I actually didn’t rush. Then come the gasps, the apologies for all I’m missing out on. My smile weakens, and inwardly I groan. Why is it so hard to believe that someone could be happy outside of a tribe?

Let me say that I am by no means anti-tribe or club. These organizations are great…for some people. But it’s important to remember that a lot of MC students are not in a tribe or a club, and while some of us Independents are anti-social people who hide in their dorms, only emerging for class, most of us are pretty involved in campus life.

I have loved my time at MC, despite—or possibly because of—my decision not to rush. And it was a decision. I could have rushed; I almost did. But by the end of general rush I knew that tribe life was not for me. The weeks that followed Pref Day confirmed just that, as I lost friends to the whirlwind of tribal rush. While I still love them, many of those friends never quite returned to the same circles as me. One thing I never understood is the way people who have never spoken to one another become “sisters” simply because they end up in a tribe together. This idea of “buying” friendship or sisterhood is what turns a lot of Independents off to Rush. I can’t get excited about paying a group to tell me what to do and who I have to associate with. Again, I understand why it appeals to some people…but not to me.

Along the lines of “buying friendship” comes another topic: forced excitement. What is it about tribes that makes everyone scream and hug and take identical pictures? I’m all about having fun with friends, and I know that girls get really excited when we see friends for the first time in a while. But this is every day, and frankly, it’s annoying. All in all, I would not be physically capable of being excited about a tribe or anything else at all times, nor would I be able to be Super-Friendly-Girl to every single person I saw in my tribe. If that’s you, go for it, but it sure isn’t me.

One more thing about Tribes/Clubs/Indies/Life: what you do in college, other than earn a degree and create relationships, is not going to be remembered beyond these years. So, think twice before investing your world into a Tribe or Club. Even actives should keep in mind that school and real friendships are more important than a social organization. From the outside looking in, I wonder how some people will survive when they can no longer be dependent on their organization to define them, and that scares me. All in all, it’s a matter of priority. You can be in a Tribe or Club while having a life and making good grades, but you can’t let yourself become an organization. Being independent, to me, is helpful in the growing-up process. It’s nice to know who I am, no matter who’s around.

Basically, it would be really cool if the Tribe/Club world would recognize that Indies are not subhuman. We are not sad and miserable. And we probably do not wish we were in your place living your life, because we are living our own. So please stop apologizing when I say I didn’t rush. Please stop assuming I lead a lonely and miserable life. Please stop thinking that Rush is the only option, or the only way to make friends. I’m happy to be independent, to make my own friends, and to invest time where I choose when I choose. And Indies, let’s try to love the loud citizens of the world of Tribes and Clubs; everyone can’t be as cool as we are. 😉


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