This week, with all the bustle and hustle of the grand opening of the USC Village, the constant buzz of freshmen students enjoying college life, and the sudden closing of everyone's favorite milkshake hangout, Ground Zero, undergraduates have been oblivious to the ongoings on and off campus. Except for the approximate 1,500 sorority PNMs (potential new members) trying to find a sense of belonging to one of the chapters on Greek Row. Being a sophomore, I am one of the few students rushing this semester in the hopes of finding my own home away from home!
And, having never been introduced to Greek life before, I am in the same shoes as any other girl wearing her Panhellenic tank with perfectly curled hair and beautifully done makeup. So, I have a couple of tips for all those girls who are either waiting to rush or are in the process of being recruited to show how they, too, can leave a noteworthy impression on the chapter members that might just eventually become their sisters.
1. Go in with an open mind.
Me? I believed I was the opposite of a sorority girl prior to attending college; my cousin even outlawed me from rushing because she feared the chapters lacked diversity. On a whim, I signed up for recruitment, and I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every single moment so far. I went in thinking I wanted to join two "top-tier" houses, but later realized they were not the right fit for me. I stepped foot in houses that I had previously written off that I somehow fell in love with - from the sincere members and charming hospitality to the bubbly personalities and adorable houses!
2. Follow Panhellenic rules (at all times)!
If you know sorority life is the life for you, don't go breaking the rules because, eventually, you will be caught. Don't interact with chapter members on social media. Don't enter the Row before or after hours (recruitment counselors need to go home some time or another). Don't talk smack on the other girls because, by all means, you're all in this together. Don't dabble with drugs or alcohol. Don't ruin another PNM's chances!
3. "Brag" a bit.
Of course, it's all right to put yourself in the spotlight when you make your rounds at every chapter house. But, sometimes, placing yourself on a high pedestal is quite the turn off; don't go overboard with dropping alumni connections, boasting financial status, or flashing designer labels. Keep yourself humble! Yet, don't forget to mention the positive, unique, loving things that make you the perfect fit for being an ideal, but sincere sorority girl!
4. Dress presentably.
Hoping to make a lasting impression on the girls that will one day (maybe, possibly) become your sisters? Wear a cute, but well-groomed outfit! Make sure your clothes are stain-free, pressed, and adorable. Put a little makeup on and prim your hair. You don't have to spend ridiculous amounts of money to make it into a chapter - just look presentable enough to put your best foot forward!
5. Do research!
Before you step foot into any of the chapter houses, know exactly what you're getting into! Go onto each chapter house's website - study up on historical foundations, memorize symbolic logos, pay attention to alumna graduates, delve into their philanthropic organizations. It's better to know what the chapter house is about, so you can succeed in nailing your conversations during Open House by letting them know that you know exactly what they're about!
6. Don't gossip.
For the love of Cheezus, avoid gossiping! First of all, if you talk smack on others, especially in front of chapter members, that very same person might know exactly who you're talking about, making the conversation fall into "awkward" territory. And, because of that, you might not be invited to return. Also, don't put others down because you might ruin their recruitment experience. All in all, gossiping behind that person's back labels you as catty and superficial (which are not quite the ideal qualities of a sorority member).
7. Take it in stride.
You didn't get that bid? It's alright; that doesn't undervalue your self-worth. You didn't have a good conversation with a chapter member? Sometimes nerves get ahead of you. You didn't come across as a "typical" sorority girl? Remember, there's no such thing; every girl is uniquely different, and those quirks come out in a positive light as long as you try to be yourself.
You cannot go wrong with gently jerking the corners of your mouth to smile! Recruitment week is all about smiling - even through the ups and the downs. There's a bigger chance that a chapter member will invite back a PNM that laughed it off when someone accidentally spilled water over her dress than a disinterested member who sulked the night away, trying to desperately clean the stain! Take miscommunications, accidents, and errors in a positive light - and nothing yells positivity than an endearing, genuine smile.
9. Be yourself (and be absolutely memorable).
Every girl who is rushing is in the same shoes as you. They're pretty, they're intelligent, they're exceptional. But, nobody can be as unique as you. So, when making conversation with a chapter member, mention something that is quite unforgettable - whether it's having breakfast with Matthew McConaughey (trust me, it's happened to me, but that's a different story for later), swimming with dolphins in Fiji, or founding your own coding program for underprivileged girls! Say anything that puts you off from the standard circle of girls. Be different, be bold, be confident!
10. Pick your chapters based on your core values (not the house's physical beauty or the girls' popular labels)!
Just because your mother was an alumna or you found the chapter house perfect in every way does not mean that house itself is the right fit for you. Follow your heart, but also your gut. Know which chapter house truly makes you feel welcome. Take the bid (if given) because the house stays true to their philanthropy, because the girls are beautiful (inside and out), because you can't NOT see yourself being a sister there for life.