The summer before your freshman year of college is nerve-wracking. You're gearing up for leaving all you know behind for 9 months of the year. Making new friends, living with someone you barely know, and struggling to carry your laundry basket to the washers is all ahead of you. But these small things will mean so much with the wonderful memories that come with moving to college.
After completing your freshman year, summer can drag on. Your friends all live far away, and maybe even your boyfriend. You work and work and work to save up for sophomore year. You look for possibly another roommate, maybe decide to change your major, and even look for housing for junior year. This summer is time to work and get excited for seeing your friends and being back on campus.
One life changing decision many girls make is to rush for a sorority. This week long event (or even two consecutive weekends), are a time for potential new members (or PNMs) to talk to and learn about the chapters on their campus. From learning about their sisterhood, philanthropy, and what means so much to each house, recruitment is a stressful and emotional time for everyone. The PNMs are scared to get dropped from houses they love, and sorority members are nervous to talk to so many girls each day. With recruitment come a lot of nerves and blisters. Here is a few tips to survive both and more.
1. Don't stress so much about what to wear.
Most universities tell the PNMs what to wear, or give them a basis of what to wear for each day. My school gives PNMs a shirt for the first two days, and the girls just have to dress dressier and dressier each day. The final day is where PNMs are the dressiest, wearing nice business or sun dresses and heels. Some girls feel the need to fit the sorority girl look to please the houses, when in fact they never dress preppy on any other occasion. Find outfits that fit the tone for the day, but also show your personal style. If you enjoy flowy pants and sandals, rock it! Houses want to see genuine girls who are not afraid to show they're true colors, and not trying to fit a stereotype. I remember that I wore a pair of patterned shorts that matched the shirt that I was give. I got so many compliments because my shorts stood out and showed my true personal style. Don't feel the need to go buy completely new outfits either. Use what you already have. Trust me, you can use the extra money for tons of letter clothes after bid day.
2. Don't be afraid to talk the active's ear off.
I am VERY shy and it showed when I went through recruitment. I even got told to "be more outgoing next time" when I was walked to the door after a party, even though I talked more than the active. You will get girls who will want to talk and will be good at making anything a conversation, and then there will be girls that will be asking what your favorite color is and "if you could be any animal, what would you pick and why?" Make the best out of it. If you feel uncomfortable, the active probably feels the same way, especially if this is their first time recruiting. They are nervous and so are you. If there is a uncomfortable pause, don't be afraid to ask them a question about their sorority, major, and even what they do on campus. Don't be afraid to ask questions you already know the answer to. It shows that you are genuinely interested.
3. Bring a purse.
Wearing heels all day can wear out your feet, so always bring bandaids! I recommend bringing sandals that you can wear on long walks so your feet don't hurt so bad. Also bring water and snacks. The rounds can get long and you will be talking in a loud room at all of them. My throat hurt at the end of each day and I got sick from it. Lots of girls even lost their voice because you are basically shouting at a girl that's almost in your face for an hour. There's also breaks where you can eat a snack so your stomach isn't making noise at a party. I also recommend bringing an umbrella even if there is the SLIGHTEST chance of rain. During my recruitment, it started down pouring right after we were done for the day and no one had umbrellas because we did not expect rain. Girls were walking all over campus barefoot to get back to their rooms. Be the girl everyone envies if that happens. Other things I recommend is Advil, extra makeup, hair ties, hair brush, gum, and anything else you need. These are all things you can quickly use to freshen up between rounds if needed. Make sure you can keep it all in a small purse, unless you are allowed to leave your things with your Rho Gammas.
4. Write down good notes after each party.
If you are allowed or supplied with a booklet to write notes in, I strongly encourage writing every single thing you liked, disliked, and even who you talked to and what you talked about. I remember writing some notes, but all the parties started to blend into each other after a few days. Even though I knew my decision, I still would have wanted super good notes to look back on if I had more houses left over in the end.
5. Rho Gammas are such a great source.
Who better to talk to than someone who is already apart of the community. Even though you don't (or at least you shouldn't) know their affiliation, they still went through what you are going through. They are an unbiased source for any of your questions, and are especially helpful when you are torn between houses. They disaffiliate for a reason. They want to help girls find their home, and see their eyes light up when they see their bid and run home for the first time. Disaffiliation is tough, so become their friend and make their choice to guide you a life changing experience.
6. Come into recruitment with an open mind.
I stalked all the social media of every chapter before recruitment. Because of this, I had my mind set on a certain chapter and even loved them the first time I talked with them. But, I got dropped after the first pref. This is recruitment; it happens to everyone. Luckily I fell in love with another chapter, and that is the one I am now a member of. I didn't even think about my chapter before rushing, and I honestly don't think I knew it existed on my campus. But, I walked into my first party with them with an open mind, and loved every minute of it. You may get dropped from your favorite house, but they saw you in a different home. Your mind does not have to be dead set on one and one only. Explore your options. You might still be apprehensive of your decision on bid day, but I guarantee you will find amazing friends, family, and memories.
7. Have fun!
The worst thing is to hate your life all of recruitment. It is a long time, but always have a positive mood about it. That is the only thing that will make it seem faster. Enjoy getting to know other girls and seeing what means so much to them. Don't talk bad about another chapter. Your Rho Gammas could potentially be in that chapter, and even other PNMs could love that house. If you feel uncertain about anything, always ask for help. Rho Gammas are there for just that. They want to see you happy in the end.
Good luck to every girl going through recruitment! If you are still uncertain whether to rush or not, I highly suggest it! It is such a great building experience and you will certainly be happy with your decision in the end. Being apart of something bigger than yourself and making a difference with your sisters is the best feeling.