Sorority members and potential new members alike anxiously await the week that will change their lives forever. My Greek journey has been a long and amazing one. I can’t believe I’m going into my last year of college and my last year in my incredible chapter. As I am looking forward to the upcoming recruitment season and reflecting on when I began my journey as a Greek woman, I have compiled an unsolicited, incredibly honest, heartfelt list of advice for PNMs.
1. Give Greek life a chance.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not you think you should go through with recruitment – do it. You literally have nothing to lose and incredible sisters to gain. I never saw myself as a “sorority girl” and now I can’t imagine who I would be if I wasn’t.
2. Don’t drop.
Once you start recruitment, stick it out. It’s going to be exhausting, nerve-racking and emotional, but it’s going to be worth it.
3. You will get cut from houses.
It is part of the process and it’s unavoidable. Don’t take your cuts personally. Remember at the end of the week, you only need one house, so the ones that cut you don’t really matter.
4. Don’t set your heart on a specific house.
You’ve stalked each and every house, you’ve stalked the members, you’ve asked around, you’ve searched every crevice of the internet for information about these sororities. And you think you’ve found the one. You think you know going into recruitment that THIS is your house and where you’re meant to be. I’m here to let you know, it’s probably not. I only know one or two people who ended up in the house they wanted from the very beginning. Remember that meeting the sororities and talking to the members matters a lot more than who has the cutest photos on Instagram.
5. Don’t re-rush if you drop.
If a house cut you once, chances are they’ll cut you twice. If they didn’t think you were right for their sisterhood the first time they met you, they probably won’t think much differently the second time around. I know tons of girls who ended up with a house they didn’t want and went through recruitment again. Surprise, surprise, they ended up with that same house AGAIN. Congrats. You ended up in the same house you got the first time around and you lost an entire year with your sisters because you were bitter.
6. We are just as nervous as you are.
EVERYONE is nervous during recruitment. As a PNM, you worry about what you’re going to say and what they’re going to think of you. You plan out conversations in your head and go over every little thing. Something I was shocked to discover my first year recruiting for my chapter? You do the exact same thing as a sorority member on the other side. I wanted the PNMs to like me just as much as they wanted me to like them. I worried about what we would talk about and what I would do if the conversation got awkward. We are in the same boat as you.
7. It’s okay to be honest.
In fact, it’s good. You don’t have to be the person you think sororities are looking for. Don’t pretend to like Gossip Girl just because you found out I like Gossip Girl and you want to have something in common with me. If I ask you how you’re liking recruitment, it’s okay to say it sucks. It’s okay to say you’re hot, tired and emotionally drained. It’s okay to have a bad day and it’s okay to admit you’re having one. Remember, we’re real people and we’re looking for other real people. You don’t have to be fake!
8. It’s okay to not know the answer to our questions.
I promise you will be asked a question you don’t know the answer to at some point during recruitment. Don’t make something up. Just be honest and admit that you don’t know.
9. Stop thinking about the colors or the symbols of each sorority.
The week of my recruitment, I heard so many girls claiming they wanted XYZ sorority because they thought the colors were cute or they liked anchors or crowns. Instead of worrying which chapter has the “cutest” symbols, mascots and colors, think about what those things represent. Each color represents a characteristic. Each symbol represents a part of the sisterhood. It’s not about what’s cute, it’s about the meaning behind it.
10. Realize how much hard work and dedication went into each chapter.
Every chapter at your school had to start from somewhere. Remember that generations of women have come before you and put their blood, sweat and tears into that chapter. Women have poured their hearts into that chapter. They have worked so hard and continue to work so hard. Think that through before you speak negatively about any chapter!
11. Stay humble.
Remember you are striving to be what each member of each chapter is – a sorority woman. Don’t put yourself above anyone. You aren’t better than anyone.
12. Stop obsessing over your clothes.
Wear clothes that you think are cute. Wear clothes that fit your body well and that are comfortable. No one is going to know whether you spent $14 or $400 on your dress. Don’t think you have to pour tons of money into brand new designer clothing just for recruitment. In all honesty, so many girls are in and out of the house throughout the course of the day, almost no one will even remember what you were wearing.
13. Don’t be intimated.
Not by your fellow PNMs and not by the sorority girls.
14. If you can’t hear, ask the person you are speaking with to repeat themselves.
Sorority houses are LOUD places during recruitment week. There are over two-hundred women in one house and they’re all speaking at once. I can’t tell you how awkward it is when I ask a PNM where she’s living this year and she just smiles and says “yeah!” It’ll be a lot less awkward for both of you if you just ask them to repeat themselves.
15. It’s okay to be shy.
As an introvert, recruitment seemed like a nightmare for me. So many people to meet, so much talking to do. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to keep the conversation going. Take it from me – you will make it. There were definitely some not-so-great conversations between me and sorority members. There were awkward moments and long silences. But there were also great conversations. There were women I felt completely comfortable around. There were times when the minutes just flew by and I didn’t even want to leave that house.
16. Don’t worry about being awkward.
Remember it’s okay to let people know you’re nervous. They can probably already tell. Try to make light of the situation and laugh about it when things get really awkward. You can break an awkward interaction just by talking about how awkward it is.
17. You are good enough.
What you look like is what you look like. If you’re short, you’re short. If you’re tall, you’re tall. If you’re overweight, you’re overweight. It is what it is. You aren’t going to be able to change the way you look before recruitment begins and you shouldn’t feel like you have to. Just be confident in yourself and remember that everyone around you – even the tallest, tannest, blondest ones, have something they’re insecure about. Own your height. Own your weight. Own your face. They’re yours. They’ve always been yours, they’re always going to be yours. Might as well make the most of it.
If you suffer from Chronic Bitch Face, as so many of us do, try your best to look happy. You might feel weird or uncomfortable when you’re just sitting there smiling or smiling while you talking, but I assure you – it doesn’t look as awkward as it feels. If you feel like you’re not doing a good job of showing how excited you are to be there, just tell them! Facial expressions can do a lot, but your words can do a lot more!
19. Remember that conversations almost never go the way you expect them to.
You can spend hours upon hours planning out each possible conversational outcome and still end up talking about something you didn’t prepare for. Remember it’s just talking! Don’t stress about it too much.
20. Once you get your bid, give that chapter a chance even if you don’t feel like you belong there.
Trust the recruitment system. You pretty much end up where you need to be. You might not connect with anyone during recruitment or even on bid day. There are so many exciting things to look forward to – getting a big, chapter retreat, semi-formal. Stick it out for a little while before you make the final decision that it’s just not for you.
21. Forget the stereotypes.
Greek life in general has several negative stereotypes associated with it, but I’m sure each chapter at your school has its own set of stereotypes. Don’t pay attention to rumors you hear or read online. Forget which chapter is the “hot sorority” and which is the “bad sorority.” Go into it with an open mind and don’t let someone else’s opinions affect your own.
22. Don’t talk crap about any of the chapters.
Just don’t. You might not like every girl you talk to during recruitment. You might think the woman you talked to was weird or awkward. That does NOT mean you have the right to talk badly about that chapter.
23. Don’t drop because others tell you to.
You’ll be amazed at how much your fellow PNMs will tell you about the recruitment and sorority process. They may have an older sister in one of the chapters or a boyfriend in a fraternity there. Trust me when I say, until you are in a chapter, you do not know anything about that chapter. Choosing to drop because you don’t have any of “the good” chapters left is insulting to every chapter that you still have on your card. Whether you get the “top house” or the “bottom house” you are going to have 200 sisters welcoming you with open arms on your bid day.