Complaining about recruitment is one of the secret joys of being in a sorority. I mean, it’s a week of small talk, full makeup, high heels, and zero downtime. We know at the end of it all we wind up with a new pledge class filled with littles, grand littles, and friends. But that doesn’t change the fact that recruitment is grueling. And while we love to complain about that week, I don’t think we complain about the week before enough. Workshop week. Spirit week. Whatever your school calls it, it’s the five to seven days before formal recruitment that you spend practicing everything from your smiles, to your conversation skills, to your damn door stacks.
And if teetering in painful heels for a week wasn’t hard enough, doing it for a week before “just because” is even worse. Here are a few secrets to surviving workshop. No, they aren’t things your standards chair would advise — but I can guarantee that she’s right there with you, putting as many of these into use as possible. Desperate times, you know?
1. If You’re Not Hungover, You’re Wrong
Some schools and chapters make workshop week a dry week. Others just look the other way. If you’re part of the second group, take a minute to appreciate the fact that you picked a good house. If you’re part of the first group, however, just think about this with me — you’re expected to forego all alcohol while you spend every second of your day in a house filled with high voices and lots of hormones? I’m not buying it. I’m not saying go to a bar and get trashed. But I’m also not saying avoid eye contact with that bottle of wine in your fridge. What your exec board (and social media) doesn’t know won’t hurt it. Besides, that’s what sunglasses and coffee are for in the morning.
2. Don’t You Dare Talk About Dumb Things
If it’s during “practice” with your sisters, another house that you do run throughs with, or just the random girls you’re hanging out with between torture session, don’t you dare talk about the things you’ll actually talk to PNMs about. Now is your time to vent, complain about your feet, and question the sanity of your recruitment counselors. If you’re not talking about the guy who probably forgot you existed since you haven’t gone out in days or the fact that your recruitment chair is the devil, you’re missing out.
3. Place Bets On Who Will Cry First
It’s only a matter of time before someone cracks. Whether it’s because someone is wearing the wrong shade of peach, people don’t know the words to “Perfect Day” (the best entrance song of all time), or just the general bitchiness that results in 100 plus girls being in one house for two weeks straight — someone. will. cry. Take bets on who it’ll be and pray that it’s not you.
4. Show Up Just Late Enough Where You Won’t Get Fined
Chapters always say “show up to the house rush ready” at like 4 a.m. when you really don’t start doing anything until 9. 9:15 even. Do yourself a favor and come in through the back door at the latest possible minute. And if you *do* decide to show up on time (crazy), at least bring your wand and curl your hair at the house. There’s nothing worse than waking up before the sun, only to get to the house and everyone else is still in pajamas.
5. Don’t Give Up Your Phone Unless You Absolutely Have To
Now first, this is for workshop only. Don’t be the asshole whose phone goes off during recruitment and gets the chapter fined. Or do. I don’t care. But when it comes to workshop, most of the stuff you know, and the rest of it is just girls yelling over each other. I’m not saying get caught with your phone out. But when there’s down time, or when you’re hiding in the bathroom pretending that the Chipotle you had for lunch is making you feel bad, you’ll be thankful that you shoved your iPhone down your bra.
6. If People Are Arguing About How Something Is Done, Stay Out Of It
“But last year we had the girls put their preference flowers in a vase!” one girl shouts. “But they would look better on the trellisssss!” another whines. “Guys! What about if we just ripped off the petals and blew them at the PNMs?” idiot Stacey suggests. You slink down in your seat, watching the match unfurl as you consider piping up with your opinion. We get it. It’s crucial what the girls do with the preference flowers. I mean, maybe they would have accepted the bid if you went vase, but instead, you went trellis. But when it all comes down to it, the more opinions, the longer it’ll take to get out of there. Unless you feel really strongly (like, you’ll-regret-not-saying-something-five-years-from-now strongly) keep your mouth shut and just watch it unfold.
7. Stare At The Vein Throbbing In Your Recruitment Chair’s Forehead
You know, the one in the middle of her face that keeps filling with blood? The one that pulses every time someone claps their hands on the wrong beat? The one that changes from blue to a deep, deep purple? Yeah. That vein. Just keep an eye on it for your sister’s sake and your own entertainment.
8. Stalk The Shit Out Of PNMs
We know, we know. Your Facebooks have to be deactivated and everything has to be private. But that doesn’t mean the PNMs shit is private and that also doesn’t mean that you can’t put your boyfriend’s Facebook password (come on. We know you have it) to good use. I’m not saying contact these girls. But stalk them back to 2007 and look at any and all mutual friends? Absolutely. You owe it to yourself, your chapter, and your insane curiosity.
9. Break As Many Dumb Rules As You Can Without Getting In Trouble
During workshop, some chapters have the three Bs. No boys, no booze, and no bars. Meaning you can’t go hang out at frat houses, you can’t get drunk, and you can’t go out. It’s a sad time combined with one of the most painful times when wearing heels all day every day is the norm. If you can get through that without a glass or five of wine at night, power to you. But if you want to hang out with your boyfriend (who happens to live at a frat house) or you want to watch a movie with your big and a bottle of rosé, fucking do it. I don’t mean go out to the college bars and put it on your snap story during dry week(s). But I’m also saying that even exec isn’t even following all of their own rules. The secret is, you just can’t get caught.
10. If You Don’t Have An Excuse To Get Out Of It, And You Can’t Make One Up, Be Sure Not To Have Other Plans
Most of the time you have to attend workshop and/or recruitment unless you have a family emergency or a really good job. Your waitressing gig isn’t going to cut it, and the fact that your 21st birthday falls in the middle of the week won’t win you any free passes. So unless you say your grandmother is really sick (or unless she really is) don’t bank on getting out of recruitment. And when it comes to recruitment, don’t bank on getting out of there on time. Sure, they say they’ll go until 6 p.m. But then 6 becomes 7:30 which becomes dinner which becomes 11 p.m. If you want to preserve your relationships and blood pressure, don’t make any plans with anyone. If you get out early and can hit up your pseudo-boyfriend, great. But I guarantee any date you set will be canceled to “go over the entrance song one more time, ladies!”
11. Try To, IDK, Enjoy It?
This has to be my most annoying piece of advice, but I have to give it. As a washed up postgrad, I can’t help but get nostalgic for the days of hanging out at the house all day and complaining about what a bitch the recruitment chair is. Sure, it’s hot. And tiring. And you really want to be at that party your boyfriend’s frat is throwing. But try to enjoy the experience. Few times do you get to hang out with your sisters like this, and there’s something so pure about it. You’ll get to know girls you never talked to before and you’ll make bonds with people you never knew existed. Sure, being in a sorority is for life. But these four years? They’re the foundation. Cherish the fuck out of them.
Trust me, the blisters are worth it for the new babies..
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