To be frank, the anxiety that comes with sorority recruitment is what I imagine sea divers feel when they get into the underwater cage to videotape sharks during Shark Week. With that said, it’s also one of the most valuable experiences I have gained in college.
As a senior in high school, the only knowledge I had about sorority life came from Legally Blonde, Sydney White, and TSM articles, which equated sorority life to four years of glitter and hookups. My best friend, a Lilly Pulitzer wearing, SEC school bound third generation legacy, was bred for Greek life, while I couldn’t tell a bid card from a tea card. So while she was evaluating the tier of her prospective sisterhood, I was planning on winging it. And honestly, it worked out for both of us. She found her perfect sorority, and I found mine.
Without a doubt, sorority recruitment is one thing if nothing else: stressful. How could it not be? You are seeking a home away from home for the next four years, while being judged based on your appearance, personality, and life accomplishments. You spend one week searching for your homegirls, your wing women, your sisters, all while knowing that THEY HAVE TO LIKE YOU TOO. Stressful. I know. But guess what, life is stressful. So what better to prepare you for the stresses of life than diving in headfirst?
So I showed up to college and began socializing with my fellow freshman ladies preparing for sorority life. Embarrassingly, I thought nice dresses, a pretty smile, and smooth hair were all it took for a sorority to want you. This was so terribly wrong for one important reason. That’s completely shallow. Of course you can’t just look pretty and make people like you. I think the best way to describe sorority recruitment is kind of like speed dating. Depending on the university there are multiple houses to visit and for each house, many, many girls to talk to. You say “Hi,” tell them your major, answer how recruitment is going for you so far, and hurriedly answer “yes!” when they offer you a glass of water because your throat is SOOOO parched (FYI, don’t take too much, because you don’t have enough time to pee during your five minute sprint to the next house). You desperately want them to like you, but also want to like them too.
There’s a “mutual selection” process where you pick the sororities that you like and, in turn, the sororities pick the PNMs that they like. This can be wonderful or heartbreaking when you find out which houses invited you back, but it definitely makes you stronger. Personally, I was cut from two houses, but now I can look back with certainty and know that they were not the houses for me. As a girl who values campus prestige and involvement, I would not have fit into the houses that just talked to me about how much they absolutely LOVE watching Bachelor in Paradise, or asked me how many dresses I bought from the Lilly sale.
One thing I want to say: you absolutely 100% ARE NOT paying for your friends. You are paying to be part of an organization that provides you with a community with whom you can do community service, become more involved on campus, and participate in social functions (holla at ya formals). If someone says this to you then bless their heart. And really, what is the harm in trying? At the very least you can come out of it knowing that it’s just not for you, but having met lots of great new people.
So OBVIOUSLY the end goal is to find where you belong and yes, yes, yes that is the reason that you should go through recruitment, but whether you are skeptical of Greek life or not, you should still gain the experience because it is the best thing you can do for yourself in college. Besides finding your sisterhood, you will meet lifelong friends whether you pledge the same sorority or not. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I’ll leave you with this: sorority recruitment leads you home..