It's sorority season each fall and spring...you know what that means! Or do you? Your brain is probably bombarded with thoughts of blonde southern girls in identical shirts sporting Greek letters, eerily posed. Think again. Sorority season isn't just about looks, it's about sisterhood, philanthropy and fun! Here are some tips for the newbie to sorority life. And if you decide to rush on campus, these will definitely help you throughout recruitment.
1. Don’t take everything personally.
Each day, you will likely receive a schedule of sororities to visit for a certain amount of time. Do not take it personally if you are dropped from a sorority that you really liked. Of course it hurts; you want everyone to like you! But in life, not everyone will and you have to believe that whatever happens, happens for a reason. There are always a variety of factors that go into a sorority’s decision of new members. DO NOT change your look, personality or character. Be true to you.
2. Every sorority has different personalities.
If after meeting a sorority, you come to a quick conclusion that they aren’t right for you, give them another chance. Talking to only one or several girls in a sorority does not always give you an accurate representation of it as a whole. In each sorority I met during recruitment, I found girls with completely different interests and personalities. A lot of girls in my sorority have close friends in other sororities.
3. Make your own decisions.
Don’t let what other girls are saying influence your opinion of a sorority. If one sorority is viewed as “cooler” or better than others, do not let that change your mind about them. Try to go into recruitment with an open mind and see which room you feel most confident in. These will be your sisters for four years and after, so make sure you are making the smart choice. You wouldn’t want to compromise your friendships to appear more popular — that was what girls did in middle school. College is a different game!
4. Pay attention to the philanthropy.
Each sorority has a cause, or several, that are important to them. They fundraise or volunteer their time for this cause and usually require members to help through mandatory events. Make sure that you ask questions and consider the philanthropy for each organization. Consider ones most important to you. If you've volunteered throughout high school then this is just another awesome reason to join a particular organization. You can continue to give back and feel good about it. Sororities always prove there is power in numbers, especially when it comes to philanthropy!
5. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
During my orientation for recruitment, I remember a recruitment head telling us that we should steer clear of the three B's when talking to sisters (the Bible, boys and booze). This led to a lot of girls (including myself) feeling that we couldn't ask questions about life in the sorority, or even about what kinds of socials occur and what fraternities a sorority tended to mix with. Because of this, I tended to focus more on the questions I knew were safe. While you probably shouldn't go on a rant about politics with a sister, don't be afraid to ask questions about what a typical weekend looks like as a member of that organization. Also gauge from the sister you are talking with before asking a particular question since you usually will be able to tell if she is comfortable talking to you beforehand.
6. Do not follow sorority girls on social media during recruitment!
Particularly at New York University, where I attend, no sisters are allowed to follow you on any form of social media during recruitment. If they do, a sister could get in trouble and potentially be kicked out of the sorority if taken to standards. This also means that if a sister does not talk to you outside of recruitment, it likely isn't because they are trying to be mean and intimidate you. Nine times of out ten it is because they will get in trouble for communicating with you.
7. Keep things in perspective.
If the idea of recruitment stresses you out and makes you want to jump into bed and stay under your covers for months, take a deep breath. It is scary at times and can be intimidating, but put things in perspective. Sororities are not your whole life. Although, they definitely add to your college experience and can give you friends you will keep for life. Not everyone joins, and it isn’t the end-all be-all. If you are thinking of quitting and feel like it isn’t for you, talk to people. See what life is like without joining on campus, and it could make you change your mind.
8. Have fun!
Sororities are supposed to be enjoyable. Not every part of recruitment will be super fun, but try to be the best version of yourself through it all. Let go of any stereotypes you’ve ever heard about sororities and Greek life on campus. It’s not for everyone, but you’ll never know what it is like if you don’t try!
Already, my sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi, has been such an important part of my college experience. I've made some amazing friends, and more importantly, amazing memories. Don't miss out on the chance to get more involved and have fun by doing so. You won't regret it!
Lead Image Credit: marcos ojeda via Flickr Creative Commons