As a sister of a sorority, I thought it was going to be pretty easy to be in the recruitment room this time around. I wouldn't have to run from sorority to sorority to have five minute conversations, I could meet all these new freshman who were excited about recruitment and my chapter would end up with a kick-ass pledge class. And yes, while all of that did happen, there's a lot that happens that you are not expected to go through as a sister. Surprisingly, there were times I felt more judged than when I was going through recruitment. So, if you're worried you didn't end up in the right chapter or ended up not even joining, here's a few secrets of what the sisters have to go through.
1. Outfit Checks
I'm not sure if this is true for everyone, but our chapter had to do outfit checks for every outfit we would wear during recruitment. When I was going through as a potential new member, I wasn't that worried about what I wore. I mean, yeah, I wanted to be "presentable," but I had to be equally impressed by the sisters of a chapter. Realizing that I was the one that had to do some of the impressing now was kind of scary. Getting denied wearing my amazing light wash jeans was even worse. Of course, I had back ups, but it's still crazy. To think that a pair of jeans could really make or break someone wanting to join is intense.
2. We Get Just as Much Time as You
Often, there's a point where the potential new members are waiting outside of the house, or room. At this point, the sisters inside aren't just lounging out. They're fixing their hair, eating a protein bar, shoving cough drops in their mouth, drinking water, etc. They're trying to get just as professional as you can get before you guys enter the room. There is no such thing as lounging around. I was lucky if I got to sit down for a total of 20 seconds in between some parties.
3. We Can't Talk to Our Friends
A lot of the time, there are sophomores that go through recruitment as well. This meant I had a lot of friends going through recruitment, that I had class with, that I hung out with regularly, that I talked to every day. At Rochester, we have something called "Strict Silence," where we can't talk to anyone going through recruitment unless it's in the recruitment room. Stifling my "Hey, wanna hangout?" texts was probably the hardest thing.
4. This Includes Some Sisters
Some of our sisters disaffiliated to become something we call "Rho Gammas." They disaffiliate in order to help the new members find their best home. Basically, they help the new members rank the sororities they go to, give no bias and help with the process overall. This meant that I couldn't talk to my G-Big or my G-Aunt, both who I'm pretty close with. But you know who did get to talk to them? All the new members.
5. We're Trying Just as Hard to Impress You
Sometimes there are girls that go through recruitment that you start to fall in love with if you talk to them. This is really stressful because you could fall in love, and they could be totally turned off. It's like a first date, but with your entire family there. Keeping the potential new member relaxed is important, and sometimes that doesn't happen. It's really sad when the new members actually don't come back on the second or third day, which can be heartbreaking.
6. You Don't Really Get to Be Yourself
It's not that you don't act like yourself, it's that you have to act like your best self. As in, not the sweatpants-on, pizza-eating, struggling-with-chem self. It's the self that wants to achieve the highest goals and get the next best pledge class with the cutest new members you could ask for. That means refraining from talking about how much food you ate last night. Even if it's Chipotle. Of course, as you start to get to know these girls better, you can start to bring up the obsession with Chipotle. That's how you know they're the right girls for you.
7. You Gotta Watch The Eyes
When you talk to these girls, you're really watching for what makes their eyes glisten and light up. I actually was lucky enough to talk to one girl who when talking about community service actually perked her entire body up and just went off on a 10 minute rant about this amazing charity she was involved in during high school. That's the type of thing that a sorority is looking for. So that means staying attentive at all times, even if the conversation isn't going anywhere. You never know what might get them to talk about their passions, whether that's making food, playing sports, traveling the world, everything they say and how they say it has to be accounted for.
8. Contribution in Key
New members are amazing. But they have to offer something to the chapter. So when going through recruitment as a sister this year, I had to really look for what they could contribute as a potential sister to this chapter. Whether that was taking on leadership roles or wanting to, or participating in every single philanthropy event we offered, there had to be something that they could to do to make the chapter better. Again, it's that idea of being attentive.
It's hard going through recruitment, no matter what side of the process you're on. If you ended up in a chapter you didn't think you would end up in, there's probably a good reason. They heard you talk about your parents with a glow in your eyes, or they loved that you cared so much about your sports team. You impressed them, and you should be so so happy to call them home for the rest of your college experience, even if takes time. Just remember, you'll be in their shoes next year!