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#sorority life

All together, sorority recruitment and sorority life differ from school to school. Many videos I find on YouTube are girls who go to large, southern schools with massive greek systems. I go to a much smaller school, so my perspective on sorority life is a bit different. A lot of perspectives on YouTube I find don’t really match up with my experience. I hope to give a different look and some different ideas. Every experience is different (although some videos make it seem like it is all the same). These women’s opinions and pieces of advice are valid!

The questions below were taken from this video:

Here are my thoughts and advice!

1. How do you join a sorority?

This is actually way more complex than you could imagine. I am a true supporter of the formal recruitment route. This is the best way (not necessarily the easiest) to meet every chapter and have a better chance at joining. It’s the most unbiased way to join in my opinion. If I didn’t go through formal recruitment, I would’ve had a completely different outcome and I would’ve been as happy as I am now with my chapter. 

Formal recruitment can come at a very stressful time though. Therefore, many chapters at smaller universities do informal recruitment during the school year to give girls a chance who maybe didn’t have the ability to complete formal recruitment. If you go to a larger school, your options may be limited though. A lot of girls have benefited from the informal route. There is always a pressure to complete formal recruitment your first year, but it is really up to what you feel most comfortable doing.

2. What is rush like?

Rush is very stressful. As someone who was very self conscious going into this, I was consistently bombarded with stress about the chapters’ impressions of me. (Check my post for more details.) Depending on the time of recruitment (the lingo, we don’t call it rush), it can line up with really long days. It was a lot of waiting around. I told a lot of people what I wanted to be when I grew up. I am also a strong introvert, so I relied heavily on the others driving the conversation. The best thing is: they are trained to keep the convo going and they will! All you need to do is come in and just be yourself! If you’re geeky, talk about geeky things. If you’re quiet, it’s okay to be quiet.

In the end, it is like giving birth: you don’t really remember it. I cannot tell you everyone I talked to the second night of my recruitment at all. I remember being very nervous when going anywhere and compared my self to other girls, but my mind went straight to focusing on the chapter once I was pledged.

3. Why did I join a sorority?

I did the classic YOLO moment. I literally just joined because I wanted to have that experience in college and I’m only in college once. My advice is: there is always a “grace period” with sororities. You don’t have to commit from day one. It may take some time! I wasn’t completely set on my chapter at first, but once I went through new member education I started to see myself better in the group. The more meaningful question, in my opinion, is why a woman stayed.

4. How do you know if you fit in?

It’s all about those conversations. If you can talk to someone in the house and be yourself, it’s the place for you. If you don’t feel comfortable, that’s a red flag. There is always some awkwardness at first, but the other members want to get to know you and want you to be there. It’s just like any new environment.

5. What do you do in a sorority?

I would break down my time in sorority life in three big categories: meeting, social, philanthropy. There are always weekly meetings (like a big club). Meetings are my favorite part! I love being in the know. Second, social is a big overarching category. There is obviously that bonding sisterhood environment in sorority life. I interact with many sisters on a normal basis. There are also events with other chapters in there too. Lastly, philanthropy is a major thing that keeps the sorority train a-chuggin’. There are usually two types: events and service hours.

6. What is a big/little?

Depending on the chapter you affiliate with, this can mean so many different things. Overall, it’s usually a woman a year above who is there to be a strong connection and friendship. They can fill a mentor role and can be that rock in your sorority to keep you involved and feel included. These most often are done in a preference way where you pref the girls you would like and an exec member does the matching.

7. Favorite memories?

Everyone chooses big/little week, but I personally loved the first week of living in the house. I was very distant my second semester of freshman year, and the bonds I strengthened in the first few days changed my outlook on sorority life forever. They always preach that living in the house is the best thing and I completely agree! I literally found my best friend and roommate in those first few weeks.

8. What events are mandatory?

Plain and simple: meetings and anything chapter related. If it’s a social events, it’s not mandatory. Events are kind of the hardest thing to balance as an upperclassman. It can get very dense, very quick. Overall though, they are things that do support you in growing in the chapter. There are always valid excuses to use as well! Sorority life shouldn’t interfere with your academic life and sometimes things just come up. Also, the fines or points are usually fairly low for missing something or can be waived with a bit of explaining to the finance chair.

9. How much does it cost?

A lot. It’s not easy. The price tag is most shocking up front. There are many one-time fees during pledging and initiation that can be high. After that, there are usually the same price of dues or small charges. A lot of stuff like t-shirts or swag are charged to you. Dues, though, keep the sorority going. It’s the income that pays for events we do as a chapter.

I’ll be transparent. I probably payed over $2000 my first semesters. It was dues and fees (that allowed us to eat at the house each week). Then, I’ve consistently paid about $900 a month to live and eat at the house including dues. Living in the house at my school is cheaper than on campus, so there are usually these incentives at smaller schools like mine.

The thing is though, that many people do struggle to keep up with payments. There is always this belief that everyone is easy-breezy paying their bills except you, but that’s false. The trick is not let it get too far without talking to your finance chair. This woman’s job is to help all the members! We all want our members there and we want to help!

10. How to prepare and what to wear?

The only prep you may need to do for recruitment is to really think about your values and why you want to be in a sorority. If your greek system is Panhellenic, you are going to be a part of values-based recruitment. They’re going to ask you a lot about what you do and what you stand for. Don’t dig too deep into what each chapter’s stereotype or who is in it, because these are all things that may keep you from having an open mind (based on what I did). 

What to wear is pretty simple: casual and comfortable. You’re going to be walking around a lot and you want to feel good in what you are wearing. Don’t shed the cash for this, though. I would recommend wearing the clothes you already have or getting staples you can wear again. There is strong emphasis on what you feel confident in. They also won’t judge you on what you wear!

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