Fall is in the air once again which means it’s every sorority woman’s favorite, and least favorite, time of year: recruitment. If you’re already a sister chances are you’re scoping out a potential little or grand-little, drinking seven cups of tea a day to make sure you don’t lose your voice, and wishing your Vice President of Recruitment could just chill for a sec with the outfit demands. If you’re a PNM, or potential new member, chances are you’re filled with nervous excitement at the thought of getting a hundred or more new sisters, wearing Greek letters, and finally being able to “throw what you know.”

As a recent alumnae of a Panhellenic organization, sometimes I see the voices of the silent majority get lost in the chaotic boom of the recruitment process. So if you’re a PNM who is looking to join Greek life, allow me to speak some truth to you about this process and tell you what you really need to know before you sign your bid card.

1) Trust the process.

If you’re a PNM, chances are you’ve already heard this 17 times from your Rho Gamma, but it’s true. If you are genuinely yourself and invest more in finding your home than wearing the “most coveted” letters, you really will end up where you belong.

2) Sisterhood is hard & isn’t always forever.

Organizations make sisterhood look like it’s all fun and games. That isn’t always reality. There are some amazing parts of Greek life, but when you put 100 girls in a room at once, there are bound to be fights, disagreements, and cattiness. There will be women you just cannot get along with, or wish you didn’t share letters with. It’s just an unfortunate truth of joining an organization with dozens of women. You can’t cherry pick your sisters.

3) You’ll meet phenomenal women.

Sisterhood might not always be easy, but some of the most hard working, loyal, dedicated, empowering, educated, considerate, all around amazing women I know are my sisters. Some of my best friends are my sisters. You’re bound to have the girls you don’t see eye to eye with, but you just might also meet your best friend & Maid of Honor. You just might find your “person.”

4) You get out what you put in.

Some women in my organization threw their entire hearts and souls into my sorority. Others hardly showed up to chapter. You truly get out of an organization what you put into it. If you know you won’t have the time to attend chapter, socials, or retreats, I would seriously consider going Greek at all. 

5) Executive Board are people too.

While they might try to act big and bad, deep down your leadership team deals with the same struggles you do, except they’re dealing with everyone’s struggles. Try to find a little sympathy for your Vice President or Standards Chair next time they’re coming down on you, or acting a little rude. Also, don’t forget they’re just people and nothing to be afraid of.

6) Bigs & Littles are fun…. Sometimes.

The process of getting a big or little can be very cutthroat. When I got my little there was one woman who “dirty bigged”, or cheated, to get her little. She lost the respect of a lot of sisters because of it. Don’t be that girl. The process of selecting bigs and littles is also different in every chapter. The reality is it does not always produce the picture perfect pairs you see on Instagram. While I love my Big and Little more than life itself, not every woman is quite as lucky. Don’t get caught up in thinking they have to be your best friend.

7) Every chapter at every school is different.

If you’re a legacy, or thinking you know which chapter you want to join because your best friend at another school is in it, listen up. Every chapter at every school will have a different culture because they have different sisters. If your mom was an Alpha Gam at University of Alabama, and you’re going to Auburn, don’t join just because your mom had the time of her life. Get to know the sisters and see if it’s a place you will truly feel at home.

8) Give every organization a chance.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the recruitment process is to give every organization a shot. Even if you think you know which one is the perfect fit, a chapter might just surprise you if you let them. Don’t judge a chapter by its Headquarter’s Twitter account. Go into rush week with an open mind.

9) GPA is important.

Sorority women are stereotyped for not caring about their grades and going out and partying all the time. I, for one, think this is completely unfounded and untrue. Every sorority has an overall GPA to maintain, and they take it very seriously. Nearly every chapter will mandate study hours to every sister. Don’t think joining a sorority is an invitation to let your grades slip, or that your GPA will tank when you get a bid. Everyone is in college for the same reason: to get a degree. Grades should come first, sorority second.

10) It really can be “for life.”

Although I was only in my chapter for two years, three of my best friends in the world are my sisters. I’m blessed to not only be able to say they’re my closest friends and the women who know me the best, but that we share a special bond of sisterhood. We will be sisters, always.

11) You will be judged by your letters.

Take this at face value. Every chapter on every campus has a reputation. Make sure you understand what that reputation is before you tie it to yours forever.

12) Sorority life is essentially one big accountability party.

If there’s one thing you need to know it’s that you will be judged by the least common denominator. So, if Becky is going to the PIKE parties every weekend and getting trashed, just be prepared for the snarky “oh she’s in your sorority” digs and holding her accountable when she forgets her study hours… again. Your name is really all you have in this world, so you are essentially forced to hold each other accountable because if you don’t, you’re all going down together. This might sound like a total drag, but holding each other accountable is a fundamental aspect of sisterhood. It will teach you invaluable skills about what it means to be a sister and responsible young woman.

13) Philanthropies can change your life.

My favorite part of my organization was the philanthropy aspect. You’re able to raise money, serve, and contribute to worthy causes that influence others for the better. There is no feeling like being able to send a substantial check to an organization knowing the money will be used to change someone’s life.

14) Standards Board is nothing to be afraid of.

If you’re a PNM you’ll probably hear about Standards one way or another. This is just a scary monster in the closet that leadership uses to scare you into behaving at socials and doing your study hours. Standards Board is there to make sure everyone is upholding the values you all agreed to, because remember, you’re all judged by the actions of the whole.

15) Perseverance is key.

There will be times while you’re going through recruitment or as a member of a chapter that you want to just quit. That is when it’s most important to keep your head up, trust the process, and believe in the organization you joined. It won’t always be fun and games, but if you stick it out, it really will be worth it in the end.

16) Bids aren’t everything.

The hard truth of recruitment is that not everyone can get a bid. I can tell you from personal experience, it’s no fun. Yes, personal experience. I went through recruitment twice before I found my home, and that’s okay. It would have been okay if I didn’t ever “find my home” in Greek life, because it really isn’t for everyone. Whether you’re a woman who gets the bid she always dreamed of, doesn’t get a bid, or doesn’t want one at all, know that your value does not derive from the letters you wear on your chest.

Corrie L
FFL Cabinet Member
Corrie is a Cabinet Member at FFL. She is passionate about coffee, Jesus, and lipstick, and never wears white after Labor Day. If she isn't busy talking about law school or FFL, you can find her studying constitutional law or reviewing a contract. Her plan A is Super Mom turned Supreme Court Justice, and she hopes to one day be just like Sandra Day O"Connor.

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