It seems this week I am obsessed with resumes, headshots and recommendations.  Yesterday I referred to the “pile” on my desk…good news…made a dent in it last night :).  Reading all these resumes got me thinking about PNM’s and what a composite might look like.  I so wish I had the ability to draw on this because I would do one of those tutorial pictures but I am going to try to draw a picture with my words instead.

Patty PNM has decided to go through recruitment at the University of ABC.  She didn’t enter upon this decision lightly.  She did her homework, read blogs, Google articles and totally ingested the Panhellenic website and Chapter Profiles for her school.  Looking at the pictures and reading about all the different activities each sorority is involved in was so much fun.  As Patty looked at each set of pictures she tried to place herself in and amongst the girls.  There were some houses that she just didn’t feel like she fit but others seemed a perfect match.  Patty KNEW this was something that SHE wanted as part of her “college” experience.

Let’s take a look at Patty and see what type of PNM she is.

Patty is a pretty girl but not someone who stands out in a crowd (think NOT pageant girl).  She is average height and weight, hates her legs (she thinks they are too short) and is more comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt than a dress and tights.  Her hair is shoulder length and straight except when it is humid out and then she has these little curls that pop out at the base of her hairline (she’s already started to obsess about these curls since the school where she is going through recruitment is in an area of the country that is generally very warm and humid). Patty is a little worried about recruitment because she feels that she’s just the normal girl…how is she supposed to compete with the other 1000 or more girls who are also going through recruitment at this time?  Let’s look at Patty from head to toe and see how she can shine.

We will start at the head.  Patty is a smart girl.  She worked hard in high school, got great grades (she’s a member of National Honor Society) and received and Honors Award for the highest AP English score.  Her organizational skills are excellent but still she finds the whole process of finding recommendations for all of the houses on campus a daunting task.  Her “head” tells her to be organized and so she makes a spread sheet listing all of the houses, who she has contacted to write a recommendation and what houses she still needs recs for.  Patty finds the process a little frustrating.  She likes to be “in control” of a situation and the lack of control over the women who are writing her recommendations has got her a bit frazzled! She has compiled her recommendation packages with her resume (this was hard for her at first because she discovered that a sorority resumes in not the same as a work resume), 2 pictures (1 head shot and one full body. Patty really liked her senior pictures so she used the wallet size ones that she traded with her friends for this), a “thank you” note personally written and addressed to each woman and a sample copy of a “letter of introduction”.  Patty has asked each person who is writing her a recommendation if they would be willing to write a personal letter “introducing” her to their sorority and talking about why they think she would make a good sister. Patty found that asking the women to do this made her nervous and was a little out of her comfort zone but she wanted to try to make herself “stand above the rest” and so she is hoping that many of the women will choose this option.

Patty’s good grades will make her attractive to many of the houses on campus.  Most universities have a minimum GPA for each chapter and Patty fits well into that score.  Since she is organized Patty will be able to balance the time pressures of sorority life with her class work.  She has already planned to take a manageable class load first semester, knowing that she will have sorority obligations almost EVERY night of the week.

Patty has smiley eyes…you know the kind that sparkle when she is excited or happy.  She’s hoping that the sorority women notice this when she makes a connection with some of them.  Her friends would describe her smile as slightly lopsided..kind of goofy but it lights up a room.  Patty plans on smiling A LOT during recruitment.  She has practiced her “smiles” in the mirror at home…she saw it in a movie once and thought that having a variety of “smiles” might make her stand out from the other girls (her mother doesn’t have the heart to tell her they all look the same!).  Someone told Patty that if you put a little Vaseline on your front teeth it will “MAKE” you smile.  She’s tried this…it tasted terrible!!!  Patty has gone out and bought some very light colored lip gloss to use (almost neutral but with just a hint of color).  She has decided to go for a more “natural” look…one she thinks SHE wears best.   since the weather is so humid she doesn’t want her face to melt!!!  Recruitment in August so Patty will have a healthy tan (she’s a lifeguard during the summer) and so she’s pretty confident that just a little blusher is all she’ll need.  She has made sure to buy water proof mascara for her lashes…she doesn’t want it to run in the heat and humidity.

Patty  is easy to talk to but a little on the “shy” side.  She finds conversations hard if she doesn’t know the person to whom she is speaking.  Patty is worried about this and so she’s trying to put her self out there to talk to others in setting that aren’t safe and comfortable.  One thing she is doing is trying to meet the women who are writing her recommendations (those she doesn’t know).  Patty is hoping that having to carry on conversations with these women will be good practiced for recruitment.  She also has “practiced” with her friends..having them ask her the types of questions that sorority members might ask.

Patty has a heart of gold.  She is kind and sweet and thoughtful.  Her mother worries that Patty is “too nice” and that emotionally the recruitment process will be hard on her.  Patty is hoping her “heart” will lead her to find her letters.  She is keeping her heart open to all possibilities (she plans on NOT listening to all of the “tent talk” that occurs during recruitment).  She has already seen that sometimes an open heart can set you up for disappointment and hurt.  She discovered this while searching for a roommate.  While on Facebook she connected with a girl who turned out to be not what she portrayed.  It was a painful but valuable lesson on trust and putting yourself out there.  Patty is hoping that as she goes through the recruitment process she will find a house her heart can call home.  She’s especially excited for Philanthropy Day.  Patty grew up in a home where service to others was stressed.  She was lucky enough to go on a mission trip to Africa the summer of her junior year.  Spending a week teaching art in a small Malawi village opened her eyes to how different the world can be.  She’s hoping that she will be able to talk about this experience on Philanthropy Day with the different houses she visits as well as to discuss the different philanthropies and how she might become involved.

Patty has what her mother calls an “athletic” build.  She played sports through out high school and so she is not “tiny” but not considered over weight either.  With her shorter, athletic thighs some of the types of dresses she has seen in pictures from her college won’t be flattering.  Patty worries that she won’t have the right “look”.  She knows thought that in order to be her best she has to be comfortable in what she wears each day.  In addition she isn’t able to afford the really high end clothing and so she has been surfing ebay and designer clothing sale sites to find some great dresses at reasonable prices.  Patty understands that she needs to be true to who she is.  She can’t just morph into someone else in order to “fit in”.  She is committed to be “Patty”.  She’s hoping that she will discover a sorority that is composed of young women like her and understands that there will be houses where she doesn’t “fit in” or belong and that’s ok too.

Patty has already put on her calendar to schedule a manicure and pedicure right before she leaves for recruitment.  She has noticed the jewelry that many of the sorority women wear and does not own any of it.  At first this stressed her out but she has decided to wear just a simple strand of pearls, her pearl studs and her grandmothers ring that was given to her for her 16th birthday.  It’s a lovely piece and Patty is hoping that it will be a conversation starter.

Shoes, shoes, shoes…..since Patty loves her tennis shoes and knows that those aren’t an option for this week she’s been searching for some great comfortable shoes to accent each dress she has chosen.  Flat strappy sandals for the first day, Sperrys for Philanthropy (although since she gets to wear shorts she might wear a cute pair of casual sandals),  wedges for Skit day and her black Patent leather heels for Preference.  She’s going to pack a pair of flip flops in the bag that she carries so she can wear them between houses to rest her feet.  Patty does not want blisters.  She knows that she needs to do her best to not be tired to crabby and so if her feet are comfortable that will help.

Can you kind of get a picture of what a typical PNM looks like?  Do you see bits and pieces of yourself?  She’s YOU!!! The truth is that there are thousands of young women all over the United States preparing for recruitment.  Many of these young women share the same fears, worries and characteristics as Patty (and you).  I have talked to so many young women and their mothers this week who all echo many of the concerns that Patty PNM has.  I think there’s especially a big worry about how to make the sorority women notice YOU and want YOU.   I would be lying if I told you that the pageant girls and beauty queens who appear (that’s the key word there) be perfect in every way didn’t exist.  Oh they me.  But I will say again YOU need to embrace who YOU are.  I can’t stress enough to be prepared, get those recs,  and just be the best PNM that YOU can be.