Back in the day when I went through recruitment if you were a LEGACY you were golden, meaning that you were almost 100% guaranteed a bid to that particular house. I can remember heated discussions in our chapter room during recruitment about particular legacies who we felt didn’t really fit in but none of us wanted to call the girl’s mother or grandmother and explain to them why we weren’t going to bid that girl.
My how times have changed!
In today’s sorority world being a LEGACY doesn’t come with all the privileges it did 35 years ago. There are several reasons for this. First of all, there are just so many legacies! With the advance of time and the number of women who have become sorority members it just stands to reason that as they have girls and those girls then go through recruitment the legacy pool increases.
Many sororities have tried to manage this problem by redefining their definition of who is considered a legacy. Back in the day legacy status included mothers,sisters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins….even second cousins…basically anyone you were related to. Today, you are considered a legacy by many only in association to mothers and sisters and in some cases grandmothers. Still, even with this realignment, many sororities can have enough legacies go through recruitment to fill an entire pledge class. Even more so this status only gets you invited back to the second round of parties and the day of the automatic legacy bid does not exist any more.
With this new definition of LEGACY I think the burden then falls on the mothers of the world to help their daughters navigate through the recruitment process successfully and not feel the “pressure” we felt long ago to simply pledge the same house our mothers, sisters and grandmothers did.
How do you do this? When my daughter went through I made sure that MY sorority knew she would be going through recruitment. I called the national office and made them aware of her resume and also contacted the chapter to make sure she was invited to pre-recruitment teas and get togethers…..and then I stopped. My sorority gave her a great rush…they pursued her and she attended Preference there but ultimately she found her letters at a different house and I am totally okay with that. I think she imposed some pressure on herself through the process…wanting to follow in mom’s footsteps but realizing that she would be happier elsewhere.
I had a friend ask me the other day…”So how much did you tell your daughter about recruitment and the process?” Having had a sister go through, pledge and become very involved in her sorority my daughter knew some of the behind scenes stuff. I shared with her a little about what the houses might be looking for each day but didn’t go into the whole selection process.
What I really focused on was how she could be her BEST each day. She knew there would be cuts, especially since she was going through at one of the most competitive recruitment schools in the nation. We talked a lot about maximizing her options and keeping an open mind. I think it wasn’t until Skit Day (7 party day) when she only had 4 parties, that reality sunk in and she realized:
- The house she LOVED and saw herself in was GONE and there was NO WAY to get it back.
- She was going to have to really work at this! She had done so well up to this point…kind of coasting I think. Even though we had been told to expect this she (any myself as well) were shocked when it actually happened.
It was at this moment that I jumped in and helped her focus on the 4 really great houses she had and to her credit after a breakdown of sorts she dusted herself off and rejoined the game. I told her that the houses that were gone were gone..no going back. There were no regrets, no “I should have said this or done that”..now it was time to focus on the four really great houses she had. To go out there and be the best she could be! She took my advice..opened her eyes to the opportunity presented to her and VOILA!!!! it worked!!! She fell in love with a particular house. this house had not even been on her radar, in fact, it was consistently in her bottom tier. She was pleasantly surprised and pleased and even a little embarrassed that she had been so closed minded to over look this sorority.
Was I mad or unhappy she chose this house over mine? No! I would have loved to initiate her and have her wear my pin but what I wanted more was for her to find a sisterhood where she could, laugh, cry and love. A sisterhood that was her heart and soul. And she did!!!
So to all those moms out there who have legacy daughters going through recruitment this fall. Be honest and open with your sweet girls. Tell them what you want/need them to know. You know your girls and what they need to navigate the recruitment road. I will be thinking about each and every one of you…holding you in my heart. Good Luck!!!