So am standing here hopping from one foot to the other in anticipation of Alabama’s Greek Chic that will be out in digital form Monday! Yay!!! I truly believe it’s the best recruitment manual out there :).
I thought I’d spend a little time today just talking a bit about what I think (opinion time!!) are the best and most important components of a recruitment manual. Just as all recruitments are not the same neither are recruitment manuals. Here’s a few links to some of the big ones that you can see on-line but WAIT until you see Alabama’s. It’s the National Championship of Look Books.
If you google away you will find that many different panhellenics have many different kinds of Look Books. Have fun looking through the ones above. You will see many similarities and many differences.
One of the topics that stands out in many of the books is a section that has Q&A and a section that talks about what active members wished they’d know before they went through recruitment. I wanted to touch base on the topic of “what we wished we known” first. I had the opportunity to chat with several sorority recruitment chairs not long ago. We were looking at last years Bama Look Book and they all jumped on this section. I had one sweet girl tell me she wished she could sit each and every PNM down and talk with her before she went through…to just “share” everything she learned while being both a PNM and then being an ACtive. I took notes so here you go!
First of all there is a difference between looking your Sunday best and dressing like you were going to prom. You do not need to wear expensive designer clothing to get a bid but you DO have to well put together. Clothing needs to be cleaned and pressed..accessories need to be tasteful and shoes need to be comfortable! No sequins, beads, long formal dresses or anything with cut outs deep plunging necklines or lots of skin. Remember you are not dressing for a fraternity party. Error on the side of conservative. Ok rant moment…while looking at the OSU Look Book..the pics of dresses that were appropriate for Preference were not what I would call appropriate but hey…maybe in Oklahoma :).
At many of the SEC schools as well as Mizzou, KU, K-state and even the Iowa schools temps in August can be HOT and HUMID!!! Think about this when choosing your dresses and shirts. Wear a light weight breathable fabric. Make sure you choose colors that will not show perspiration (lets just be honest with 100 degree temps ladies you are going to sweat!!!!). Also perfume and cologne…in 100 degree heat, in a crowded room can become overwhelming. I would suggest a great smelling body wash and light spray..NO HEAVY perfume!
Makeup…again 100 degrees…heavy make up will not stand up. You will look like a sad clown..sorry but it’s true. this is not Glamour shots…look natural and your best. Try very light make up. I might suggest a trip to Sephora, Ulta or you r local department store for a consultation. You will need water proof mascara and oil blotting sheets. Fresh wipes are a great investment and a mini deodorant is a must.
They call it “tent talk” for a reason. Yes..while you are sitting under those white tents waiting for your next party there will be talk. Do not believe ANY RUMORS you hear. they are just that, RUMORS. When my daughter went through she and her roommate decided they would not talk about their choices and opinions of houses. Only you know where you will fit best. If you are going through recruitment to be part of the “popular” house or are looking to join a house that is perceived to be one that the “popular” fraternities like to party with then I strongly suggest you rethink recruitment.
I would also warn you to be very careful when participating in talking about any sorority on campus. You have no idea who is sitting next to you. That persons sister or mother could have been a member of the sorority you are talking about. Really the best rule is “if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all”. Everyone has an opinion..be respectful of them. I would also warn you that your Recruitment Counselors are active sorority members. You do not know which sorority they are affiliated with. Be mindful of that when you are talking about your perceptions of the sororities you visit. You are certainly able to say that a certain house is not for you but saying mean and hateful things is just well…mean and hateful!
The sorority members are just as nervous as you are. They want to make quota. They want to get a great pledge class of girls who will become initiated and become active, involved and committed sisters. There will be girls that these ladies will really begin to bond with. Just as you “LOVE” and can see yourself in a particular house these girls will see PNM’s who they can see as sisters. They will scan the list when it arrives each day to see if these girls are returning, just as you scan you party list for “the house”. They will be sad when that name isn’t there, just as you will be when “your house” is gone. They will anticipate which girl they will want to “pref”. So as much as it seems like they have all the control (and in some cases they do have a lot) you do too…remember it’s called a mutual selection process for a reason.
You need to also realize that every sorority member is not a bubbly, out going personality. There are shy and quiet girls as well. If you don’t “click” with a house because the girl you were paired with doesn’t have the same personality as you give them a second chance. If the house you love is gone the next day don’t mourn the loss…instead look with anticipation to the great houses you have left and all of the wonderful opportunities they have to offer.
Leave the designer purses and totes in your dorm room. You cannot take anything INTO or OUT OF a sorority house. Not one single active member is going to see what type of purse you carry and even if they happened to see you on the street they assure me they wouldn’t notice or care. All those rumors about having girls leave their shoes so an active can look and see what designers PNM’s are wearing are simply that rumors! In addition if you bring an expensive tote or purse and you leave it on the lawn (that’s where you will be required to leave it) and it rains (which it has been known to do)..yes well you get the picture :(. There is also the chance it could get dirty, stepped on or someone who really likes it might decide to make it theirs. So….get a cute waterproof tote to store all of the items you need to bring along (that list is next ladies 🙂 ).
On Ice Water tea days or any other day that you are offered water …DRINK IT!!!!!! You want to stay hydrated. Each year we have girls pass out because they don’t stay hydrated. The truth is you won’t be the first or the last PNM to ask to use the restroom. In most cases you will have a chance to go between a party. In an emergency talk to your Recruitment Counselor..she will help you.
And speaking of Recruitment Counselors…use yours. These dear sweet girls choose to do this job. Many of them choose to be a recruitment counselor because when they were going through recruitment they bonded with theirs. One of my daughters was a Rho Chi (remember they have lots of different names on lots of different campuses). She loved it. They are there for YOU, the PNM. They will listen to you, dry your tears, help you come to some really tough decisions, hold your hand and your stuff. They will answer any question you have! No question is too silly!
Do not be discouraged if the house that you think is the perfect house for you doesn’t turn out to be a good fit. Be open to what your party list brings every day. As I said before..don’t mourn the losses but rejoice in the opportunities. It’s amazing how everything will work out and always does. Sitting in the TV room of my daughter’s sorority most of the girls who were sharing with me didn’t have this particular house on their radar. Does that mean it’s a bad house…NO! They admitted that they had fallen victim to Tent Talk and the “popular” house rumors. When you think about it that “popular” house can only take a set number of girls. Let’s say quota is 50 and there are 8 houses on campus…technically out of 400 girls only 50 can join “The popular house”. So is everyone else stuck with the leftovers?? Certainly not! Keep an open mind..trust the process ..it really does work.
Be realistic. If you are going through recruitment at a competitive campus that requires recommendations and GPA is important and you either are missing recs or have a questionable GPA….Be prepared for cuts. It is what it is. So many girls go in thinking that really a sorority will get them a rec because they “LOVE” them so much or that they will understand that Aunt Mimi dies their freshman year and so that’s why they got three D’s. I am so sorry but probably not. So ladies…be realisitc.
Finally remember that recruitment and sorority life will give you as much as you are willing to put into it. It is not for everyone. The Actives I spoke with all said that they had no idea when they went through recruitment how much went into running a sorority and being active in sorority life. Granted these girls all held executive offices, and that was their choice, but they all said that there are so many opportunities to get involved and be an active member. In order for a sorority to be successful members have to be committed to being involved. And hey..it’s not only a 4 year commitment but a lifetime one. As an alum you will have the opportunity to continue to be involved with sisters where ever life may lead you. You may be asked to write recommendations just as many of you have asked me to. You may choose to become a Chapter Advisor. It just doesn’t end when you graduate.
Just a final note…I try really hard to post 5 or 6 days a week. I am a mom too and my kid life has been little crazy lately. In addition I’ve had a lot of girls need last minute recruitment help (note to you girls going through a year from now….getting recs is a lengthy process. Start lining them up in the fall of your senior year. You can put your rec packages together in the spring but for most girls finding them can take some time. Don’t think that you can start a month before recruitment!!!) and I am helping at recruitment on two different campuses…so…big breath….the posts are coming…I promise :)..