This is for all you mommas out there who are beginning the long trek down the road of sorority recruitment. I have this Mary Englebreit poster that hangs in my den.
I think it sums up the journey of sorority recruitment. Once you begin down the road turning back is no longer an option and I have to tell you that your life and the life of your daughter will never be the same.
As a mother I climbed on the emotional roller coaster of sorority recruitment with my daughter (and I don’t even LIKE roller coasters) and hung on for dear life. Let me tell you my tale and give you an idea of what you might be in for as well.
First of all there’s just the decision of whether your daughter does or does not want to go Greek. For us, the decision took about 10 seconds. My daughter had made the “Go Greek” decision before she ever did the 360 turn and switched her number 1 college choice from a Big 10 school (Iowa) to the power house of the SEC, The University of Alabama. I had no qualms about recruitment at Iowa…and for a brief moment I wasn’t concerned about Alabama…for a brief moment. Yep…that wake up call came from my second daughter who threw out words like, “highly competitive, recommendations, sorority resume, David Yurman, sorority coaches, $$$$$”. However just like the poster says, “No longer and option” and not going through recruitment was just that…no longer and option.
So I made the commitment right then and there to become a sorority momma. It was my job to become the walking, talking, day planner for the recruitment process. Luckily we got an early start (October) and I would tell all of you out there who are reading this…start NOW!!!!! Senior year is a crazy time. Our daughter was a varsity athlete and team captain whose sport just happened to fall from September to November. She was a busy girl and so I jumped in to help get the process started. I have to tell you that I am just not sure how young women do it with out their mommas help. Well, I can actually answer that question because they reach out to me and I hold their hand, become their surrogate momma and help them navigate the process. I should tell y’all this though, I don’t do it for them (the girls who reach out for help). I teach them and give them the tools to do the process correctly but ultimately it’s up to them to follow through to the end.
With my daughter I did a lot but there were certain parts of the process that I made her take ownership of. I made her do her resume. We must have worked on that resume for two weeks. We wrote and ripped and wrote and ripped again. Ultimately, we were novice enough that we didn’t totally understand what exactly we needed and so we had two resumes (I wouldn’t suggest this). Those of you who have asked for resume help have had the privilege to look at both of those attempts. I always send them off and tell those who are receiving them that they should take the best parts from both, combine them and then you will have a strong resume.
I think for a brief period of time (okay so about 4 months) I kind of lost my mind. I became obsessed with finding sorority women who would write those coveted recommendations and letters of support. No matter where I went I had my eyes peeled for sorority letters, my ears perked when I heard any type of Greek talk. I creeped on ladies at the grocery store, Nordstrom, J Crew, Anthropologie, my husbands dinner parties, Chiefs games. It was all I talked about. I know you are wondering how my husband was handling this crazy woman…yeah ….well….at first he thought it was kind of funny but by the time we through the holidays he laid down the law, “No more sorority talk when he was present!” He began to quip that his m=home life was “Sorority recruitment on crack”…..his wife and his daughter were possessed! I think the day he really lost it was when he came out of a meeting at his office and found his wife in a conference room with his para-legal, his secretary, the receptionist and another female attorney, instructing them how to fill out recommendations. We had a little “come to Jesus” meeting in his office. I left with the recommendations and a stern warning that I was NEVER EVER to do anything like that AGAIN!!!! (What he doesn’t know is a week later we met at Starbucks to finish their letters of support…shhh!!! My little secret).
Jump ahead…Springtime :). It should get easier right? Recommendations are done. Letters of support are sent but wait….new crisis!!!! For those of you who are going to go through recruitment in the SEC there is a whole under layer of recruitment that if you are out-of-state you might miss. I had a very savvy, social child. It was her sleuthing and discovered that recruitment really starts in January not August. What????? No, not formal recruitment but many SEC schools have social, invite only events that occur during the springtime where PNMS are sent invitations to attend. This was a huge hurdle. We were assured that this did not give PNMs and unfair advantage but come on folks…if girls are heading down to campuses, meeting sorority members and making connections early how can that NOT be an advantage???
Yep…you guessed it..crazy momma reared her head again. As mothers we are protective of our children and there was NO WAY that my daughter was not going to play this game on a leveled playing field. For 2 weeks I worked my magic, made connections, called and chatted with national organizations (have to admit these phone calls were eye opening experiences…had to have some wine after a couple of these), and ultimately got my baby some of those coveted invitations :).
Are you hyperventilating yet? I am!!! Oh the memories…they are all coming back to me now…my heart is racing! But hey we hadn’t even gotten to the craziness of formal recruitment.
The build up for formal recruitment is like climbing Mount Everest. About the time we were going through the recruitment process the song “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus came out. It became my mantra. Nothing in this process prepares you for the emotional roller coaster of formal recruitment. You drop you child off, kiss her goodbye and travel home where you walk with your cellphone glued to your hand, waiting with bated breath for any news of any kind. You panic when there’s no news. My breath used to catch in my throat when the phone would ring. Would I get a happy, upbeat daughter or a sobbing, unhappy daughter. Was she really okay or was she putting on a brave face (okay so I couldn’t see her face but you know what I mean…you can “hear” it in her voice).
It’s frustrating! It’s her recruitment and yet you have become so invested in the process that you actually have the illusion of going through this crazy process as well. It’s hard to separate yourself from these emotions. I know I’ve shared that on one particular day I ate 6 cupcakes after my daughter experienced the dreaded “deep cuts” we had been warned about. It’s amazing what a little sugary comfort can do for ones sanity :).
But here’s the good news….you do survive this. You survive the crazy crying phone calls (even girls who are having a perfect recruitment experiences are faced with difficult decisions and often will call crying so don’t get all jealous ladies), the giddy, “I love this house” phone calls, the “What’s wrong with me, why didn’t they invited me back” phone calls. Bid Day arrives. I was lucky to be at my daughters school for Bid Day and I would share this bit of advice. IF your daughters school has a family orientated Bid Day experience GO!!!!! If there is any way possible…GO!!!!! You will not regret it.
All during recruitment week I felt like a broken record…”trust the process”, “it will all work out”, “you only need one”, ” they invited YOU back because the saw something in YOU that made them know you would be a great sister”. At one point during the week my husband woke me up in the middle of the night because I was saying those words in my sleep :).
That piece of paper…called a Bid …holds so much power and yet as mommas we are powerless to make it say what our daughters want/need it to say. What a helpless feeling. It’s the momma thing..we just want it to all turn out perfectly and most of the time it does. There are those rare occasion (I have experienced several this year with some of my dear mommas) where things didn’t work out as planned. Yep…helpless feelings for those moms. Those disappointing phone calls, tears and miles can take their toll on mommas but the good news is that time does pass and in many cases their daughters manage to get through these tough time. These strong young women (thanks to you mommas) survive. I just talked to several mommas this week and they all reported that their daughters have adjusted to their disappointments. Most girls found that as they met their new sisters that there were connections they hadn’t felt and are happily wearing their new letters. There have been a couple of girls who found that sorority life was not for them. They are off to forage new adventures and friends on their respective campuses.
So mommas…I’m here for you!!! Not only am I here for you but you have a whole cheering section of mommas out there who have climbed this mountain and who are here to support you as well. Reach out to us..use us..lean on us! It’s begun :). Good luck ladies!!!