Wow!!!!! I am so sorry it has been ages since I last posted. Life just caught up to me I guess. Looking back ont he past week or so it’s kind of a blur. Not making excuses mind you (okay..well maybe..) I accepted a new job that will begin in August, My oldest announced she’s moving to Africa, we are trying to take a vacation starting next week AND plan a second one for July, daughter #4 is finishing up the first of two summer internships and heading home to begin the second next week and I am up to my ears in sorority recommendations. Actually, the truth be known, I have spent countless hours on the phone with PNMs and their mothers, answering questions, calming nerves, solving problems, locating rec writers, and on and on. Gotta tell you the PNMs and their moms are my first priority above the blog. Many will attest that I try really hard to answer questions and help with in 24 hours of them reaching out…so sorry about the lack of posts!!! My goal is to get a few in before we leave in a week and maybe even write a few while I am sitting by the ocean.
A couple of Panhellenic events have come on the radar. The first is in Fairhope Alabama and its this week (sorry!!)…I posted about it before I believe but wanted to repost for those who haven’t seen it. Here’s the details:
May 23, 2013 at 5:30 at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Fairhope, Alabama
Please bring multiple copies (the number of chapters at your school) of your resume and color photo.
New comment on your post “I love you to the moon and back.”
Truthfully? It is all a bunch of bunk!!! I went through all of this agonizing routine with my daughter a year ago to go through recruitment at one of the top SEC Greek systems (ok-I’ll just say it when too many are afraid to “name them” University of Alabama.) we scrounged and pleaded for rec letters; I spend a fortune on all the “right” clothing (plenty of Lily’s) purses and shoes. Yes-she got a bid, and the whole thing has been a farce. she has compared notes with other girls in all the “top” sororities and My daughter ( then passed on to me) hears all the same stories. Girls who say “it wasn’t what I thought it would be” and “forced friendships” they like to call “sisterhood” with people they would have never in a million years been friends with! Many drop out (hence the opportunity for upperclassmen to keep the cash cow operating) and those that remain are brainwashed into thinking they won’t MAKE IT at the SEC school without the Greek system. I like to call it “THE EMPORER’s NEW CLOTHES” if you don’t know this fairy tale, read it. Read those sorority exposé books-there is more truth than fiction in them. Lots of sleeping around-serious hazing, especially at the fraternities. AND THE REAL JOKE? Once they are in, they never wear those nice clothes again! The sorority uniform is the leggings and big baggy t-shirts with Greek stuff on them in cold weather; and Nike running shorts with the big baggy t-shirts in warm weather! Wake up people! The EMPORER is wearing NOTHING! I respect Tam if she will post these comments!
Sorority recruitment can be difficult for some girls. It’s kind of like going through a job interview for what you think is your “dream” job. You know, the one that everyone covets! There’s a lot of hype about the process before hand. In addition there’s a lot of prep that goes into being prepared. There’s the resume, making sure you have recommendations lined up, being prepared to answer the “questions”, buying just the right interview clothes, the mani and pedi, the hair cut (and maybe color…ie: Looking your best). It’s a process. It can be lengthy and intense.
When young women decide to go through recruitment they also prep for the process. They have “heard” things about recruitment, usually from a variety of sources. Just like different people have opinions about different companies and this is also true for sororities.
And so you get the bid (the job). Remember that for some young women they have fantasized about this moment for a long time. They have imagined what this wonderful experience would be like. Yes, some also expect this new experience to “change them”. They will be different because they are a sorority member. They will have friends 24/7. They will have endless dates with fraternity boys…and on and on.
Then reality hits. The truth is that just a dream job what you get out of a sorority is what you put into it. At The University of Alabama house total hovers around 282 members. I just have a really hard time believing that any girl would have trouble finding a group of friends in ANY house. I understand that it might be difficult as you go through the process and begin to realize that the connections you are making might be forced and feel fake. It could quite possibly be that being a part of s sorority is not for you.
Of course girls may worry that if they are not part of a sorority then they will have “no life” on campus. This can be an especially true statement on campuses like Alabama where there is a powerful Greek presence. I always tell girls your college experience is what you make it. It’s also true for being part of a sorority…..being a sorority member is what you make it. There is no magic sorority fairy…you have to do the work. Yes..there will be “required” activities, sisterhoods, pledge meetings, panhellenic speakers and chapter meetings but consider these all great opportunities to get to know your sisters. I think you will find that there is a great bunch of young women ready and waiting to be your true friends.
Lets take a minute and talk about clothing. First impressions are important both in job interviews and yes..in sorority recruitment. Hey…it’s no secret…I love Lilly Pulitzer, J Crew, Madewell, Kate Spade, Anthropologie, Marc Jacobs, Vera Bradely…I could go on and on. I love them not for the label sewn into the clothes but rather how they fit and how they look. I have my own style…my own look. My suggestion to all girls who are going through recruitment is this…be who you are. When you choose clothing if you like Lilly…wear Lilly..if you aren’t comfortable in Lilly…don’t wear it. Are sororities looking at labels? Truthfully…some may, but more than that they are looking for confident, classy young women who are comfortable in their own skin…whether it’s in designer labels or Wal-Mart.
I remember when I was in college…got up in just enough time to run down to the kitchen of the sorority house, grab a banana and head to class. It was a sweatshirt with my letters on it, a pair of sweat pants or jeans..hairy in a pony tail..sometimes tucked in a baseball cap (usually one I had “borrowed” from the latest fraternity guy I was dating). Yup…things haven’t changed much. Going to class is not a dress up affair on many campuses. Sorority women dressed in over sized t-shirts and Nike w are now the new uniform. The clothing you wear doesn’t dictate your ability to learn. I applaud girls who don’t feel that they have to dress up for class..that means that they have confidence in who they are. I might add that these young women may not dress for class but when they go out they clean up real nice :).
Some girls will tell you that after visiting different sororities on campus there might be a couple where they just didn’t get that warm, fuzzy, united feeling. It happens. Whether it’s a pledge class from the past that didn’t bond, a new sorority on campus that hasn’t had that senior class that has been together for 4 years…there isn’t that united feeling. There may be separate groups operating with in the big house (this happens in the work place as well) and so a PNM may not bond with her sisters an ultimately may choose to quit. Does it happen every year and to every house? Yes …it happens every recruitment season on every campus. It does not happen to every house and quite frankly it is no a large group of girls. If every sorority at Alabama had this problem then they would all have to participate in Spring Informal Recruitment and this is not the case. Each year only a few sororities participate in Spring Informal.
There are lots of books out there about sororities, sorority life and recruitment is like. Just as this blog is my opinion sprinkled with facts so are many of the periodicals out there. I offer that perhaps those that shed a negative view-point about sorority life might be one of those women who sought the dream job only to find hat it wasn’t what she had dreamed of or expected..perhaps she had unrealistic expectations. It’s not the sorority’s fault or the young woman’s fault…it just is what it is.
I’m not going to address the fraternity hazing…but I will say that hazing is not acceptable in any form for any sorority….period. I actually had a very serious conversation with a young woman who is a member of a sorority (not at Alabama). It concerned what she termed a “practical joke” which, although funny to hear about later probably wasn’t funny to the girl whom it was pulled on. I would remind members that this can border on hazing..be careful.
The reason for recommendations is simple. It helps the PNM come alive on paper before the process begins. When a sorority receives a rec on a girl it allows them to know a little bit about the girl and what she might be able to contribute to the sorority. There has been a lot of discussion about if in today’s world is a rec in some cases just a box to check. If it loses its real purpose then perhaps it should be re-evaluated.
I will end with a story. When my son was about 3 there was a commercial on tv for Chips Ahoy cookies. The premises was that there was a party in every bag. the cookies were decorated with multi-colored sprinkles and when the child on tv opened the bag a whole party with streamers, noise blowers, party hats balloons all came out of the bag. I had come home from school and needed to run to the grocery store. I had taken Tyler along and it was almost dinner..he was tired…I was crabby and he was insistent that he wanted that particular bag of Chips Ahoy. I wasn’t up for the fight so I said her could have them , taking them off the shelf I handed him the bag. He immediately opened the bag and that’s when the crying started. He stared into the bag, tears rolling down his cheeks and wailed, “where’s the party?”. I think for some girls it’s the same feeling. They have such high expectations about sorority life that when they actually open the bid, and start on the every day sorority life that there’s some disappointment when the party doesn’t continue. Just as I tired to explain to Tyler that he had to make his own party I would tell PNMs the same thing…your sorority experience is what YOU make it. You can’t expect others to make the day-to-day party…you have to do it yourself.