I get up every morning, haul my body out of bed, pull on my Nike shorts and oversized t-shirt, grab my shoes and towards the car.  The sun is usually just beginning to creep over the horizon when I arrive at the nature preserve where I walk/run (at my house we call it “wun”).  I look forward to this time in the quite of nature all by my self.  It gives me time to think about where I’ve been and where I’m going.  As I “wun” past deer, bunnies, turtles, an occasional skunk I plan a road map of sorts in my head of what the next few days, weeks, months and years might look like.

Earlier in the week when I arrived home, grabbed my cup of coffee and sat down to find out what had happened in the world while I slept I can across this quote:

“Please be a traveler not a tourist,

Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond  what’s right in front of you.

Those are the keys to understanding

This amazing world we live in.”

It seems to me that this quote is perfect as we head towards recruitment 2013.  Let me explain.

“Be a traveler, not a tourist,”…..A traveler heads off to distant lands or places that they are not familiar with. As a PNM getting ready to go through recruitment you too will travel to a campus setting, different from high school or the previous college/university you attended. You pack your bags full of things you think you will need on your trip..in this case your resume, recs, party clothes and pieces of home that you will adorn your living space with in order to feel the homey comforts that make you secure in this foreign land.

I googled “How to be a good traveler” and found a great article that had some very valid points that lend themselves to this sorority journey you are about to embark on.

Many of you ask why do I volunteer to help many of you who have reached out to me for a road map of sorts to help guide you on your sorority journey?  The answer is easy and one of the most important rules for a traveler…”I owe many of my most memorable trips to the serendipitous kindness of strangers, and am firm in the belief that you get what you give when you travel”..so remember this when you finish this journey…there are many who will come behind you, share the knowledge you have gained.

“Try new things, meet new people, and look beyond what’s right in front of you.” Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.  The rules listed below should help you.

Okay Rule # 1…Stop acting like you know.  The truth is that even if you have friends, family, members and acquaintances who have been Greek things change.  So be open to the advice and suggestions of others. Don’t ask others to lead you but rather forge ahead.  Don’t be closed-minded about where you want to go; trust the process to get you to the point you where you should be.

Rule #2…When getting ready for this great trip ask others for packing advice. Seek out others who have traveled down this road before you.  What did they do to make their trip successful? Listen to their words of advice, using what you can that applies to your trip.

Rule #3…Take care of the people who help you.  The words “thank you” are small but mighty.  If you follow the rules of traveling you will have many who will lift you up and help you along the way…make sure that they know how much you appreciate their help.

Rule #4…Be British….I know you all are going “WHAT???” . When we were London recently, one thing I learned very quickly is that the Brits are very good at making fun of themselves. We’ve talked…this process can eat you up!  Laughter is truly the best medicine.  Don’t be so serious! Smile!  If things don’t go exactly the way you think they out to (don’t we all love those “DETOUR” signs we encounter along the way??) then look for the humor in the situation.  If you are in an awkward conversation pull a funny..what have you got to lose?

Rule #5….Be a sport’s fan..watch and cheer.  There are many others like you going on this journey, be ready to cheer them on.  Celebrate their successes (Yay…an invite back to their favorite house) and be there to console if the game of recruitment doesn’t go their way.  There’s a word for this…it’s called “EMPATHY”…use it!

Rule #6….Stay away from the interstates…take time to visit the small towns.  Don’t arrive on campus with a pre-planned route that zooms you past those sororities you have already determined you don’t want to visit.  Take time to visit each and every house along the way.  Some of the most pleasant surprises happen when you get lost and take time to explore.  I know of many, many girls who were on the “streamline” trip only to hit a “detour” and end up in the most amazing spot!

Rule #7…..Take chances with conversations. If you stay safe and don’t put yourself out there, chances are you will just fold into the crowd..just another tourist.  Be bold, don’t be afraid to be who “YOU” are. This is not the time to be shy and reserved.  Be engaging, talk to the person on your right and your left.  Leave them with something to remember you by!

Rule #8…Bring style back to travel.  Style does not mean designer labels but it does mean that you are put together in a comfortable and confident way.  Wear clothes that are appropriate to the party theme, that fit, that are natural to the culture of the campus and that make you feel like you can tackle anything that comes your way!

Rule #9…Take people up on their offers. When someone offers to write you a rec or contact their sorority on your behalf or invites you over to their house, or out to dinner, take them up on it. Heartfelt generosity is the reason many young women are able to find recommendations for the various sorority chapters that reside on their campus. People love being ambassadors of their sorority and will enjoy it as much — if not more if they can be generous to you.

Rule #10…Follow the Golden Rule.  Treat others as you would like to be treated.  The other young women you will encounter on your travels will come various and assorted backgrounds.  They too are travelers and may not as prepared as you are. They may be wandering, lost and confused, looking for a friend to help along that way.  Be that friend! Remember to think before you speak…you never know who is sitting around you.  Not everyone is like us, be sensitive to others differences, dreams and goals.

If you follow the above rules then you should hold the keys to understanding recruitment, having a successful experience and enjoying the world of sorority life.