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Amanda First

More by Amanda First

5 Sorority-Girl Problems & How to Solve Them

2/21/2014

Those of us entrenched in the Twitterverse have all encountered the ubiquitous #sororitygirlproblems hashtag at one point or another. They’re funny, sure, and often painfully true, but not every sorority girl has nothing to worry about but purse maintenance and hangover cures. Membership in a sorority has tons of benefits, but it can also bring a bunch of new challenges—both for new members and seasoned sisters. HC scrolls past Twitter and into the minds of real sorority girls across the country to find out what’s REALLY bugging them.

You can’t keep your grades up

You may be alpha sister, attending every possible sorority meeting, party, and philanthropy event, but can you juggle it all? For many sorority girls, the craziness of Greek life becomes so all-consuming that it eats away at the most important part of college—the actual SCHOOL part (I know, right, we all forget that’s why we’re here).  Katie, a collegiette at the University of Maryland, had trouble managing pledging duties and a full course load when she joined a sorority her freshman year. “We had pledge meetings twice a week, tons of mixers and parties, and weekly philanthropy events…I had no time to study! At the beginning of the semester I was feeling really overwhelmed.” She saw her grades starting to drop, and knew she had to make a change. “I dropped a class I was really struggling in, started going to office hours for my other classes to catch up, and I told our pledge mom I couldn’t come to every philanthropy event anymore. I also started going to the mixers only twice a week…it made a HUGE difference in my studying time!”

Your Complete Guide to Sorority Rush

8/19/2013

So, the time has finally come. After months of waiting, worrying and Facebook-stalking sorority girls (it’s okay, we all do it), you’re finally ready for sorority recruitment. But as much as you may have dreamed (and/or freaked out) about this week, you still have no idea what to expect. But this week, you’ll finally get to figure out which house will eventually become your home, and which group of girls will become your sisters. You only get one chance at rush, so it helps to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into before you start, so you can focus on putting your best face forward! To help you rise above all the other rushees, a day-by-day guide to this crazy, crazy week:

What you do

ROUND 1: OPEN HOUSE

A Rho Gamma, or older sorority girl who has temporarily disaffiliated from her chapter to be your guide, will lead you and a bunch of other PNM’s — potential new members — from house to house. When the clock strikes the hour, the door will fly open and you’ll see dozens of sorority girls screaming and dancing. A sorority girl will grab your arm and lead you to a chair. You’ll talk for about five minutes, and then another girl will come over, so you can talk to her instead. This will happen until you have talked to about four girls. After about 20 minutes, the rush chair will make a speech, and you might hear a funny story or do a short activity before you’re ushered out. At the end of the day, you’ll write down which chapters you liked the best and cut a few houses.

ROUND 2: HOUSE TOURS

The 10 People You'll Meet in College

8/16/2013

When you first arrive, college can seem like a total zoo. There are countless types of people you’ve never seen before, each more ridiculous than the last, and, without a keen discerning eye, it can be impossible to distinguish between the lions and the leeches of college life. But even though there are thousands of students on your college campus, there are 10 people that you’ll meet within your first week, without a doubt. These 10 species are present on every single campus across America, and, if you can spot them quickly, you can learn to navigate the wild safari of college life like it’s a petting zoo. Her Campus is here to help you classify the 10 people you meet in college — see if you can find any of these creatures on your campus!

1. The Future Master of the Universe: For these students, college is just a stop on the way to The Real World, and a career in finance, business, medicine or law. They can’t be bothered with such petty concerns as class, parties and campus events when they have a future to create. They’ll spend every waking moment talking about the internships they’ve applied for, comparing GPA’s and poring over grad-school acceptance books. Every weekend, they jet off to the city for interviews, missing all the fun of college on the way. You’ll see them strolling around campus in three-piece suits and furiously emailing on their smart phones while balancing Venti black coffees. Look out for them in business or pre-law frats, on the board of the Inter-Fraternity Council or in Student Government. And watch out for these slippery characters in class — they may never attend, participate or pay attention, but they’ll find a way to get all the notes and study their butts off, until they can walk away with the “A” that will buy them a ticket straight to Goldman Sachs.

4 Questions to Ask Before Deciding to Study Abroad

3/14/2013

It may seem like this semester’s going to last forever, but with only a couple months left, it’s already time to start thinking about next year. With never-ending midterms, next year’s course enroll period, and the housing lottery ahead of us, it can be hard to get amped up for another semester of the same major, the same people, and the same stuffy dorm room or shabby apartment. But if you’re starting to go a little stir-crazy in your college town, why not switch it up a little? And no, we don’t mean by trying a new flavor of Yoplait Light—we’re talking about studying abroad. A semester or summer in a different country provides a totally amazing, and totally different, summer experience and a chance to travel and explore other cultures without a hectic school schedule in your way. You can use the time to earn major credit, volunteer overseas, explore a new career overseas, even learn the secrets to Italian cooking, while your friends trek to the library and drink Keystone at home.

But don’t hop on that plane just yet—before you study abroad, you have lots to consider. Her Campus talked to Dean Tsouvalas, Editor-in-Chief of StudentAdvisor.com, and to study abroad students around the world, about what to ask yourself—and your study abroad advisor—when planning your time overseas. Hit these five key questions and you’ll be ready to take off before you know it!

1. What kind of experience do I want?

Top Ten Trends We're Glad to Leave in Childhood

2/21/2013

Some fashion trends are awesome, chic, gotta-have-em…until, suddenly, they’re not.  As soon as a passing fad has passed us by, whatever show-stopping shoe, bank-breaking bag, or sensationally stupid skirt of the moment can suddenly go from the only thought on your mind to “what was I thinking?” These ten trends from childhood may have seemed totally tubular at the time, but now all that remains are some truly hilarious pictures—and a whole lot of regret. Do you remember wearing any of these ridiculous styles as a child? Grab an old photo album and find out!

1. Bubble shirts:

Right around 2001 these took the tween world by storm, selling out at every Limited Too across the country. Also known as “popcorn shirts”, this terrifying sartorial creation starts out small enough to fit your American Girl Doll (anyone else try to fit theirs on the actual doll?) and stretches to fit any size. They’re cropped, tight, weirdly puckered, and one of the most unflattering garments in existence—but they’re almost too fun to resist!! ALMOST. No one wants to revisit their sixth-grade school picture more than they absolutely have to.

2. Bike Shorts:

Top 10 Style Don'ts For Sorority Rush

1/11/2013

Rush is a time to show off your personal style—right? Of course, but with a few crucial stipulations. This is your one chance to show hundreds of sorority girls that you are the coolest chick on campus, and your style should reflect that idea. But be careful—you want to show your personal style, of course, but you also want to fine-tune your style so you look the absolute best you can. Your favorite outfit may be your Uggs, your Juicy sweats, and your American Apparel acid-washed zip-up, but by no means should you wear that when you’re schmoozing sorority sisters. Think of rush as a job interview—you’re trying to make a great first impression, which means you should look poised, polished, and totally professional at all times. You want to show everyone that you mean business! And in order to do that, you should be careful to avoid these style pitfalls so you can walk tall and make your mark on Sorority Row. Will these rules apply to every single sorority at every single school? Of course not. But we did our best to have you covered and give you some general pointers so you can’t go wrong. We present to you our Top Ten Sorority Rush Fashion Don’ts:

Should I Rush A Sorority?

1/9/2013

To Rush or Not to Rush… Last weekend, my best friend from home came to visit me at school and stay in my sorority house. Her first comment upon entering was, “I go to an all-girls school, but I just couldn’t take all this GIRL all the time!” At first, I didn’t get what she meant. How could someone who goes to an all-girls college not understand what it means to live with girls? Isn’t it the same thing? But after looking back at the past eight months of my life, I realized I’ve entered a crazy alternate-universe girl world, and I’m not leaving until I graduate. In this column, I will try to explain the mysteries of this alternate universe, covering such alien topics as rush, formals, and frat parties. Hopefully I can shed a little light on this mysterious realm that is Greek Life for those who live in the real world and those who are thinking about joining this one.

And now for the topic of my first column: To rush or not to rush?

Before I left for college, I was sure I didn’t want to rush a sorority. From what I had heard, sorority girls were catty, competitive, hard-partiers who made you stay up all night and eat live goldfish to become a member. But my experience so far has proven them to be nothing more than normal girls who happen to all share a common social experience, kind of like being on a sports team or in a club at school. I’ve come to learn there is no such thing as a “typical sorority girl”, or even a “typical sorority”—every single girl in every single sorority is totally different, and it isn’t fair to assign stereotypes to any chapter or to dismiss the Greek system in general as shallow and superficial.

What It's Like to be on the Other Side of Rush

8/24/2012

As a freshman, I HATED rush week. Running from house to house against the arctic winds; scrambling out of my UGGs and into my high heels before each round; having the same conversation about my major and hometown over and over until my voice was hoarse…the whole process was, to me, totally exhausting and completely insincere. But more than anything else, I hated feeling judged. Each of us would get a little slip of paper every morning that listed the houses to which we had been invited back that day, and every day there was some disappointment, some house I’d loved that had cut me, some bitter tears shed while walking in the bitter cold. I took every cut as a personal blow, a sign that a group of girls thought I wasn’t cool enough to be their sister.

But this year, everything changed. Going through rush as a sister, I realized the process is nothing like I imagined last year. While as a freshman, I thought I was being judged on every aspect of my physical appearance and personality, I realized as a sophomore that sisters are forced to make snap judgments on girls based on their conversations, and if the conversation was just OK or we didn’t connect that well, then that was that. We talked to so many girls that we couldn’t make ANY cuts based on personal likes and dislikes, and we were more focused on simply getting through the rounds without any logistical disasters than on judging each and every PNM that filed through our door.

How to Find a Summer Fling

5/21/2012


Summer Lovin’. It all started, as do most things that are great in this world, with Grease. John Travolta and Olivia Newton John’s musical beachside romp marked the birth of a romantic phenomenon: the summer fling.  Since Danny and Sandy, millions more have found summer love, from the chastest sleepaway-camp couples to the steamiest poolside affairs. Our TV’s, bookshelves, and movie screens are inundated with love in the sun — the Gossip Girl novels abound with tales of hot Hamptons hookups, while the Olsen twins made millions on a series of straight-to-DVD movies, all of which involve picking up a hot pair of twins at the beach. In short, summer flings are springing up all around us.
 
Why are relationships so likely to form in the summer months? What happens when the temperature starts to drop? And where can the single college girl — facing a long summer of camp-counselordom, a grueling unpaid internship, or, for the lucky ones, a beachy getaway — find a summer fling of her own? Her Campus has you covered better than a bottle of SPF 55. 
 
What is it about summer that makes us want to fling?

The Coolest Student Jobs

5/3/2012

Out of all the dreaded phrases in the college dictionary — final exam, forced triple, freshman fifteen — perhaps one of the most dreaded is “student job." On top of everything else you have to do in a day, who wants to trek to the dining hall to serve messy mashed potatoes to your ungrateful peers, or answer phones all day long in some stuffy basement office? For some students, work-study is a necessary component of their financial aid plan, and for others, working is just a way to bring in a few extra bucks each week. But for everyone, student jobs are boring, thankless, and a total pain…right?

Not necessarily. Some lucky students managed to find jobs off the beaten path—jobs that are rewarding, fun, and totally cool. They looked beyond the usual titles of “administrative assistant," “food service worker” and “barista” to find jobs that suited their interests, schedules, and goals, and found some hidden gems in the sea of menial labor, and as a result, work is something they actually WANT to do, not just a necessary annoyance.