Okay, I know your TikTok For You Page was filled with Bama Rush, but here’s a look behind the curtain of well-edited videos.
Convocation serves as the opening of recruitment where all the PNMs (Potential New Members - any woman going through rush) watched a video of the women who make up the Panhellenic Executive Board with most of the members of the board. The video explained what to expect in the upcoming week and what an honor it is to be part of the biggest recruitment event in the country.
I am grateful that recruitment was the first thing I experienced in college. My mom and I said goodbye three minutes before I had to dash back to my dorm and start convocation. There was no time for tears or doubting my independence.
Convocation was, in short, a hot mess. We were in a Zoom meeting of about 100 women trying to watch an informational video from Panhellenic, but it would not load. Little did I know, this would be the first of many technical problems.
Open house round consisted of 5-minute videos created by each chapter with a short note-taking time in between.
Going into this round, I was concerned that I’d have a hard time choosing which houses to keep and which houses to drop. Around 2:15 p.m., I realized I still had 12 more houses to go to and I was very worried if I would be able to make it. Luckily, we had a break when someone in Pres 1 thought it would be a good idea to make some popcorn, but they burnt the heck out of it.
One of my favorite parts of the day was talking with my roommates about all the houses and their videos. We gathered in my bedroom and chatted about each of our experiences. It was interesting to hear about my roommates' likes and dislikes for the videos.
Philanthropy Round (3 Days):
This round consisted of a 30-minute Zoom session with an assigned house at almost any part of the day. It started with a video on the chapter’s philanthropy and finances. Girls were then broken up into smaller groups where they were either alone with an active member (girls already initiated into the sorority) or had another PNM with them.
I waited with bated breath and butterflies in my stomach for my schedule for that day. At 9 a.m. our schedules dropped, and needless to say, my heart hurt. I was not asked back to a lot of houses I liked and asked back to houses that I ranked lower on my list. I felt confident in what I could bring to a house, but it still hurt to feel like I wasn’t good enough for some houses. In the back of my mind, I thought that if this were able to talk to the women in person, I could wow some houses with my personality. I blasted Folklore in my AirPods (“exile” by Taylor Swift just hits different when you have literally been exiled) and tried to breathe the nerves away.
Sisterhood Round (3 Days):
Sisterhood round consisted of a 40-minute Zoom with one or two active members and in some houses with another PNM. The conversations are a little deeper and the actives explain why they chose their house.
The cuts that took place before this round were based on our conversations with active members during Philanthropy round. I didn’t get back a house I really liked and was crushed because I thought the conversation went well. However, I told myself to keep an open mind and trust the process. I had to expel the negativity and self-doubt from my mind and body and put a smile on my face. At the end of the day, I knew what I wanted to rank as my top two houses. As for the rest? I wasn’t too sure. I knew what was going to be ranked last, but I felt neutral towards all the others.
Preference Round (1 Day):
What the round looked like: A 50-minute one-on-one Zoom with one other active member.
I got up bright and early, excited for the day to come. I got one of my #1’s back and my #4. I was sad to see that I didn’t get both of my top houses back, but it made the decision very easy. I teared up at the preference round videos and had some really deep conversations with women that I had only met once before. I finally had that “this is home” feeling.
Bid Day is when the PNMs find out which sorority accepted them into the sisterhood! They run to the houses (aka mansions) and meet all their new sisters.
The day we had all been waiting for was finally here! Emails were to be sent out at 1 p.m., so my roommates and I waited together at Denny Chimes. The campus WiFi (always so amazing) sent out the bids at 1:04 p.m.- the longest 4 minutes of my life! But it was all worth it- I got the house I wanted and connected with all week!
I “ran home” at 3 p.m. that afternoon, which gave me enough time to touch up my makeup, call my mom and tell her the news, and revel in excitement with my roommates. At the house, we were greeted with cold water, masks, our bids and a swag bag (yay for goodies!).
While I was bummed that I didn’t get to step into the beautiful houses or see anyone pass out from the heat, I did enjoy having it online. I appreciated my dorm air conditioning. I was happy not to be sweating profusely and worrying about awkward tan lines. I spent so many hours perfecting my outfits but was glad I was just shown from the face up. It is hard not to feel like the girls are judging every aspect of you, including the way you look. Shoutout to the E.L.F ring light that made my Kylighter glow on screen. I loved not having to wear heels! I am confident in my heel walking abilities but standing and walking in sky-high heels for 12 hours did not sound like fun.
It felt more intimate being online. I got to see their bedrooms, and they got to see mine. My bed wasn’t always made, my photo wall fell during a party. I didn’t feel like I had to one-up the girls around me, because I couldn’t see them. The active members were just as confused as us! I heard the advice, “We’re just as scared as you,” before, but now in this uncharted virtual territory, I felt like that rang true.
My hot tip: Check your schedule daily. I could’ve sworn that my first party of the day was at 11 a.m., haha nope, it was 9 a.m. I only had enough time to curl the front few pieces of hair and put on just enough makeup that I looked put together. Also wake up for your recruitment counselor calls where they take attendance. I slept through mine and woke up to 17 calls and a text reading, “ARE YOU ALIVE?”
The biggest thing I learned? Social media means absolutely nothing! I had 20 girls from one house following me, including the sorority’s president and the house Instagram itself, they were liking my photos, commenting on them, swiping up on my stories but I still got dropped on the first round.
Yes, it really, really hurts to think that you did everything right, you got the recommendation letters, you had that high GPA, you have a darling personality but you will still get dropped. It is totally okay! You will end up where you belong, and you are more than the letters you wear on your Bid Day jersey. You really have to trust the process. You are being welcomed into a sisterhood of almost 7,000 bright, amazing, accomplished women.
Go Greek and Roll Tide!