When I was a freshman at Boston University, I was confused and scared about a lot of things. But one thing I never questioned was that I wanted to join a sorority, or at the very least give it a shot at recruitment. Sororities fit a lot of the things that are important to me — female empowerment, philanthropy, community, and, honestly, just the opportunity to become friends with really cool people.
I can only speak for what sorority life is like at BU, but it’s been a sort of wish-fulfillment for all those goals I had. I’ve made my best friends, grown as a person, and experienced so many amazing memories.
But one memory that was anything but amazing? Recruitment. Now being a recruiter, through the long days and painful heels, I get to hang out with my sisters and laugh with them for a weekend. But as a PNM (potential new member), recruitment was exhausting and stressful, especially because I went through it alone. While all of that anxiety and tiredness was totally worth it in the end, here are my best pieces of advice to help you through the process and make your experience a little bit easier.
- Try your best to be open-minded
I know, I know. This seems like an almost impossible request. You’ve probably met girls you love in a chapter during class, become attached to a certain philanthropy event, or found yourself stalking a particular Instagram page more than the others. While I totally understand where you’re coming from, putting all your eggs in one basket is not the smartest plan. Even if you’re having a rough convo, try to analyze the whole room, and watch the way the girls interact when they’re not speaking to just you. This can be really helpful especially if you’re talking to someone you’re not vibing with 100% because maybe there is something you like about the chapter as a whole. It’s important to be prepared in case something changes in your course, so you’ll be able to land on your feet and focus on surviving the experience. Being open-minded will allow you to have your own experience and find the place you truly belong.
- Don’t be rude
This one might shock you, but as a recruiter, I can tell you multiple experiences with girls who were truly disrespectful to me and my chapter during conversations. There are girls who stare at the door during conversation rounds, mention chapters they liked better or refused to engage with my questions. I know you might have to sit through rounds in chapters you don’t see yourself in, but being nice doesn’t cost you anything. The recruiters you’re talking to got to the hotel earlier, have stood in heels longer, and talked through more rounds than you just to make sure you end up where you belong. Recruitment is likely on Zoom this year, but the same rules apply. Don’t be on your phone, make good eye contact, and just be nice! These girls could end up being your new sisters in just a few days.
- It doesn’t matter what you look like, but dress to impress
I can only speak for my chapter at my school, but physical appearance is a non-entity when it comes to the recruitment process. We have all sizes, shapes, and backgrounds in our sorority, and the process centers solely around personality when choosing new members. Realistically, if you’re in a room of girls and you feel like they’re body-shaming you or judging girls on the basis of race, is that the place you want to spend the next few years? The people you want to spend them with? Probably not. You deserve to feel beautiful all the time (because you are), so find the room that makes you feel that way. However, clothes are definitely a place to express yourself and boost your confidence during recruitment. First and foremost, follow the dress code if you’re given one. This shows respect and understanding, much in the way you’d want to wear the right type of clothes for a job interview. But there’s so much room to play when it comes to dressing codes, so explore your options with accessories, makeup styles, or out of the box-interpretations of “business casual.” Cool thrifted finds, statement eyeliner or that one-of-a-kind necklace you got last summer in Paris are what will set you apart from the other girls and make you memorable within the swarm of PNMs.
- Trust the process
You’re going to hear this SO. MANY. TIMES. And after the first few, it’s going to sound like nails on a chalkboard. But there’s a lot of validity in going with the flow and taking the process for what it is. My personal favorite piece of advice I got was to imagine which girls you see yourself studying with late at night, with face masks on and Domino’s on the way — that was the line that helped me make my final choice. You’ll hear so many voices telling you so many things, but “trust the process” will reign over them all. I know it’s annoying, but it is the best way to keep your anxiety down and your self-esteem up. College is an amalgamation of so many different things and experiences. While being in a sorority has enhanced mine, it hasn’t defined it. So I believe in you — you will find yourself where you need to be, sorority or not.
- Have fun and remember this doesn’t define you
Seriously. While it’s cool to wear letters and go to formal events, your self-worth trumps all. If the process doesn’t go how you expected it to, you can always rush again, or utilize one of the other communities on campus to find your place in the world. If you do get in somewhere you love, the same rules apply. Don’t let recruitment determine how you look at yourself or change who you are, regardless of the outcome.