Being a Rho Gamma Changed My Life

A quick glance at Greek Rank or a simple Google search can, for some, reveal all they want to know about sorority life at Florida State. For incoming freshmen and even sophomores going through recruitment, these rumors and stereotypes were the basis of what my Potential New Members (PNMs), the group of ten women I’d be guiding through Recruitment Week, knew about sorority life at FSU.

It’s no secret that Greek life in colleges across the nation can put a bad taste in people’s mouths. The media portrays sorority women as mindless, petty and superficial, who care little about academics and even less about their community. Hearing my peers, and even my professors, speak negatively about sororities during class made me realize that these stereotypes were very real in the minds of individuals on our campus.

At FSU, Panhellenic recruitment is a ten-day process to help women find their home in a chapter that fits their values and can help them grow throughout their remaining years at the university. As a Recruitment Counselor, also called a Rho Gamma, my job was to counsel these women during the process and help them make decisions based on where they could see themselves building lifelong friendships with women who would drive them to become involved on campus and in the Tallahassee community.

Becoming a Rho Gamma changed everything for me in five ways.

1. It broke down stereotypes. 

The process blew apart some of the stereotypes I’d heard and sometimes, ashamedly, believed. Spending 5 months in class with women from each of the 17 chapters at FSU made me realize that sorority women are some of THE most driven, intelligent and compassionate women on campus. After months and months of training, I couldn’t wait to share this knowledge with my PNMs.

2. I became sisters with women in every chapter.

That’s right – the Rho Gamma sisterhood is strong because we’re essentially honorary members of each other’s chapters. Together, we went through one of the longest and most emotionally-draining weeks of our college life. Now, I see my new sisters everywhere on campus and around town.

3. It reminded me of why I joined my chapter in the first place.

Talking to my PNMs about their conversations in different chapters and helping them discover the best fit for them brought me back to my own recruitment week freshman year. I came in knowing very little, but I knew that I loved my chapter right away because I just clicked with the women there, and had a feeling that they would help me grow as a college woman. Helping them through the week made me realize that I wouldn’t even be in this position to guide others had I not joined a sorority.

4. It made me realize that we all want the same thing.

Guiding my PNMs allowed me to understand that we’re more similar than we think. At the most basic level, we all want to be liked, accepted and appreciated – the PNMs, the chapter women and the Rho Gams. We want our talents known, we want to contribute and we want to feel a sense of home in a school as large as Florida State. Being a Rho Gamma has given me all of that and more, and I hope that I’ve helped my PNMs find a sense of love and belonging in their new homes.

5. We all come from very different backgrounds that shape our experiences.

We may all fundamentally want to be loved and accepted, but we’re also very different in how we react to new experiences, and no two people are the same. Recruitment week is always physically draining and emotionally taxing – especially when PNMs aren’t invited back to a chapter they love. As a Rho Gamma, I wanted the absolute best outcome for each of the women in my group, and part of that was relying on my training to counsel them as individuals and do my best to understand their varied experiences before coming to FSU.