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Sorority Recruitment from the Inside: What I Want PNMs to Know

Sorority woman and PNMs (Potential New Members) alike are counting down the days to the start of recruitment. And, more importantly, the end of recruitment.

If you are a PNM, you may be a bit freaked out by the enormity of the whole process. I know you may feel a bit left in the dark, especially since sorority women are being very careful not to show favoritism or to mislead someone into thinking they are bid-promised, and may be a bit distant. I have a secret for you: we are all dreading recruitment as much as you are.

I know that a lot of PNMs (myself last year included) are really concerned about being scrutinized by the entire sorority population. But guess what? The entire sorority population is concerned about how we come across to the PNMs. We are shaking in our boots as much as you are. As much as you want us to like you and bid you, we want you to like us and choose us. The goal of this whole (seemingly insane) process is to make sure PNMs are matched with the best sorority for them.

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Another point I’d like to make, because it got me a bit fuming my recruitment year, is why we tell you what to wear. I want to be an individual, and being told what to wear almost made me angry enough to not want to join. But there is SO much more to it.

We are not here to judge what you look like, and we are not trying to mold you into an unidentifiable, mass-produced silhouette. We want you to feel included. We want you to get the sense that you are joining something much bigger than yourself–we are united, we stand together, we are a sisterhood. I know that sounds cheesy. But it’s also true.

And as far as us considering your appearance, think of a job interview. If you walk into the room in your worn-out sweats with your frizzy hair twisted in a bun on the top of your head, your interviewer would perceive you as someone who doesn’t care enough to act professionally. They may fear this would bleed into your work ethic–you won’t put the effort in to make something presentable, and definitely won’t be willing to go above and beyond. Basically you just come across as lazy. This applies to recruitment as well. We want hard-working, motivated women who will empower and inspire those around them. Not women who will need to be carried to success by the rest of us. We all push each other to be our best, because we are only as good as our weakest link. (Yeah, yeah, I’m getting cheesy again).

P.S. There will be plenty of time for sweat pants and buns post-recruitment–no one judges your right to comfort after we know you are a stellar person.

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I think another problem people often have with recruitment is how painfully, agonizingly long it is. And while us sorority women are just as exhausted and I’d-rather-be-sleeping as you PNMs, it is reasonable when you consider how important a decision this is. No, it is not the end of the world. But it could still be a very significant decision in your life. These are the women who you will spend an excessive amount of time with for the remainder of your college career, and who hopefully you will continue to see beyond graduation. These are the women who will always be around when you need support, advice, a ride, a hug, etc. These are the women who you can study with. These are the women who you can network with. Not to say you can’t do these things with other people outside the sorority, but just the sheer amount of time you spend with this group will guarantee some kind of impact and continued associations. Because of this, you want to make sure you are with a group of girls that share your values. So the excessive time might seem annoying, but it really is well worth it.

Last, and most importantly in my mind, recruitment may seem long and tiring and stressful. But you should know that if you stick it out, the first hug you get on Bid Night will be the best stress relief you’ve ever had, and the rest of the hugs will just offer additional exuberance (this is coming from someone who generally hates hugs). Bid Night is the moment everyone is ready to get to. It is the moment when you know where you are going, even if you don’t know what will come of it yet. It is when you join your new sisters and begin an incredible adventure (you should have known I would get cheesy again at the end).

So take a deep breath and put on your most-genuine smile–if you can get through this, you can get through anything. And we are all getting through it together.

English Education major at Gettysburg College. My friends hate me for correcting their grammar, but I know they secretly appreciate it.
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