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Sydney White / Amanda Bynes
Sydney White / Amanda Bynes
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Life > Experiences

Why I Waited Until Second Semester to Join a Sorority

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

In late September of my freshman year, I was about to face my first-ever college exam. I was so nervous for the test that I’d made a ten-page study guide and read every single page of my notes over and over again. My brain was filled with details about protein synthesis and the differences between DNA and RNA. I remember thinking I didn’t know how I was going to keep up with all this work along with the rest of my classes. Then, as I left my dorm to head to the test review session, I was met with excited screaming coming from every direction. 

It was Bid Day. Hundreds of my peers had gone through formal recruitment and finally ran home to their new sororities. I knew girls on my floor and in my classes who had been talking about it for weeks. I was excited for them, but I felt like it would be too overwhelming for me. I was still adjusting to college, to classes and being on my own. If I was so stressed about a single exam, I didn’t know how I could handle adding more to my schedule.

As the fall semester went on, I got used to college. I found a rhythm, learned how to study effectively and made new friends. By the time spring rolled around, I felt more comfortable and prepared for the new semester. A friend of mine and I started talking about it at the end of our first semester, and we decided to go through informal sorority recruitment together in the spring.

Informal recruitment, also known as Continuous Open Bidding (COB), is a more casual way to join a sorority. Instead of every potential new member (PNM) having a set schedule to meet members of each sorority, PNMs get to choose which events to attend. These events are also more laid-back, ranging from painting nights with whole chapters to coffee dates with individual members. This setup was more appealing to me than formal recruitment because it allowed me the freedom to make my own schedule. I knew going through recruitment would always be at least a little stressful, but after learning about it, I saw that COB would be the best choice for me.

I was really nervous going into my first in-person event, a coffee date. I didn’t know what to expect, what questions they would ask me or what questions I should have. My worries were put at ease quickly, though. On that date and each one after, every member I spoke to was welcoming and kind. I loved getting to know members from a bunch of sororities on campus and could see that they wanted to get to know me too. It was exciting to hear about each chapter’s philanthropy and values, especially those that aligned with my most heartfelt beliefs.

After leaving my first coffee date with the chapter I ended up joining, I couldn’t stop smiling the rest of the day. I was so glad to have found a group that was passionate about all the things I was, where I could make new friends and form connections with people in all stages of college. And while my bid day was not quite as glamorous as traditional ones (it involved getting sent a bid by email and having a not-so-surprise celebration), I loved it all the same.

I also loved having a small new member class. There were only six of us, and I got to know each of the girls really well. That first semester in the sorority, we’d all grab dinner together before chapter and always dance together at social events. Even now, as we’ve all made more friends and some of us have even gone abroad, I’ll always consider them my first friends in the chapter. That kind of tight-knit experience is remarkable, and it’s one of the reasons I don’t regret waiting until spring to join a sorority. 

COB is special because it’s a unique experience for every PNM. It was the best choice for me, and I’d encourage anyone thinking of going through spring recruitment to go for it. I don’t know what my life at college would be like if I hadn’t done it, but I’m glad I don’t have to wonder what it would be like if I did. The worst that can happen is you tried something new and it didn’t work out, but the best that can happen is finding a supportive group where you feel truly at home.

Studies neuroscience and Spanish, loves a hot cup of green tea and spends too much time listening to Simon & Garfunkel.