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Here For A Year: Recruitment

Here for a Year is a guest column from the perspective of British students at W&M.

Recruitment: You think it’s uncomfortable for you PNM’s? Try being an exchange student…

Recruitment or rushing is THE ultimate American college experience. Whilst American students come to college destined to be in a particular sorority because their ‘mom’ was or consider themselves ‘not a sorority kind of girl’, we British girls have less emotional investment. Initially we got involved because why not? We got to show off our cute European fashion, submerge ourselves in real American culture, and meet tons of lovely girls.

The first day of open house, it rained. Not ideal when everyone is trying to look their best! The weather is every Brit’s favourite topic of conversation (fact), and because it rains at home almost every day, I was prepared with an umbrella. The envious looks from the girls who had spent hours on their hair just to end up completely drenched actually made me feel a bit guilty.You live in Virginia now girls – rain is something you’re going to have to get used to! Luckily, most girls learnt from their mistakes and there were lots more umbrellas and rain jackets on pref night.

I’d been told that my accent would help me seem more interesting and desirable to a lot of the sisters. That may be true, but it made recruitment all the more painful too. You know that one conversation you had a few times at a lot of different houses? Imagine that, but with every girl, at every house, about where you’re from and why you’re here.

Since arriving here, I’ve noticed American girls have a very distinct way of making friends with each other. Complimenting a girl on her hair or her outfit is the go-to way of starting a conversation, which is extremely unusual at home. This probably made recruitment a bit easier for you PNM’s, because you’re used to the art of ‘girl flirting’, as we have fondly labeled it. This whole process was so alien to us I found it physically exhausting and struggled not to seem false. It’s not that all the girls I met weren’t beautiful and intelligent, it’s just that I am really not used to articulating that!

Recruitment is such a unique event, and the further through the process I’ve got the more invested I have become in the idea of a sorority and what it could add to my American college experience. Maybe I am a sorority girl after all. I guess we’ll see… hope you all got your bids!

Exchange student from Nottingham University in the UK currently studying American Studies and English at William and Mary. Aspiring PR and marketing queen.
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