My Recruitment Experience: Getting Dropped by All the Sororities

 

As a soon to be high school graduate, participating in sorority recruitment never crossed my mind. I didn't see myself as a "sorority girl." I'm not very conventional, I don't shave my legs or armpits, or wear much makeup, but once I had been at college for one year, and observed the greek system, I decided to try it out.

At Washington State University,  sorority recruitment occurs in the fall. Since classes begin on August 20, recruitment begins on August 11. It is a one week process, complete with pan day, philanthropy day, house tour day, preference day, and bid day.

In order to participate in recruitment, women have to pay a fee, as well as fill out a questionnaire and a "values test." I registered as soon as the application came out, and then moved into my apartment the day before rush began. The first two days, Monday and Tuesday were "pan" days. On each of these two days, myself, and my "rho gam" group visited seven chapters, and held short conversations with two to three (sometimes four) of the women in each chapter. "Rho gam" refers to a disaffiliated sorority member, and the “rho gam group,” refers to a set of  potential new members (PNM'S) who go through recruitment together. Our Rho Gam was there to support us with whatever we needed; advice, aspirin, mints, or a shoulder to cry on.

Monday and Tuesday were the longest days as we spoke with about twenty-one recruiters, and had practically the same conversation with each one. It was also in the low to mid nineties throughout the week, and there was a lot of time spent walking to and from each house, as well as waiting outside. We would stand with sweat dripping down our faces, smiles plastered on, anxiously awaiting the moment we would be invited into the houses.

Tuesday night, we "prefed" for the first time, which essentially means we ranked the chapters. We were able to attempt to drop four chapters. I ranked four as my least favorite in order to drop them. However, just because I didn't want to go back, didn't mean I wouldn't have to. Sometimes a potential new member may not want to go back to a particular chapter, but if a chapter she ranked highest does not give an invite, that PNM will have to accept the invite to the lower ranked house. 

Wednesday morning rolled around, we strolled over to our meeting stop at 7:30am, unlocked our cellphones and checked our schedules for the day. I was quite nervous for the first time throughout the process. I typed in my login, and clicked to the refresh my schedule from the day before. To my relief, a few of my top chapters remained, but to my disappointment, three of the four chapters I tried to drop were also there. The maximum number of chapters we could have over the course of Wednesday and Thursday was ten (although I was told that was rare). I had seven, so although I had to return to a few of my least favorites, I was still feeling confident and hopeful.

My least favorite chapters from the first day, remained my least favorite throughout the process. Despite this, I maintained a positive attitude, and tried my best. I think that is the easiest way to get the most out of sorority recruitment.

Thursday, I went back to my top chapters, loved them again, trusted that the conversations we had were genuine, and I was eager to return.  Thursday night, we prefed again, and Friday morning, we lazily strolled to our meeting spot at 7:30am. I logged into my account, and to my confusion, there were only two chapters listed on my schedule. Both of them, were my least favorites from the very first day. Typically, women have four chapters to attend on Friday, house tour day. This meant that I was dropped from five houses. I was upset (of course), but I went to the two houses and held on to hope that in the end I would like one of them.

Ever since the beginning of recruitment, the thought of not getting into any of the chapters was in the back of my mind. But by the time Friday night rolled around, and had attended a meeting held by the Panhellenic council, I was reassured that this would not occur. They told us that everyone was guaranteed a bid as long as we all prefed both of the chapters we were to attend on Saturday.

By the time I got back to my apartment Friday night, I was exhausted. I went to bed at around 11. I woke up the next morning with a text from my Rho Gam asking to speak with me.

I called her, and she informed me that I was "heavily released," meaning that I was dropped from the last two houses.

I didn't go into recruitment as hopeful and thrilled as my peers, and after my experience days prior with being dropped from all the houses I liked, I wasn't surprised with the result. I didn't wear makeup, or buy outfits for recruitment. I didn't fake my personality to appear more appealing. I didn’t try to fit in.

One thing I did believe that they told us was that we should be ourselves. And I was. When asked, I spoke about my passion for filmmaking, and service. I spoke about struggles I've faced, insecurities I have, experiences that have shaped me as a person, and how I wanted to join a sorority because I would be able to surround myself with women who want to empower other women, to volunteer and help those in need, and to further integrate myself into Washington State University.

I genuinely enjoyed the majority of my interactions and conversations with the recruiters, and the young women I was rushing alongside. And I wish I was more surprised by the result.

I'm glad I participated in sorority recruitment regardless of the fact that I didn't gain what I hoped to.

I pushed myself out of my comfort zone by participating and I'm so glad I did. I learned more about myself, and about the greek system. I met a lot of captivating women, who all have thoughts, feelings and passions that are driving them towards their goals, and although I won't in a sorority during my time in college, I still support them.