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Your Guide To Sorority Formal Recruitment

Brace yourselves, because sorority formal recruitment szn is officially upon us. For the next ten days, Penn State’s campus will be swarming with hundreds of girls hoping to ~find their bridesmaids~ and echoing with sounds of cult-like chants from sororities preparing to welcome the potential new members into their suites.

As a potential new member (PNM), joining a sorority can be the most emotional time of your life so far in your college career. Everyone has her own reason for wanting to go through the hell that is formal recruitment, whether that be to find a solid group of friends, go outside of her comfort zone, or to get more involved with things like THON. Joining a sorority can provide opportunities for leadership and career networking too if that’s your thing, or it can just be another bullet point for involvement on your resume.

Whatever your reasons are for wanting to be a part of a sorority, the odds are that you’re nervous to go into that first room and have your first conversation.

However, fear not! Here is your all-inclusive guide to surviving formal recruitment at Penn State, written by someone who used to be in your shoes:

Your Grades Will Suffer

Say goodbye to your homework, clubs, or any other activities that aren’t recruitment. You will not have the time, energy, or emotional capacity to deal with anything that isn’t sorority-related until Bid Day is over. You will doze off in class, awake solely because of all the caffeine you’re guzzling, and you will have sorority chants stuck in your head.

Has your professor been speaking for the past 20 minutes? Was something due today? You will have no idea.

Instead of stressing yourself out scrambling to keep up with your classes, try to work ahead during the earlier rounds of recruitment so you won’t have as much to do when you inevitably start losing stamina. It’s going to suck, but bring your backpack with you so you can get some stuff done during your breaks.

Someone (Maybe You) Will Cry

No matter how strong you think you are, please be prepared to cry. In public. Surrounded by strangers.

Here’s why: going through recruitment, both as the PNM and the recruiter, is so emotionally draining that the slightest disappointment or excitement can make you lose it. Maybe you didn’t have a good conversation with someone in a sorority you thought you really wanted, or you didn’t get invited back by any organization you could see yourself being a part of, or you’re just exhausted and can’t talk about what you did over winter break anymore.

Cue the tears. It’s okay, it happens to everyone, and honestly, no one is judging you for it. It’s hard to put yourself out there for the possibility of rejection over and over again, and it’s easy to fall into some bad mental health along the way.

Find Some Support

The worst thing you can do to yourself as a PNM is to try to go through this entire process alone. Instead, call your mom, rant to your roommate, complain to your Pi Chi, and tag along when the other girls in your group are doing something. Getting outside of your own head once in a while can make a huge difference.

Even though recruitment is really personal and about finding a sorority that’s the best fit for you, it can make everything so much more enjoyable if you try to make some friends along the way, even if they don’t end up being your sisters in the end.

Along with that, absolutely utilize your Pi Chi as a resource for all of your questions and fears. They were in your shoes too once and can offer some great advice when it seems like your entire world is crumbling around you. Seriously, those women have spent this entire year being trained on how to help PNMs who are having a meltdown. They want to help you.

Legacy Status

This means that someone in your family, whether that be your mom, aunt, grandma, sister, or whoever was a member of a certain sorority. Typically, if you are a legacy, every sister of that sorority that’s recruiting will know who you are exactly when you walk in the room, but they’re not allowed to talk to you about it unless you bring it up first. Yes, that is as weird as it sounds like it’d be.

Every sorority has a different policy on giving bids to legacies, though, so don’t assume that you have it in the bag just because you were born into it.

The Plague Will Come

You WILL get sick. Your throat will hurt, your nose will run, and you might not be able to breathe at certain points. This usually happens in later rounds, because the human body just isn’t made to be packed like sardines into small rooms and trying to be heard over the sounds of about fifty other conversations.

Airborne and Emergen-C are your best friends. Make sure you’re constantly drinking water whenever you’re not in a party and getting as much sleep as you can. Try to cut out the junk food, and you will regret it if you attempt to consume alcohol.

Besides the fact that you’ll immediately get kicked out of recruitment if you’re caught on Frat Row or just drinking in general, there is nothing worse than a recruitment hangover combined with a real one. Trust me, it’s in your best interest to stay sober until after Bid Day.

Stay Off GreekRank

I too was guilty of scouring the online forums to see what the Greek community really thought of each sorority, but I’m here to tell you that it’s absolutely not worth it. While Penn State is guilty of a pretty aggressive tier system when it comes to Greek life, none of the posts on that website are actually true.

If you read a really positive comment talking about how hot or cool a sorority is…chances are, it was written by a member of that sorority. The negative comments are really negative and don’t reflect on how the sororities actually interact with each other on campus.

Enter recruitment with an open mind, and don’t exclude a certain organization or get your heart set on another because of what you’ve read online, or what you think their reputations are. Letting other people’s opinions influence your own, especially ones that they posted anonymously on some online conversation, will only leave you miserable in the process and unlikely to find the sorority that best fits you.

Believe In Yourself

Ladies, it’s going to be so easy to get wrapped up in the negativity that surrounds formal recruitment. You might be made fun of by a certain popular media outlet, people may accuse you of “paying for your friends,” and with every sorority that doesn’t invite you back to its next round, comes the insecurity that who you are isn’t good enough for these girls.

As long as you keep a firm grip on your sense of self and remember to Trust The Process, you will end up where you’re meant to be. It sounds stupidly cheesy, but it’s true. If you allow yourself to go into these next few weeks with confidence and an open mind, you will survive.

In the meantime, though, here’s a fun little reminder of what’s coming your way:

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About the Author

Katie Moats

Katie Moats is a junior majoring in English, and although she says she's from Chicago, she could spit and it would hit Wisconsin. One time she studied abroad for about a minute and decided to get an entire tattoo on her body about it. If you like seeing Penn State-themed retweets and other stupid memes, you can follow her @k_moats24 on Twitter. All email inquiries must be written in the form of a poem and may be sent to [email protected]

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