I am a member of a sorority so it’s obvious to assume that I’ve been through the formal recruitment process as a PNM. Since becoming a member of an organization I’ve realized that I now know a lot more about the process than I ever did as a PNM. So that’s why I’m here today, to give you all an inside look into recruitment from a sorority member.
The cliches that people say about formal recruitment are endless. People always say to be yourself, don’t try too hard, you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be, and as cheesy as it sometimes sounds all of that advice is true. But at the same time I’ve realized since being on the other side of recruitment that there’s a lot of factors that you really don’t think about or realize as a PNM.
First things first, we’re all just as nervous as you are. A sorority woman told me this once when I was rushing and I didn’t believe her at all, but now being on the other side of it I fully understand. As much as each organization looks at every girl, each member still has her favorites. We’ve formed bonds with you, we’ve learned to like you, and we appreciate what you could bring to our organization, so the fear of you not wanting to be a new member of our organization, or another sorority wanting you equally as much is absolutely terrifying (honestly for me it’s almost as terrifying as going through formal recruitment as a PNM was).
We’re picking the girls who are going to represent our organization on campus for the next year, and who will then go on to select our future members. That’s a big burden for us to carry. Some organizations are working on maintaining their reputation (whatever that may be), some are working on improving their reputation, and some are working on establishing a reputation (being a member of the newest sorority on campus puts me and my sisters in this section). The members we choose this Fall will define how the entire campus and Greek community views us for a long time. Talk about a lot of pressure.
So now you can understand why we spend hours planning and setting up events for you, why we try to put our best foot forward when talking to you, why we have endless recruitment workshops, and why we talk about each one of you in depth before selecting who we would like to join our organization. We’re worried about impressing you just as much as you’re worried about impressing us, even if you don’t believe that’s true.
Not only are we fighting for your attention but we’re also fighting the other sororities around us. “Fighting” might not be the best term, we’re all one big Panhellenic community and truly we want you to join Greek life no matter what organization you end up in. But at the same time I fully believe that losing your favorite girl to another organization is almost equally as upsetting as being dropped by your favorite sorority during recruitment.
At the same time we all feel this huge responsibility to make your sorority dreams come true. Okay so maybe it’s just me, but being a PNM who almost got into the sorority she imagined only to have that ripped away was one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with. And maybe that sounds silly and dramatic but it’s true. You spend all this time focusing on one thing and creating it into being everything you want only to have it all fall apart in the last second. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, which is why I feel this need to not let it happen to other people. I honestly wish that we could extend bids to everyone because I don’t want my organization to be the reason that you don’t get to join a sorority, because joining a sisterhood truly is an awesome thing.
However at the same time we can only show so much interest in you for fear of bid promising. That’s a HUGE no-no when it comes to formal recruitment and it’s something I definitely don’t endorse. We have to make you want us, we have to make you feel confident in us, but we can’t promise you anything. That really puts us in a hard spot because we can like you and want you but we can’t guarantee anything. It’s this difficult seesaw game for all sorority members.
That brings me to another point: cutting your list of girls to fit the amount of bids you’re allowed to give is seriously painful. Okay, so technically I haven’t been through the whole process of actually selecting girls yet, but I have spent the past few months talking to my sisters about PNMs, making lists for myself to organize my thoughts (….I find lists to be the most therapeutic thing ever) and freaking out. So I have dealt with the issue of knowing generally how many spots we’re going to have and knowing that all the girls that I like won’t be able to fit just because we only have so many spots. It’s frustrating to let go of girls who you think would fit in your organization just because someone else might fit a little bit better or might have more people rooting for her. It’s definitely not something that I, or any member of my sorority, takes lightly.
Another point I’d like to make is that every sorority chooses it’s new members differently. So I can’t honestly tell you what you’re up against. But I do know how my organization selects girls and all I can say is that it’s all about being a good fit all around. There’s a lot of different things we look at but at the end of the day my best advice for any PNM reading this is to really show interest in all of the organizations. Attend the events, follow the Instagram pages (like the photos?), reach out to members, act genuinely excited and happy to be around the members. We love to see your interest because it lets us know that you like us (or at least that you could like us). Any organization, no matter who they are, isn’t going to waist their time on girls who don’t seem like they really want them. Even if we are really interested in you. If we think you don’t want us you’ll be lost behind other girls who seem like they do care.
I’m sure anyone going through recruitment knows that making ANY organization uninterested in you (even if it is one you don’t think you want) is a terrible idea. You’re going to need sororities to keep you around in order to get to the organization you think you want, and even more so you are going to need sororities to keep you around in case the sorority you think you want decides they don’t want you. Putting all your eggs in one basket is the worst mistake you can make.
I could probably go on a lot longer about recruitment; what to expect, how to act, what to wear, etc. and maybe I will write blogs about all those things. But in an effort to not make this post too long or wordy I’m going to end this here.
Keep your mind open and enjoy your summer without freaking out too much. It really does all work out in the end.
From me for you,
For more posts from me about sorority life and recruitment click these links below!:
Why AOII Wednesday
The Ups and Downs of Recruitment: Hello AOII!