Rushing a sorority, part 1: YOU

(Part 2: Choosing a sorority will be up tomorrow.)

According to my Twitter feed, Formal Panhellenic Recruitment – what the haters like to call “sorority rush” – has begun!  This is an incredibly exciting time of year for all involved, but, as any sorority woman can tell you, it is also stressful, exhausting, and weird as hell.

Today’s post, however, is designed to help those of you who have not chosen a sorority yet, and hopefully haven’t actually started rushing yet.  While I’m sure many of you have a great idea of what sorority you want, I’m here to help provide a little clarity for the rest of you, who, if you’re anything like I was, are a bit overwhelmed already with that whole, oh, I don’t know, “welcome to college” process, let alone the crazy, unique, and rewarding experience Recruitment will be.

The (hopefully) easy and obvious part: how to behave

There is a lot of talk out there about how you should just be yourself, dress how you will, discuss what you want, etc., and any worthy sorority will pursue you.  While that advice isn’t wrong, per se, it isn’t entirely helpful.  Frankly, while having a great personality will take you a long way, bad teeth might just set you back.  If that seems unfair, consider this: even if you wear Pelosi pearls and come wrapped in Hermes, if you bore the active members to tears, they still probably won’t want you.  (Frankly, if they do, you two deserve each other.)

Now, there are a couple of dozen NPC organizations, and thousands of chapters across the country.  Of course, not every chapter is looking for the same person.  However, I’ll just assume that, because you’re reading my blog, you agree with me on at least a few things.  Therefore, consider the following phenomena when constructing your Recruitment persona:

Personality

For God’s sake, be INTERESTING!  Christ, I know you’ll think Rush is the busiest, most tiring thing ever, but Jesus, those active girls have been working for SIX MONTHS to impress YOU, and they’re only sleeping three hours a night during Recruitment.

Frankly, Recruitment is like a really fun job interview, in which you’re interviewing to be somebody’s SISTER.  Nobody wants a BORING sister.  So, be your best-possible self: tell people cool things about you, engage them in interesting topics, and, if all else fails, just ask the actives lots of questions about themselves. People loooove talking about themselves.

Also, be polite.  Sometimes one Active will need to take care of you and another, or even two more, Potential New Members (PNMs) all at once.  Please do not be so desperate to make an impression that you jump all over the Active and squash the PNMs to bits.  Remember: only bitchy sororities are interested in bitchy girls.  (If you’re a bitchy girl, of course, you should fit in just fine.)

On that note, even if you’re not interested in a chapter, please do be nice and as outgoing and engaging as possible.  Just because you’re not interested in a chapter doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of girls in it with whom you could be great friends.  Moreover, if you choose to pursue leadership positions down the road, you will definitely work with other chapters’ members quite often, and you really don’t want them to think of you as “that one bitchy PNM who totally BELONGS in [insert chapter here.]”  (Yes, I still have a couple of those whom I remember, five years down the road.)

Appearance

Know what works well for you.  Some girls look better with their hair up; some look better with their hair down.  Some like eyeliner, others prefer blush.  Some like clutches, other prefer totes.  Whatever, that really isn’t a big deal.

However, if you’re interested in being taken seriously, keep one thing in mind: you are dressing to impress other women, NOT to get laid at the Sigma Chi Ranch House (RIP, boys).

Put the damn cleave away; the sisters will mock you.  Don’t get too heavy-handed with your Ulta eyeshadow; nobody wants a sister who looks like she got punched in the face.  Don’t wear anything so tight or short or low-cut that you are tugging left, right, down, and over.  Avoid synthetic fabrics; they’re rarely flattering.

DO dress in a manner that’s natural for you.  DO try to enhance your natural – NATURAL! – beauty.  Try to avoid a Snooki-orange Situation.  DO choose classic OR interesting jewelry – nothing in between.  Your appearance should either be so pleasant that it gives the actives the warm-fuzzies, or you should include personal details because that’s who you are, and the sisters you want will find them cool, and you more interesting.

Resume?

This will sound rather weird to you, as you’re probably 17- or 18-years old, but an ideal PNM is not only interesting, kind, and beautiful; she’s talented, as well.  When I was rushing, I felt a little weird about one of my favorite chapters because I thought my Active was more interested in my philantropic experience than in me.  However, looking back, I realize that she was just incredibly excited to have a PNM who was well-equipped to handle a very important aspect of sororities’ work.

Most sororities are not just social clubs, but also are organizations of like-minded women who complete significant service projects and compete in Inter-Sorority Sports (a Very Big Deal).  Moreover, because campus chapters are essentially self-run, it’s imperative that every chapter recruits enough leaders and intellects in order to ensure its own survival.  If your President and VPs suck for even one year, your sorority will be screwed for at least five.  The ideal PNM brings some sort of significant community-building talent to the organization, whether athletic, compassionate, organizational, political, or social.  Therefore, if you can bring one or more of these talents to the table, be sure to highlight them as you meet your Actives, who will definitely tally them in your favor.

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