Before we start, it’s important for you to understand that my school isn’t your typical school when it comes to Greek Life. I go to a private Christian School in Nashville that only has four Panhellenic sororities and one fraternity.
Our school is pretty strict on Greek Life, so the organizations aren’t allowed to have houses and any sort of alcohol is a big no-no (like getting kicked off campus kind of no-no). But those caveats aside, they still follow pretty much the same rush week procedure.
I went through recruitment three years ago, and last year I was the Chief Recruiting Officer for my organization, so I know one or two things about how the process works.
I’ve never really thought of myself as the sorority type: I’m more introverted than extroverted, I much prefer a night of Netflix and board games to parties, and I’m not super comfortable in large groups of people, but I decided to go through recruitment as a way to make friends and meet more people.
“remember to take it easy and keep an open mind during rush week.”
So, I want to give you some tips for Rush week and help prepare you for what to expect, whether you’re here reading to prepare for recruitment, if you’re considering joining a sorority, if you want to confirm your suspicions that sororities are cults, or if you’re just in the depths of the internet reading anything you come across.
1. Don’t Try to Be Someone You’re Not
Recruitment is a time to meet people that you might want to be friends with and to find an organization that you would feel comfortable in and enjoy being a member of.
If you go into recruitment with the expectation that you need to get into the “top” sorority or that you have to present yourself like someone who is Insta-perfect, you’re probably not going to find the group of people that you fit in with.
What is your ultimate goal of joining this organization? If it’s to hopefully make lasting friendships, then make sure you’re your authentic self from the beginning.
2. You’re Going to Have Awkward Conversations and You’re Going to Have Awesome Conversations
Going off of that last point, if you’re being authentic, you’re going to encounter people that you just don’t click with. But you’re also going to have some exciting, fun conversations and connect over the most random things.
Having an awkward conversation isn’t the end of the world, it doesn’t necessarily mean that sorority is going to cut you, but you should pay attention to it. If awkward silence makes you squirm (like me), have some generic questions prepared that you can ask anyone.
“you’re going to be smiling a lot and having a lot of small talk.”
Remember, this is a time for them to get to know you as well as for you to get to know them. If a conversation falls flat, ask her why she chose this school, what her favorite restaurant in the area is, or what her favorite memory in her sorority is.
Maybe there was just an awkward moment in this conversation and you can save it – or maybe it’s just awkward.
3. Your Face Is Going to Hurt and You’re Going to Be Exhausted
Small talk is exhausting, and recruitment is essentially an endless string of first impressions, so you’re going to be smiling a lot and having a lot of small talk. If your naturally more introverted like I am, you might find this exhausting – actually, everyone finds this exhausting.
But most importantly, remember that the girl that you’re talking to is also wiped out. Recruitment usually goes late into the night, and when you’re on the recruiting side, you usually don’t even get breaks in between each new group of girls.
It’s totally okay to just tell the person that you’re talking to that you’re tired – don’t make this the focus of the conversation, but it’s more than acceptable to talk about.
A lot of times it’s a relief for both people, you can relax for a second and so can she. When I was recruiting it was like a breath of fresh air when I’d ask a girl how she was doing and she responded with “I’m exhausted!” Rush week is incredibly tiring, and you can absolutely find camaraderie in that.
4. The Sorority Members Aren’t Going to Sit Around and Judge You
Recruitment is honestly a really strange process. You rank your sororities in order of preference each day, and the sororities have to decide which potential new members are invited back each day.
“They’re just excited to get to know you, they’re not looking at you with some mental checklist.”
It’s really easy to worry in a situation like this. What if they didn’t like what I was wearing? What if they thought I was weird? Are they saying bad things about me?
Most sororities have incredible confidential voting or ranking processes and usually, members aren’t even allowed to talk to each other about what they think about individual people. Also, remember, the members are unbelievably excited to meet all the girls going through Rush.
If anything, the conversations that happen after the rounds of recruitment are about how interesting and cool everyone was. Take a deep breath, relax, and don’t worry. They’re just excited to get to know you, they’re not looking at you with some mental checklist of all the things you could possibly do wrong.
5. It May Not Go as Planned, and That’s Okay
Recruitment doesn’t always work out perfectly. Each organization has quotas they need to fill, and specific requirements to meet, and sometimes the numbers don’t always work out the way everyone wants.
The year that I ran recruitment, I remember getting our lists back and being bummed that we didn’t have enough room for some of the girls that we thought were really awesome. A lot of times, these decisions are made by an algorithm on a computer system too, so there isn’t a lot of control over it.
If you don’t get invited back to a sorority you really wanted, don’t panic. Yes, you might be sad, but it’s worth still giving it a try. Maybe when you go back to the others you connect with someone that you hadn’t met the first day.
But maybe you don’t really find your fit – that’s okay too. There’s no rule that says you can’t drop out of recruitment and try again.
“It’s okay to be nervous, but don’t stress yourself out.”
That sounds horrifying but do your research first. Some schools will have a Fall and a Spring recruitment. Maybe you just need to try again in a couple months. This is completely normal and not the end of the world.
Or perhaps you do decide to stick it out through recruitment. Maybe you get a bid from the sorority that you didn’t necessarily dislike but wasn’t your favorite. Ultimately, it’s your decision and your gut feeling, but maybe you give it a try and you end up finding your community within that organization.
The entire process and premise of Rush week is strange, and it’s kind of an artificial environment. You only end up talking to ten to twenty girls from each sorority, and some organizations have over a hundred members.
Now, Go Crush Rush Week!
If you take anything away from this advice, remember to take it easy and keep an open mind. It’s okay to be nervous, but don’t stress yourself out.
Ultimately, during recruitment, your goal is to find the organization that feels the most comfortable for you and on the other side, each organization is deciding whether or not they also think you would fit in well.
You might end up finding a group of people that you make lifelong friends with, but at least you’ll have met a lot of people that you’ll now know on campus.
I’ve been in my sorority for three years now, and it’s not always perfect, because nothing in life is, but I’ve had the opportunity to meet people that I would never have otherwise, and I know that I have made friends that I will know and cherish for years to come.
Written by: Christiana Duerksen
Christiana Duerksen is a senior at Belmont University graduating in December 2018 with a double major in Corporate Communication and Psychology.
Eventually, she wants to study Industrial-Organizational Psychology for graduate school, but her immediate plans are to take a gap year and move to China to teach English and start a travel YouTube channel.
She loves photography, reading science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian novels, and absolutely cannot wait for the next season of Game of Thrones.