Updated: Sep 19, 2020
I couldn’t get out of my head. I continued to question whether I would fit in, if I was wearing the appropriate clothes, and the toughest question… was I a “sorority” girl? But after undergoing two sorority recruitment experiences, I quickly learned that all of these questions do not really matter. The right house will except you for all your weird quirks, bad hair days, and help you to grow into the person you were meant to be. You never should have to be anything but yourself and most importantly, ANYONE can be a sorority girl.
What was my experience?
Once entering into my first year of college at the University of Nebraska, I felt enthusiastic about the recruitment experience ahead. Given I was an out of state student, I was aware that it would be the best way for me to find friends and get involved in the community. This university was known for their outstanding greek life, holding more than sixteen Panhellenic chapters and nearly thirty percent of the undergraduate population. In the first two days of recruitment, I visited each of these houses, leaving me with five favorites including an important house named Alpha Xi Delta. After each day, houses would dissipate from my schedule, but AXiD (Alpha Xi Delta) would remain til the final day. I began to picture myself in this chapter, falling in love with everything from the philanthropy to the bond between each sister. My confidence in this chapter grew when once again greeted by a young women I had connected with on the first day. In growing stronger in our friendship, I started to believe she may be my future big and felt in that moment this was the chapter for me. Just before heading out the door and saying goodbye, this woman had accidently said, “see you tomorrow,” a sentence she could no longer take back, that altered my decision making from this point on. In selecting this house as my top choice that evening, I wallowed in my conviction, stepping into the risk of Suicide Rushing, which means to only allow a single chapter to offer you a bid. I figured I had it in the bag, that my new friends in this chapter would wait for me to run to the house that following morning (bid day), and my card would only read Alpha Xi Delta. However, a new reality slapped me in the face once I received a call at 11:35pm the evening before bid day. A Panhellenic Recruitment officer spoke, “Hello Macayla Cline, we are sorry to inform you that you did not receive a bid from any of the houses. We felt a need to give you a heads up so you do not attend bid day without a card to open. We hope you will consider spring recruitment.”
My college experience derailed. My confidence was down the drain, pushing me as far as dying my hair black and falling into a depression. I struggled to find friends and eventually decided to transfer back to my home state. Making the decision to rush a second time at my new school, Colorado State University, a year later left me completely vulnerable and scared. Afraid of being rejected a second time, the only idea convincing me to try again was that I could regret it if I don’t. This round, I decided to take it way more seriously. I paid attention to the chapter values, the financial responsibilities, and the reputation within the community. I needed to have trust in any chapter I considered, feeling the “bond” between the sisters should not determine my now reserved decision making. I wore my best clothes, held conversations with many girls, and by the end of the day considered all aspects before ranking the houses. To my surprise, the houses I was interested in had wanted me back. However, I knew not to fall in love too quickly. On day two and three I was harder on my judgement of the houses, making aware every important aspect of my character and history to the houses. I was not going to be rejected a second time without at least giving it my best shot. On the final evening I was torn between two houses, Pi Beta Phi and Kappa Kappa Gamma. Although KKG was known to be well rounded and respected, I was gravitated toward the contagious atmosphere of Pi Beta Phi. It was preference night at Pi Phi and I couldn’t feel more comfortable. The girls shared all of my same interests, were goofy and adventurous. When we were asked to place roses into a vase, one girl had hit her head on a chandelier while another tripped on a chord. The fun and laughter we were sharing filled me with hope, swaying me more towards choosing Pi Beta Phi. But when I walked out the door, the woman who was escorting me had accidentally said, “See you tomorrow.”
I was not going to make the same mistake again and was now doubted my judgement. Following this, I was welcomed into Kappa Kappa Gamma where I was able to connect on a more serious yet personal level. The women surrounding me seemed confident and kind hearted. I couldn’t help but feel safe an secure in my decision to go Kappa, respecting the girls abilities to welcome me into their home while also not leading me on.
My experience was anything but perfect. However, Kappa Kappa Gamma at CSU could not be a better fit for me and I never would have been able to see that during the recruitment process. In finding the right friends, moving into the house, and adopting the chapter values as my own, Kappa has not only given me everything I want, but everything I need in a chapter. Looking back, I did not perceive KKG the way it truly is, which is what makes it so special. In sitting amongst 112 beautiful and strong women during recruitment, I was intimidated. But in joining and building deeper relationships with each of the girls, I have learned that we are all a mess, we are all courageous. The hidden gems would not be special if everyone could see it. Only those who have the “key” get to experience all Kappa has to offer.
What makes me a sorority girl?
I do not believe in any specific “type” of person molding into a sorority lifestyle better than another. Whether you are sorority material or not depends on your willingness to build friendships with women who share your same values, be accountable in upholding these values, and to grow into the person you want to be. This is what defines a sorority and unfortunately is often outshined by the materialistic stereotype reflecting that of House Bunny or Legally Blonde. Being in a sorority is FAR from these phenomenons. In my chapter, we welcome women of all backgrounds and characters. No girl is exactly like another. When entering into the Sorority or Fraternity recruitment experience, rather than questioning whether the shoe fits, ask yourself if you are capable of entering lifelong friendships with women who are like an unlike you. Figure out what your morals and beliefs are and learn if a sorority could help you uphold those values. The most important advice I could give is to give it a try and learn more about what it means to be in a sorority/ fraternity before counting yourself out. The experience could offer more opportunities and joy than a short minded attitude could.
What should I know before going through recruitment?
Keep an open mind. Each chapter has something special to offer and could surprise you. It is very easy to get caught up in the outside opinions or reputations of the chapters. Trust me, girls talk… especially in the lines outside of the house you are about to walk into. However, the girl standing behind you could be looking for the wrong things in a chapter, not share your values, and, well, suck as a human. You have to listen to your own judgment and allow it to be an independent process.
Put your best foot forward always. Even if you are entering into a house that you are less interested in, you should never be less than your best. You are being WELCOMED into their home and despite your personal opinions, you are not entitled to that invitation. You want each chapter to get to know you as you are so they can best decide whether you would fit into their chapter not. This does not mean you are being fake. I am suggesting that you engage in your conversations, ask questions, and maintain a positive attitude.
Consider all aspects of the chapters. It is easy to get caught up in one attractive aspect of the chapter (ie: The girls are pretty, the house is beautiful, I am a legacy to this chapter). However, you can not define a chapter by its labels. In finding a house that is best, ask the tougher questions (ie: do you offer scholarships, what is the live in requirement, what do you love most about this chapter). Finding a chapter that is best for you requires you to not only take a hard look into the chapter, but into yourself. There is more to the sorority experience than the pillow fights and late night movie nights.
Do not be intimidated by recruitment. Your feet will be soar. Your energy will be drained. You will be asked to tune into your judgement, an ability I find rather overwhelming. And on preference night when you walk into a sea of women wearing all black singing the dated music, it’s going to feel kinda culty. However, this does not reflect the experience of being in a sorority. Recruitment often turns people away, but joining a sorority would not be special if it wasn’t challenging to earn.
Trust the process. By the end of the experience, most people say the house they joined was not their top choice. Why is this? The recruitment process is very thorough and is successful in placing women where they actually belong versus where they think they belong. I could not tell you how, but it works. In trusting the process, I have found a house best suited for me, admits the total of 24 houses I considered and was welcomed into.
A sorority experience, above all, most be your own and stand as a celebration of who you are/who you wanna be. In being a part of a sorority, connections are made and meals are prepared, but most importantly lifelong friendships are found.