Tight dresses, uncomfortable shoes, awkward conversations and mean girls. Those things came to mind when I initially thought of sorority recruitment. As a freshman going through the recruitment process, I felt terrified. I feared that everything I said, wore and ate would be wrong. Well, most of my information came from the ABC Family show, Greek, so I guess you could say I wasn’t really basing my knowledge off anything too concrete.
But I was right about one thing—the uncomfortable shoes. Freshman year, the nerves were all I could think about leading up to recruitment. The conversations flowed, the dresses looked okay and the girls were actually really nice. Everyone made me comfortable, the conversations mostly felt totally natural. And the end turned out great—I joined a sorority and met my best friends. But I still dreaded what would come a year later.
Sitting in my room during winter break of sophomore year, I felt miserable. I was packing my bag to go back to school 10 full days early. Ten days where I could be at home. I folded my many dresses, stacked my heels and packed away my makeup. No one told me what to expect. All I knew was that I needed to wake up early every morning and talk to countless girls every day.
The first few days weren’t bad. The freshmen hadn’t arrived yet, so it was just me and my sorority sisters. Those days brought me new friends and a newfound understanding of what recruitment really means. We don’t talk to girls to judge them. We don’t look at their clothes, their makeup or the way they eat their food. Recruitment has the purpose of making connections with people and creating a comfortable environment.
The freshmen arrived and recruitment officially began. I woke up early, did my hair, ate breakfast with my friends, put on my outfit and got ready for the day. As I talked to the first girl, my nerves came alive. I hoped that whatever I said sounded okay. As much as I knew she was trying her best, I felt as though I had to impress her, too, but make it look completely effortless at the same time. As the hours and days went on, I felt myself calm down. The nerves went away, the conversation became more fluid—and as much as I never thought I would admit it, it was actually kind of fun.
A few days later, after talking to dozens of different girls, we had a new pledge class. I met amazing girls and found more best friends.
Aside from my newfound friends, I also learned a few lessons throughout the way.
The confidence I gained from a couple 10 minute conversations shocked me. The fluidity and easiness that those talks taught me were amazing. The girls that I talked to were once strangers, and after talking to them for such a short amount of time, I was able to find a commonality. We made each other feel comfortable talking to one another and created a bond—a bond that can be created with anyone, but I had not known that was possible before.
I found myself on an internship interview a few weeks later. As I was talking to the HR rep interviewing me, I realized I was using many of the skills I learned for recruitment. Not only was I able to talk to a stranger, but I was able to find commonalities with this person. Not only was the conversation flowing, but I also found that I was leading it. Recruitment made me comfortable enough to do that.
I often look back at that winter break. The nerves, the dread and the shoes. While some say sororities seem dumb, I learned one of the best life skills that I will keep forever. The judgment that many people have of sororities from the movies and TV was completely proven wrong to me. While there are social events and sisterhood events, the skills that are taught during recruitment make being in a sorority so much more than just making lifelong friends.
Through all of the long and tiring days, the hard conversations and the easy ones, the uncomfortable outfits, a silver lining to recruitment shows. Not only do you learn how to talk to people and make a tiring long day doable, but you also learn so much about yourself.