No one likes sorority recruitment. Not potential new members. Not current sisters. Any girl going through recruitment feels nervous and afraid that she’ll pick the wrong house to join (or that she won’t even be invited to join a house at all). Inside the house already are recruiters running around in heels surrounded by 150 girls every single minute from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Recruitment is two weekends of stress and not leaving enough time to learn your new class schedule or how your workload looks this year. But you know what? Recruitment woes are totally worth the struggle.
Sorority life is a commitment, and the process of finding your own sorority—your home—reflects just that. Girls who go through the process get up every morning, visit multiple houses throughout the day and then carefully evaluate the whole experience. Girls who recruit do even more work than that. At the University of Iowa, sororities come back to campus a week in advance to start teaching sophomore members how to recruit effectively. You can talk to a girl all you want, but even though she seems nice, she might not be a good fit for the same sorority as you. A sorority should feel like your home away from home. A place to go when you can’t go home. A place where surrounded by friends. A comfortable place. Which is why a recruit chooses the particular house she does.
As you can imagine, getting up at 6:30 a.m. to do my hair and make-up before going to my sorority house to listen to the newer girls in my chapter learn things I’ve known for three years isn’t exactly high on my list of favorite things to do. Seniors aren’t even encouraged to do as much recruiting anyway since most won’t live with the girls we recruit at any point, and we won’t take them on as “little sisters.” The girls we recruit this year will be the “little sisters” to who are already our “grand-little sisters.” Thus, seniors just get to sit and listen. If we’re lucky, we might get to stand in for a girl who gets sick or has an emergency.
So, why do we do it? Why, after four years, do we still go through recruitment like it’s the most important thing we could possibly do? Because it is.
Every year at the beginning of recruitment practice, my chapter likes to go around and have each girl talk about their story—the story of why they decided Alpha Delta Pi was the chapter they would call home. Some girls also had a story about why they stayed with ADPi when schoolwork got rough, life got hard and quitting and have one less thing to worry about seemed easier. This year, when having this discussion, I realized I could think of at least five different stories of my own that I could tell a girl about going through recruitment.
I could tell a girl that my mother was an ADPi before me, and how having her at my initiation made the process so much more real to me. I could tell her about my cousin, one of the biggest tomboys I’d ever met, found her own sorority despite the stereotypes people had towards sororities. I could tell her how halfway through my freshman year I felt overworked, stressed out, completely sure that I wasn’t making any friends and thinking that maybe I should just give up and go home, when a senior girl from my sorority saw me in the hall and asked me if I wanted join her at the house for dinner. I could tell her how supportive my sisters were after I was diagnosed with lupus or when I heard my brother had been injured in a football game, and all I needed was a shoulder to cry on.
These are all reasons I joined my sorority and stayed. These are reasons why, even as a senior, I work during recruitment to help other girls choose their sorority whether or not it’s mine. I want all of these girls to find their home just like I did.
After all the blisters, long nights and even the boredom, I remember the girls who are about to meet the friends who will become their family, not just for the next four years, but for the rest of their lives. That makes recruitment all worth it.