As the spring semester quickly approaches, many of us have one thing on our mind: formal sorority recruitment. While the overall idea of wearing high heels and small talking for an entire day can seem intimidating, here are some tips and tricks to make this week worth it.
Start each morning with a strong breakfast (& lots of coffee!)
Our moms have kindly reminded us our entire lives that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” It really is, though! Having a well-rounded meal with fruits, veggies, and protein will give you the energy that you need to endure long days full of parties!
Talking all day is a lot more work than you would imagine it would be. Staying up until 2 AM messaging in your PNM Rho Chi group chat will leave you feeling exhausted in the morning. With an early wake up call and hair, make up, and an outfit to choose, mornings can seem like a rush to get out of the door. Plan ahead and make some easy breakfasts to grab and go! Some favorites are yogurt and fruit parfaits with granola, overnight oats, acai bowls, and pancakes with peanut butter for extra protein! A healthy breakfast and caffeine boost will give you the energy that you need and a mood boost for your first parties of the day.
Though you’re not typically allowed to bring purses into a party, pack snacks, a water bottle, and some mints for later in the day. You’ll have moments where your stomach is growling mid-conversation, or you’re patiently waiting to be offered a glass of water, so having this stashed away will definitely be helpful! Snacking between events will help curb your appetite, and will hold you over until your lunch or dinner break. Keep some Altoids or Tic-Tacs tucked away, too, to pop in your mouth while walking from house to house. Gum will preoccupy your mouth during a conversation, and it can be tricky finding a waste basket to toss it in before you start chatting, so stick with mints!
Dress for success.
Waking up at 7:30 AM to make it to your first party by 8:30 AM seems a little bit crazy, and pulling on those Lululemon leggings and high tops seems like it could push “business casual” with a blazer on top, but this week is not the week to push fashion boundaries! Start each day with the mindset that you’re dressing to impress. Yes, we’re all girls, and we know how tempting it is to pull on something comfy in the early morning, but putting thought into your outfits each day makes the difference. Keep your skinny jeans and sneakers for when classes start, and don’t think about pulling on a sweatshirt! Use the items that you already have in your closet to craft together outfits that will stand out! A simple black pencil skirt, tucked in blouse, blazer and ballet flats makes a for a well-rounded business casual outfit! Keep in mind that each day you are invited back to parties that the outfits become more formal, starting with business casual and working up to wearing cocktail dresses. A nice pair of (reasonable) heels and a statement necklace can dress up any outfit; these are your secret weapons!
If you’re needing some serious outfit inspo, check out Pinterest and Polyvore, there are awesome options of different clothes that have been put together already, and it often shows where the pieces can be bought! Remember that your Sigma Rho Chi leader is also there to help, so shoot them a text and a picture with some of the outfits that you’ve pulled together! They’ll be able to help guide you with how to stay in tune with the day’s theme, so you won’t be stuck in a formal dress on a business casual day.
Hair and make up can seem daunting and unnecessary if you usually go au naturel, but little bits really can enhance your features! Add some lip gloss or a touch of mascara before heading out, it will make all of the difference. For the make up masters and gurus out there, keep things simple this week! Focus on some stellar eye shadow if you have the new UD Naked palette, or rock some new pink lipstick, but stick to one focus feature a day. Crazy and fun Sephora experiments should be saved for another week! As Andy Grammer would say, “you gotta keep your head up, and you can let your hair down!” Drop that messy bun and opt for soft curls or a fun braid with a cute headband instead.
Keep a positive attitude.
By the time you’ve reached lunch break, you’ll most likely have been to five or six parties, and still have another few to go! Keep your head up and make sure to stick it through to the end of the day with a good attitude. We know that you’ve visited plenty of chapters and have small talked your heart out, but the other chapters you’ll visit still cannot wait to invite you to learn about their house! Try to keep your smile on and save your best grumpy cat impression for later. We want to know the smiling face we saw walking around this morning, not the tired and cranky version! Know that it is hard, and we’ve been doing the same thing all day as well. We’re still so happy that you’re here!
Even if a chapter is not your top pick, act like you are excited to be visiting with them! Remember, you’ve been personally invited back to attend their party, so be polite and cordial to the people that you converse with. Trash talking other chapters or talking about all of the poor things that you’ve seen happening in Greek life elsewhere is no ticket to admission! We love our Panhellenic sisters, and putting them down does not lift you up. Steer clear of gossiping about other chapter’s members and other potential new members as well.
Share a story.
Fun facts are great conversation starters, but they often feel tired and fall short of continuing on into a complete conversation. By sharing a story, you’re able to captivate and capture the full attention of whomever you are sharing your story with. Bring up something fun and interesting that you did over winter break, some of the classes you’ve taken in the past semester or will be attending this upcoming semester, or some of the things that you’re involved with on campus. This can lead to other connections with members and further the conversation to become more personal rather than stay shallow and surface level. (We’ve all been stuck in those “what are you studying?” conversations before!)
Beware of bringing up the six “taboo topics”: booze, boys, brands, Bible, ballots and bids! Blacked-out one night stands are not something that’s impressive or appealing to your potential sisters, and does not usually align with the core values you’d find in a chapter. While you’d normally be comfortable asking a friend where she got her shoes or super cute earrings, asking during parties usually signifies a price tag that associates itself with a chapter. Feel free to compliment pieces, but try to refrain asking where they were bought or how much they cost! Also keep in mind that religion and politics can be heavy topics that should be saved for sisters, not strangers! The last thing that you want to do is ask a member if you’ll be receiving a bid from their chapter. No member can guarantee you a bid, as recruitment is a mutual selection process!
There will come a time when your host asks if you have any questions regarding the chapter, sisterhood, philanthropic works, or anything sorority. This is your opportunity to speak up and lead the conversation! Some questions to keep in mind are:
– What is it like to be a member of this chapter?
– What type of philanthropic work do you and your sisters do? What charities are you involved with?
– What are some of the most memorable moments that you’ve shared with your sisters?
– What are some of the core values of this chapter?
– What makes this chapter feel like home to you?
Members of these chapters will be able to answer these questions for you, and all of these things will make for a great conversation! This can add to the things that you like about a chapter and help clarify any concerns that you may have had previously.
Be confident & be yourself!
Start each encounter with a smile and enthusiastic introduction! You’ll be picked up at the door by a member who will greet you by name and guide you inside for the event. The nerves will kick in as you’re showered with questions about where you’re from, what you study, and why you decided to rush, but have no fear! These are all answers that you know, and there should not be anything brought up that you cannot answer.
During all conversations, be genuine with your interests. If you’re passionate about ballet, bring that up during conversation! Maybe there is another member in that chapter who is a ballet teacher at a local studio. If you absolutely detest sushi, there might also be a sister who would never choose chopsticks either. A great way to show members your interests and values is by sharing what else you have been involved with in high school or during your time in college. Tell them about the great events you’ve attend through the multi-cultural organization that you joined, or the calculus exam you aced after meeting up with an academic study group! Do not feel that you have to mold yourself to “fit in” with what you think the chapter wants in a PNM! If you find yourself doing this during a party, consider that another chapter might be a better fit for you.
Though the process is tough, it can be one of the most rewarding things during your college career to join a sorority. After long days of bouncing from chapter to chapter, countless hours spent in small talk, and smiling until your mouth seems stuck in that position, it will all be worth it when you join your sisters on bid day! Remember to be yourself, have fun, and relax! Keep these few tips in mind as you head back for recruitment, and you’ll get through the week with new conversation skills, new friends, and even some new sisters in the end. Welcome home!
Bethany is the contributing editor for The Young Hopeful. She is currently a junior at the University of San Diego, and just returned from a semester abroad in Rome, Italy! She is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with a double minor in Theology and Religious Studies as well as Leadership Studies. Bethany is a proud founding sister of the California Xi chapter of Pi Beta Phi at USD, and loves her Pi Phi sisters! She is involved in a variety of ministries on campus including University Ministry, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Her faith plays a huge role in her life, and she’s grateful to attend a Catholic university with such a loving and supportive community! In her spare time, she loves to go to farmer’s markets, spend time at the beach, and do ballet. You can always find her with a Diet Coke in hand, probably re-applying her favorite NARS lipstick. Follow Bethany on Instagram, Twitter & more @bethanymok!