Sorority. As a new founding member on my campus, I’ve learned a lot about Sororities and Greek Life in general over the past semester. I love every aspect of it, but that’s because I chose the right sorority and the right time in my life to join. Before I get into the tips, let me remind you of a few things.
1. Joining a Sorority is a HUGE time commitment: I “understood” this before I got involved, but now as I go through it, I realize it’s so much more than you ever could imagine. This is a pro and con; mainly because a lot of meetings take place after classes–which at my campus happens to be at 9:10 p.m.– and you may not always WANT to go, but often you have to go.
2. BALANCE is essential: Remember you are still the same person, you still have the same “before” friends and obligations; don’t let them fall to the wayside because of your Sorority. Your friends will be discouraged and ultimately you’ll regret the whole experience. School is also a major obligation and, slowly but surely, I began to learn how to balance it. You need to set aside time during the week and weekends for homework. Just block out two hours or whatever you personally need, per day in order to have that time specifically for homework. And let everyone know that’s your homework time– shut off AIM, stop tweeting and by all means, avoid Facebook like the plague, and while you’re at it, stop texting too.
3. Have Fun!! Joining a Sorority is something that will be yours for your whole life– your name will change (most likely if you choose to get married and take your significant other’s name), your occupation may change, heck you’ll probably change your hair color at least a dozen times, but this– belonging to this organization is a lifetime privilege and you need remember that and give in as much as you want out of it.
Okay, so enough cautionary words, here’s my top five tips for successfully rushing within a greek community at any college. Many Greek communities are similar– all Sororities stand for sisterhood, volunteering and their own core values, but the way these values and activites are represented at each school may be different. These tips are general and by no means cover ever aspect of rush at every school, it’s physically impossible. So take them with a grain of salt and hopefully you’ll see that they are helpful.
Tip 1: Be Yourself
Sororities are comprised of enthusiastic individuals who give their all to volunteer projects, school activities, and enjoy spending time with their fellow “sisters.” Most likely if you are rushing, you are already interested in similar things and have a similar attitude. Don’t try to be a typical “AYZ” Sorority girl. In other words, if you want a particular Sorority (say AYZ for an example), don’t try to act like their “image” on campus, or what you believe every girl in that sorority is. Be yourself, be whoever you are before you walked into Rush; before you ever heard of a Sorority. Genuine emotions, answers and questions will give the current members a better view of who you are personally and then they will be able to accurately determine if you are a fit for their group.
Tip 2: Find the right fit
The Sorority you belong in, will fit like your favorite pair of high heels– comfortable, sturdy, and perfect for you. That’s an important lesson, particularly if you are rushing with roommates or friends. Your roommates and friends may feel more comfortable with a different sorority, and that’s okay. Maybe you are slightly different, or what slightly different things. You can still be friends even if you aren’t “sisters.”
Tip 3: Be Appropriate
I know for my campus’ rush in particular there is a dress code. In my Sorority there is a dress code; in life there is a dress code. Get over it. I find so many of my non-Sorority friends are discouraged by the fact that I wear business dress to my meetings and other functions– to me that’s the way of the world. If you are freshman, you may not (as I had not) have grown into your fashion style just yet. But have no fear; Forever 21, Express, Macy’s and a variety of other stores have the perfect business clothes for reasonable prices. Your best bet for rush season is to buy:
Black Dress Pants- these can be worn every day, quite honestly, and then washed in your dorm. I found a great pair at Marshalls by my campus for $20. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a small amount of money to drop for this activity and you know what- you’ll probably be able to wear them for so many other things that they will more than pay for themselves in the end.
Plain black pumps- these are the easiest to match with outfits, and always have a conservative look. I’d look for a kitten heel as many functions during rush require you to be on your feet for extended periods of time. Now, if you have a favorite pair of funky heels, wear them– it’s about being yourself remember, so express yourself, but do it in a professional way.
Button Down Tops- again, something you can wear over and over again. Buy at least a black and white one.
Cardigans- I’d buy three or four in varying colors to match with the whole ensemble. If your rush lasts four days like mine does, make sure you have a shirt and cardigan combo for each day– it makes things really easy, particularly since you’ll probably be so busy with rush you won’t want to do laundry.
Tip 4: Jewelry
While we all like to rock bib necklaces and funky pieces, rush may not be the best time to layer on the jewelry. Take a hint from Coco Chanel and go for classy and fabulous. All Sorority women love that term, and honestly more WOMEN in general should love that term. Being classy is something you can never have taken away from you– it’s wonderful to hear that other people think you are classy, as that’s a great reputation to have. Start the new decade off as a classy, fabulous woman and you’ll be on the right path for the rest of your life. If you have any doubts, check out How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World by Jordan Christy or The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons From the World’s Most Elegant Woman by Karen Karbo. These two books help you sort out what’s classy and what’s not, and I’ve found them to be great resources. Of course some of these tips are overrated– I still love a good pair of lime green heels, but that’s more party at the club than rush party. They show you how to distinguish one situation from another and the best way to put your best self forward, always.
Tip 5: Finances
As I was told during my rush, “along with sisterhood and fun, comes financial responsibility” and that’s something important to remember throughout the process. Dues, money paid each semester to your chapter (the group representing the national sorority at your school), are often pricey, but they often include many activities. Snacks during midterms, transportation to events, t-shirts, and other activities (which vary by school) are all paid for by dues. They are an important part of Sorority life and finances are an important part of life in general. If your parents won’t pay, then you need to figure out a plan and many times organizations will assist with payment plans and other arrangements. Basically this tip is to remind you not to get caught up in the dollar signs; Sorority life gives you back so much that in the end the financial part isn’t really a big deal.
Check out the National Pan-hellenic Web site in order to learn a little bit more about Sororities in general. Also be sure to learn your Greek “Alpha, Beta, Gamma’s,” or the Greek alphabet as that’s a vital part of Sorority life. You can download the image I have attached here to learn it, or view this video:
Good luck and have fun! It’s the chance of a lifetime and will give you more memories and friendships than you could ever image. The women who stand by you if you do indeed get a bid and accept it will be the women who stand by you at your wedding, your children’s birthdays, your birthdays and ever other important life event in your future. Sisters, by blood or bond, are irreplaceable and I for one could not live without mine.