As mentioned in previous Greek Life posts, I have covered all possible roles in sorority recruitment. After all the positive responses from my earlier posts as a potential new member (PNM) and a sorority member, I thought I should also touch on my experiences during my last year of sorority recruitment. Senior year, instead of singing alongside my sorority sisters, I applied to be a recruitment counselor. This is an upperclassmen sorority member who is assigned to look after a certain number of sophomore PNMs to help them through their recruitment process. Throughout this week I was completely disaffiliated from my sorority. This meant that I could not wear my letter shirts, be seen with more than three women in my sorority in a public setting, and I could not divulge my affiliation to my group of sophomores. Becoming a recruitment counselor was a very interesting role and looking back on this experience I learned several lessons that apply to more than just that one-week.
So here it goes, the 5 lessons I learned about life as a Sorority Recruitment Counselor…
1. Everything always has a funny way of working out
Over the years I have come to realize that everything always has a strange way of working out, even if you do not realize it at first. There have been countless times where I was very upset over something that ended up okay in the end. Often times we become so fixated on one idea that we fail to recognize the other possibilities. In sorority recruitment this lesson is very important. Most PNMs go into recruitment with their hearts set on one sorority. In many cases, they do not end up in that sorority, but that is not to say that their new sisters and sorority are not right for them. I have had tons of friends end up in sororities that they were not expecting, but they gave it a chance and were open to this new sisterhood. Ultimately they have told me that looking back they cannot imagine being anywhere else. In the end, like most things in life, things have a way of working out!
2. Give it a try…all the way through
One piece of advice that I gave my group of sophomores throughout the entire week is to stick it out and see what happens. You have to be in the game to win it. I unfortunately had a few girls who chose to stop the recruitment process before bid day. I understand that in these cases it is a personal decision to leave, but I think it is so important to be open to the possibilities and go through the entire week of recruitment. This is a life lesson that is applicable to every new adventure we try. In a world where instant gratification is a part of everyday life it is unsurprising that people give up easily. Whenever I take on a new challenge, I work on it all the way through or to the point where I truly believe my goals have been reached. I hate to leave things unfinished. Giving up before a project or process is over will make you look back and wonder, “What would have happened if I stuck it out a little longer…?”
3. It is okay to be upset
Crying is okay. No really, it is okay to be upset sometimes. I am a huge fan of you have a little pity party, let out your emotions, then take a deep breath and refocus. Sometimes we just need a moment to let out our feelings, and that is okay, we are only human after all. Part of the role of a recruitment counselor is to speak with the PNMs after they found out what sororities they were returning to that afternoon. Many girls were upset that they were not asked back to their top choice. I always offered up time to speak with me behind a curtain away from the rest of the room to let the girls talk to me or honestly to just let them cry for a moment. I am not going to lie; this was a difficult moment. When I had girls crying to me I took it on myself. One of my friends asked me if it was hard not being with my sorority sisters during the week, but I told her that these 16 sophomores were my priority, I felt like a mother hen. During those moments when I had girls crying to me, I reminded them that it is okay to be upset. You have every right to be hurt or confused, but at the same time they had so many other wonderful sororities that were excited to have them back. I think it is important in life to remind ourselves that we are allowed to show emotion and be upset with an outcome. However, it is how we move forward that really shows our character and our willingness to give things a chance.
Part of my role as a recruitment counselor was to speak with each girl before she cast her votes of sorority ranking after each day of recruitment. Through this process I took on somewhat of a therapist role. I listened to their thoughts and feelings and tried to help them come to their own conclusions. I did not attempt to sway a single girl. Instead, I noticed that by speaking out loud to me about how their day went each girl realized what she truly felt/wanted. Lately, I have noticed that listening seems to be a dying art. Everyone is so ready to talk to you about themselves that they hardly listen when you talk; instead they are waiting for a pause so that they can bring themselves up again. I love to talk, but I also understand the value in silence. Listening to each PNM gave them time to express themselves and ask for advice or just to simply verify their choices. I think that throughout life it is fundamental to remember the importance of sitting back and listening. After all we have two ears and one mouth for a reason.
5. You are always a mentor
This is a lesson that took me a little longer to truly recognize. I understood that during this week my group of PNMs would be looking to me for advice, a shoulder to cry on, or just an ear to listen to them. However, it was after this experience that I realized how much the younger girls looked up to me, especially those that joined my sorority. From my group of 16 PNMs, 4 of them ended up joining Delta Gamma. I was the first person that they knew in DG and became a role model for them. Even if you do not realize it, there is always someone looking up to you. As an upperclassmen sorority member it made sense that someone may look up to me, but I think that this lesson expands so much further than sorority recruitment. If you ever feel like giving up, remember that there is a little girl watching you who wants to be like you, so don’t disappoint her!
This week as a recruitment counselor made me reflect on so much more than sorority life. Lessons come from all different types of experience, this week of recruitment craziness included!