The Real Deal
Getting Packed and Moving In
The summer is ending and itís time to get everything ready to move up to your new dorm room. How exciting! Proper packing will make sure that unpacking goes smoothly. Wash or dry-clean all of the clothes you will be taking with you to college. Itís not a bad idea to plan out what you will wear those first few move-in days before rush starts. Even though they havenít met you yet, at many places you will be judged long before rush begins. Avoid any negative repercussions by making sure you stay casual, but cute, on the days before rush. Pack your clothes in suitcases with tissue paper between each item of clothing. This will help prevent wrinkles. If something wrinkles especially easily, you might consider taking it in a hanging garment bag. Making a checklist of all the things you plan to take with you long in advance will help you prevent forgetting things. Once you are all packed up, indulge your parents, a few extra hugs or tears are to be expected.
Next, you get to unpack. Try and organize your belongings so that everything is easy to find. If anything got wrinkled on your trip, iron it in advance so that you donít get in a time jam when you need it. Set your rush clothes somewhere special so that they donít get mixed up. Look over your checklist once more to make sure everything got there ok. Once itís all put away, have some fun! Get to know your roommate, explore the campus, visit the bookstore, and party with the people on your hall. Just remember, anytime you leave your room, your rushers are watching you. Donít get sloppy drunk and wonder around campus. Donít be obnoxiously loud. Dress nicely, fix your hair and makeup, and put on jewelry. Most schools also have rules against you being on the area of campus where the fraternity and sorority houses are located during this time. Rules like that are specifically to protect potential new members like you from hearing gossip about the different houses that is generally untrue and impairs your judgment. Attend any pre-rush meetings and prepare for your classes.
Itís Finally Here!
Youíve been preparing for weeks and now the time is finally here, itís the
first day of recruitment. Anything that can be done the night before, do it
then. If you have time, you might want to try exercising for a little while
before you start getting ready. Exercise helps calm the nerves and will
give you more energy throughout the day. If your recruitment starts early
in the morning, skip the cardio workout, but you might try a few yoga
poses or some stretching just to calm your nerves. Plan out how much
time you are going to need to get ready. Then add half an hour. Thatís
when you should start getting ready.
For every day of rush, your purse should serve as a mini survival kit. Make sure that you have the tools for just about any emergency. Here is what I recommend keeping in there: tampons, sunscreen, hairbrush, small mirror, stain-removing toweletes, lip gloss, concealer, deodorant, tissues, powder, rice paper (to absorb oily skin), breath mints, band aids, clear nail polish, aspirin, floss, and safety pins. Also bring a small notepad and pen. Things to leave at home are your cell phone, watch, and large amounts of money.
Get to the area where you are meeting your recruitment counselor at least 10 minutes early. Meet the girls in your rush group. Take a deep breath; you are more prepared than any of these girls. Once you start going to parties, just relax and have a good time. Be yourself, and try to keep the conversation moving. Between parties, try not to talk about your impressions of the different houses with your rush group. Your impressions are yours, their impressions are theirs. Trading opinions doesnít do anyone any good. Have a good time, and rush your heart out.
How do I choose?
Everyday when the parties are over it will be time to go back to your recruitment counselor and rank the chapters that you saw that day. This can be an arduous process since, especially during the first few rounds, many chapters may be difficult to remember or seem very similar to other chapters. This is completely normal. One good way to prevent this from happening is to keep a small notepad and pen with you in your purse when you go to the parties. Between parties or during breaks, jot down a few notes about each chapter you visited. This could include who you talked to, what you talked about, anything you particularly liked or disliked, etc. Mainly it should just be something to help jog your memory at the end of the day. If you donít have time to write actual notes, then try to at least give each chapter a rough score on a 1-10 scale. This will be a real help if you canít remember whoís who at the end of the day.
Next, you might be wondering what type of things you should be looking for when you are at each chapter to help you make your decision. During rush, everyone will tell you that they have the strongest sisterhood of any chapter even if this isnít 100% true. You have to look at the more subtle things to see if a house is really what you are looking for. First of all, does conversation come easily between you and the girls you meet or does it seem strained? Obviously, you canít rule a whole house out if you and one rusher had some moments of silence, but if you have trouble talking to every girl you meet at a certain chapter then it may not be for you. Secondly, do you feel like they are being honest with you? Sisterhood is based on friendship, which is based on trust. You have to be able to believe what a chapter is telling you for you to consider joining that chapter. Furthermore, how do the sisters treat each other? Do they act like they are having a good time and are happy to be there or do you see sisters giving each other dirty looks and forgetting each otherís names? All of these things are important considerations when deciding which chapter is best for you.
If, even after all this you have a tough time making decisions, go with your gut impulse. When I went through recruitment I remember the University Greek Advisor telling us that she had been there for many years, and she had seen very few situations where the system didnít work out the way it was supposed to in the end. Just go with your heart, disregard what anyone else tells you, and make the best decision for you. Base your decisions purely on whom you meet and what you see during recruitment and you will certainly make the right choice for you.
After preference comes the hardest decision yet. Who do you rank #1? If this is a hard decision for you, think back to the preference ceremonies. Could you see yourself in the activeís role in the ceremony next year? Did the other PNMís at that preference party seem like girls you would want to call your sister? Your pref card also brings up one radical option. In a move to hopefully prevent getting crosscut, some girls decide to do what is called ďsuicide bidding.Ē This is when you only put one house down on your bid card even though you went to more than one preference party. Most college panhellenics strongly discourage this. The idea behind it is that if you only list one house, you may move up quicker if you are on your first choice houseís 2nd list if they donít have to wait to see where you fall on someone elseís list. Really this should only be done if you are absolutely sure you would only be happy in one house. Suicide bidding can usually result in penalties such as being ineligible for COB if you are not matched with a house or not being offered the possibility of being bid as a quota plus. Itís a risky move, and in many cases, not a very smart one. Regardless of how you may feel on pref night, it is almost always in your best interest to list all chapters you attended pref parties for on your pref card. Itís just a smart move.