Things I wish I had known at this time last year

Preparing for sorority recruitment

Tara Tran

This past weekend was filled with pastels, pearls and pretty girls as the women of Case Western Reserve University took over Thwing Center to go through the formal sorority recruitment of spring 2014. I remember all too well the bombardment of Greek letters that I really didn’t know how to pronounce, learning (or rather, struggling) to walk in heels and feeling so excited and nervous that I couldn’t sleep.

A year later and not much has changed. Aside from knowing a couple more letters of the Greek alphabet, I’m on the other side of recruitment now and I still can’t walk in heels, nor has the excitement and nervousness subdued. After going through this intense, convoluted process (which in itself deserves to be an entirely different article) and seeing it from both sides, these are the six things I wish I would have known as a potential pledge during recruitment a year ago.

1. We’re nervous too. If I could put an analogy to my whole experience, Greek life is like getting a boyfriend. Recruitment is going on dates and getting to know this prospective guy. Going through recruitment can be overwhelming, but I hope you get a little peace of mind knowing that the sorority girls are just as, if not more, nervous. We hope you like what we wear, too. We also don’t want you to think that we are awkward. And last but not least, we, too, hope that you’ll like us.

2. Love takes time. Expanding on the previous analogy, getting a bid is like a guy asking ‘Hey, wanna be my girlfriend?’ You say ‘yes’ and then you start going steady. In the same light, your relationship with your sisters will and has to grow, develop and mature. This will only happen with experiences and time. It’s really okay if you aren’t best friends with all of them immediately. It’s all right if you don’t know all their names, majors and mothers’ maiden names the day after you get your bid because trust me, a year later, you’ll know way too much about them anyway.

3. Enjoy this time while you can. I absolutely loved the pledge period. Extending this to my previous analogy, it’s like the initial phase of dating where everything is seen through rose-colored glasses. I really adored the spam of Facebook wall posts, endless gifts, coffee dates with new sisters and how everyone was infatuated with each other. Some of my best memories of being in my wonderful sorority were during this time and my only regret was that I didn’t appreciate it more. So soak it in, let it sit and really treasure this mushy gushy time.

4. You’ll get way too many insert-Greek-letters-here shirts soon enough. When I first joined my amazing sorority, I was excited beyond compare but so sad that I didn’t have more gear of my sorority that I went on crazy shopping sprees on the Internet, buying everything that had my sorority’s letters in sight. A year later and probably a couple hundred dollars poorer, I should have known that gifts from my beautiful big, hand-me-downs and large group orders would have saved me big bucks.

5. You can see other people. Some of my best girl friends from freshman year were the girls that lived on my floor and by the end of recruitment, we found ourselves in six different sororities. Post-recruitment and pledging, for me, was a honeymoon phase of bonding and getting to know my new sisters and it was always so nice to come back to my floor and talk about all our diverse yet wonderful experiences. Many are under the misconception that your sorority sisters are your only friends, but that is really not the case. No matter the letters, we’re all Greek together.

6. Lastly, you’re going to end up where you are meant to be. We’ve all heard the ‘don’t worry, everything will work out, just trust the system’ spiel given to us time and time again going through recruitment. At that time, I didn’t really understand what this little dogma meant, but after a year of being in a wonderful sorority and experiencing the beauty of Greek Life, I have come to fully accept and believe in this.

Formal recruitment is such a complex and complicated scheme that you’re really not 100 percent sure where you’re going to end up. I know many girls, some of whom get into the sorority of their first original choice and others their original third, but the one similarity that matters among them all is that they love where they are now. So whether you end up flipping a coin after the last weekend to create your list, staying in Thwing center for hours on hours until they make you leave while you’re pondering said list or accepting a bid that you didn’t think you would, be positive and remember that everything happens for a reason.

Tara Tran is a sophomore—although a kindergartener at heart—chemistry and medical anthropology major aspiring on the pre-med track. In her spare time, she likes to play, or at least attempt to play, the ukulele. She also likes to live dangerously, mostly through her daily attempts at the New York Times crossword puzzles. In pen. Thanks so much for taking the time to read her writing (you rock!).