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SWTXBelle 08-19-2011 07:05 PM

I didn't get my first choice - it gets better.
It seems that many pnms and their mothers (!) struggle with not getting invited back/bids from their first choice sororities. I thought maybe it would help if those of us who have experienced this and come out on the other side shared our stories.

I remember well the shock of being released from my first choice sorority before skit day. Here I was, a sophomore with a proven academic record, stellar extracurricular activities, relatively attractive AND a legacy - and I wasn't invited back. It might have been the fact that when asked how I was I burst out in tears because I had just received word my aunt had died. It probably was the fact I was a sophomore. Either way, I was stunned. Because I had been focusing with laser-like intensity on that one chapter I had not even given the others much attention. I was going to be a member of ____________, so really, why worry much about the others.

Luckily, I still had invitations to the other sororities. I had two choices for pref, and was firmly convinced I would get my first choice. (See above for rationale). I was singing my first choice sorority's song as my Rho Chi handed me my bid - to my second choice. HOW could this have happened? I thought we had a great conversation at the pref ceremony - why didn't I get my first choice? What to do? Well, I knew that as a sophomore the odds of me getting a bid next go-round were slim to none. I also intuited that Gamma Phi really, really wanted me. It's nice to be wanted, so I went to the house.

The women were SO excited to see me. My pledge sisters were great, and I decided I would be the best Gamma Phi since Helen M. Dodge. I threw myself into sorority activities, spent time with my pledge sisters, volunteered and before I knew it I couldn't imagine myself as anything BUT a Gamma Phi. I married while still in college, so was an alumna, but I served as an advisor and continued to be active.

It's 26 years since I was initiated. I am president of an alumnae chapter and also serving as president of the local alumnae panhellenic. Gamma Phi took a chance on me, and in doing so gave me a priceless opportunity. I am so glad I took a chance on my second choice.

Please - please - pnms and moms: don't close the door on a fabulous opportunity because you had initially seen yourself as an XYZ and they have cut you. As long as you have an invitation you have the chance to be a part of something GREAT. There's not a one of the 26 NPC groups that doesn't have a network of incredible women, leadership training, and a strong sisterhood. No chapter will be perfect - but every chapter offers you the opportunity to help it develop into something even better than it now is, and for you to affect positive change - for both you and your chapter.

tigerfanx5 08-19-2011 07:13 PM

YAY!!! Like, like! I hope that the moms, and pnms out here read your post!

TexasA&Mmom 08-19-2011 07:21 PM

You are inspiring!
What a great post. Your advice is an important read during recruitment season. Thanks for sharing!

MizzouMom 08-19-2011 07:23 PM

My daughter needs to read your story before bid day tomorrow! Thanks for sharing!!!

Tulip86 08-19-2011 07:26 PM

Great post, and really something all PNMs should take to heart.

JayhawkAOII 08-19-2011 07:28 PM

It does get better.

I rushed in 1989 at the University of Kansas. After the first round of parties, I was only invited back to two chapters - AOII and AGD. I liked both, and I was a legacy at AOII, so I was happy. I was cut from rush completely after round 2. I was crushed. My sister was very angry. The chapter advisor called her very late at night, and told her that I was cut for grades. Now, my grades were ok, not fantastic, but above the panhellenic cut-off. I had good activities - I had spent the summer studying in the Soviet Union and I showed horses. When the Rho Chi knocked on my door the next morning, I was heartbroken. My sister called me not long after, told me she was sorry that her sisters did that to me, and said it would be ok. My mom sent me flowers.
On bid day, as everyone else was getting ready to go pick up their bids, I got a phone call in my dorm room. It was AOII asking if I wanted to accept a bid from them. I said yes immediately, but then it hit me. I wasn't good enough for you to go all the way through rush, but because you didn't get enough members, now I am? The pledge period was very hard for me. Suddenly, this chapter that I was in love with during the first days of rush was very different, and I wasn't sure if I liked it. I considered depledging, but thankfully, I had a pledge mom and fellow pledge sisters who really wanted me there.
I stuck it out. It got better - I served as an officer, went to convention, and eventually became a chapter advisor. I am not currently involved as an alumna due to life commitments, but I may be again at some point.
If you've made it this far, congratulations! ;) Life doesn't end because you don't get your top choice or you don't get any choice. Things happen for a reason. I have amazing sisters who do amazing things, and if fate hadn't intervened, I would not have gotten to know them.

ellebud 08-19-2011 07:31 PM

To add a personal note: When I went through rush (yes rush, back in the day it was RUSH) I had the most amazing conversation with two different girls at two different houses. Dropped...(ok, one house kept me for the second round...unheard of for a Jewish girl back then) Thud........I was horrified. I was upset and horrified (when I realized why I wasn't invited back for a few minutes.

I joined my sorority. Did I "know"? Did I have the "feeling" Was it a "fit"? Not a clue. As a just turned sixteen year old, how could I know? forward......LOTS of years. Some of my best friends are my sisters. Not all....some. I'm going to a wedding in a few weeks.......six sorority sisters (and spouses), their children (very adult)........Did I know this when I opened my envelope?

No. Wouldn't have called this one. But boy, am I glad I opened my envelope and my heart.

wavycutchip 08-19-2011 07:43 PM

Fabulous idea, SWTXBelle! Read my story here: I agree, it does get better!

Eightisgreat 08-19-2011 08:07 PM

Thank you all for your kind words. This thread had a tone of compassion not often seen on a typical day. Very timely and heartfelt advice.

SWTXBelle 08-20-2011 03:57 PM

The whole "you'll end up where you belong" thing is true - it's just that sometimes where you THINK you belong is not where you actually DO.

scrapcat 08-20-2011 04:13 PM

Great story. I remember my daughter telling me that when she opened her bid she'd be happy anywhere. That's what the whole thing is about. Being part of the greek system. Sometimes I think the smaller houses have girls with a lot more spunk and drive. I also think they have a smaller, tighter knit community (feel free to disagree if you're from a house of 200 and feel close to everyone!)

KeygirlCt 08-20-2011 09:56 PM

I had chills reading these stories!!! I love the quote " I opened my bid and I opened my heart.". I too have been in weddings of my kkg sisters, and am the proud godmother to my roommates daughter! Who knew??

psusue 08-21-2011 12:11 AM

So to make my story long and sweet (sorry, can't do short apparently), once, during informal recruitment, I had a first choice sorority. They did not bid me and I was really, really bummed about it. I loved their philanthropy, their colors, their symbol, all the women I met, the whole shebang. I wondered why they didn't like me and thought that maybe I'd never get to be in a sorority.

Flash forward a semester and I started hanging out with Sigma at informal events. I had friends in the chapter, but not close ones, though I did like the women I was meeting and wanted to give them a chance. Well they also wanted to take a chance on me and gave me a bid. For the whole first semester I wasn't really sure if I'd done the right thing. I loved initiation though, and was looking forward to starting a chair position in the spring. That next fall (2010) I went through formal recruitment for the first time and started to really fall in love with Sigma. I also did Greek Sing and started doing a lot more for recruitment. This past spring I became ritual and sisterhood chairs and continued to help out with recruitment quite a bit. My involvement begot my love, because I became more connected from the inside out.

What else helped me to know I picked the right one? When I moved on the floor, my friends in Sigma became my family in Sigma. They truly became my sisters. We fought and stole clothes and laughed and stayed up too late and watched movies and shared our souls and were there for each other, no matter what. Living on the floor gave me a true sense of the sisterhood inherent in a sorority.

So still kind of long story short? You can't know, that day you see your name on the bid card, what will become of your next few years. Much less can you understand the stories of alumni and how they stayed involved in each others' lives forever. Though when I was a freshman and sophomore I thought I was above Sigma, but truly she was far above me, patiently waiting for me to come to my senses and seek her out for guidance. And guidance I've gotten, and I've learned, grown, and loved so much for the opportunity. So PNMs, give it a chance. This may just be the door that opens up to a wonderfully rich and diverse future. Close it and you can still go on, but keep it open and you never know what it could bring. There are hundreds of thousands of sorority women who would not trade their sorority experience for anything and you now have a chance to join them. If I were you, I would make absolutely sure in every way possible that this was not for me before I declined it.

sherrybaby 08-21-2011 01:43 AM

My freshman year, I was disdainful of the idea of joining a sorority - I was a "good girl" who purposely went to a Christian school to avoid the kind of wild partying I assumed went with the territory of Greek life. However, throughout the year, I met some wonderful girls in a particular sorority with a reputation for being the kind of girls I wanted to be friends with: "good girls." They were sweet, involved, social girls with the top campus GPA, and the only bad thing I ever heard anyone say about them was that they were "too nice."

As a somewhat introverted person, I craved deeper friendships, and I decided to join a sorority. But not just any sorority - this sorority. I saw recruitment as a mere formality - everyone I knew expected me to join this sorority. Though I ended up considering 2 others, XYZ was still where I thought I'd end up. My closest rush group friend told me after our first party there that she "just knew I'd be an XYZ." It wasn't even for popularity reasons - though they were well-respected on campus, they certainly weren't the "top" group. I really loved my time at their parties, laughed with the actives, and had deeper than surface level conversations.

And then, before pref - I was cut. I was completely shocked. I'm one of the most insecure people I know, and I felt personally rejected. Another friend in my group couldn't stop herself from bursting out, "They cut you? You're like the ultimate XYZ." Very helpful to hear :rolleyes:

But thanks to an amazing Rho Chi, I picked myself off and headed to the parties I did have. I was nervous and reluctant but determined to have a happy ending, even if it wasn't the one I originally planned. I focused on the groups I did have, and received a bid to my (new) first choice.

Did I have what-if moments? Sure. For a little while, every time I met a new XYZ that I hit it off with, or had a moment of feeling left out of my pledge class, I wondered what happened, or what could have been. But I realized that, quite frankly, I was being a bit of an idiot with my attitude before rush, and any time I spent worrying about XYZ was time that I could have spent throwing myself headfirst into my new home and falling deeper in love with it.

And I did fall in love with it, after becoming super-involved and attending every event possible. (You can fall in love after having another group break your heart; you just might have to work at it. Don't be upset because you expected it to "just happen," it doesn't always work that way). I found I had become ridiculously judgmental - a girl's worth is not determined by whether or not she drinks. Over time, I realized that while the girls of XYZ and I shared a lot of similarities obvious to outside onlookers, there was something intangible that I shared with my sisters - a certain sense of humor, a component of our personalities - something that bound us together and made us fit despite being very different. I'll always call some XYZs friends, because we are similar - but I'll always call Thetas my sisters.

violetpretty 08-21-2011 01:53 PM


Originally Posted by SWTXBelle (Post 2081860)
No chapter will be perfect - but every chapter offers you the opportunity to help it develop into something even better than it now is, and for you to affect positive change - for both you and your chapter.


Originally Posted by psusue (Post 2082430)
My involvement begot my love, because I became more connected from the inside out.


Originally Posted by sherrybaby (Post 2082453)
any time I spent worrying about XYZ was time that I could have spent throwing myself headfirst into my new home and falling deeper in love with it.

Worth repeating.

Notice a theme? If you want an awesome Greek experience, open your heart and dive in. You decide how happy you'll be!

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