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  #1  
Old 06-17-2017, 02:12 PM
jemi422 jemi422 is offline
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A Cautionary Recruitment Tale

My niece (we’ll call her Ali) and I are close. When she was in high school, she and her mom (my sister) wanted my help in thinking through various college decisions, since I've worked at several colleges. However, her mom and I weren’t greek in college, so we turned to GC and other sources for sorority info.

She chose a large university with a prominent greek system. She was on the fence about sororities until she went to summer orientation. On campus she met a boy, “Bret,” that she liked a lot. He was a year ahead of her, so he knew a lot about campus life. He was a fraternity member and encouraged Ali to go through recruitment.

They stayed in touch for the rest of the summer and saw each other several times. She met some of his fraternity brothers. They told her all about greek life at the U including each sorority's “ranking,” reputation and personality. (Alarm bells ringing?) They told her which ones were top-tier all the way down to the few chapters considered to be at the bottom. I wasn’t happy about this “advice” and told her so, but Ali was much more swayed by Bret’s opinion.

So she signed up for recruitment. We were able to get recs for most houses. The day after she got to campus, recruitment started, and she was very excited.

Ali’s first impressions of most of the houses were good in spite of a grueling, hot, humid two-day open-house round. She was also having fun meeting other PNMs, which kept her spirits up. She got an almost-full schedule for the second round of parties. She texted me, saying that they were a mix of top, middle and low tier houses (according to Bret & friends’ opinions) but she liked every house she was invited back to. I complimented her on being open to a wide range of chapters.

After another whirlwind round, Ali called me, distressed. She had enjoyed most of the houses and loved a few of them. The problem? The ones she felt most at home at were not the top-tier houses. In fact her favorite was one that Bret and his brothers had an ugly name for. At the end of the round she had ranked it near the bottom, but was regretting that decision. Since she and Bret were now an “item,” she felt like she couldn’t even think about joining that chapter, which I’ll call “Camellia.” Nevertheless I urged her to keep an open mind and pay attention to her heart.

When she got her schedule for the third round, however, Camellia was on it. The other chapters on her schedule were Hydrangea (another one that the boys didn’t like), two mid-tiers: Dogwood and Caladium; and one that was considered among the best: Azalea.

Ali bounced between happy and fearful. Her heart led her in one direction – toward Camellia – and her boyfriend in the opposite direction. She liked all of the houses and had met fun, likeable girls in each one, but she really felt at home at Camellia. The third round parties only reinforced this feeling. When ranking afterward, she told me that she actually did put Camellia as one of her favorites, but I don’t think she told Bret.

She got three invitations to preference parties, including Camellia, Azalea, and Dogwood, which by now was growing on her. Meanwhile she was still lukewarm about Azalea, although she was flattered that they kept asking her back. She knew she shouldn’t talk to Bret about any of this but, big surprise, she did, and of course he pushed her toward Azalea.

Ali was very moved by the pref parties. The houses were lovely, the girls looked beautiful, and they seemed to take a genuine personal interest in her. She spent time with girls she had bonded with earlier in the week at Camellia and Dogwood, and couldn’t deny feeling close to them. At Azalea, her last party, she was with a girl that she hadn’t really clicked with earlier. Although she said the girl was sweet and gracious, it just wasn’t quite the same.

Needless to say, ranking after pref was very difficult for Ali. She told me she wrestled with her decision “for hours.” In the end, she wouldn’t tell me how she ranked them, but that in itself gave me a strong hint as to what she chose.

The next day was Bid Day and Ali texted me as soon as she got her bid: Azalea! She was happily caught up in the excitement with all the PNMs and especially the Azalea new members, several of whom she had gotten to know during recruitment.

For weeks after bid day, she was busy with school work, sorority activities, and Bret. Her mom and I, having “launched” her, were happy to let her enjoy her new independence. We shared any information we received, which was scarce but mostly positive.

She came back home for a visit in mid-fall. We expected ecstatic descriptions of everything she’d been doing since she left for college but Ali seemed subdued and not very talkative. Classes were good, sorority life was fine, but we sensed that she was a little worried about something.

A couple of weeks later, back on campus, she called, and we talked for a long time. All was not well in Bret-world. Bret had quit his fraternity. Ali hinted that there was some kind of hazing incident that he just couldn’t tolerate, and he was angry at the entire greek system.

Meanwhile she had been initiated as an Azalea. It was “okay” but there was more partying, drinking, etc., than she had anticipated. Official sorority activities demanded lots of her time, and she worried about class assignments. The girl in her new member class that she was closest to had quit and she hadn’t found the same kind of friendship with anyone else in Azalea. She was closer to other women on campus, including her non-greek roommate and several girls in Camellia. She said she was spending what little spare time she had at the Camellia house.

Being an Azalea is getting to be more difficult, especially since Bret wants more of her time. Between that and her wavering commitment to the sorority, she feels like she’s in a tough spot. She is second-guessing her decisions and it’s kind of painful for her right now.

When I asked her if I could share her (heavily disguised) story with GC, she agreed, thinking it might be useful to other women considering sorority life and, especially, dealing with outside influences that may or may not be helpful.
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  #2  
Old 06-17-2017, 02:43 PM
carnation carnation is offline
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Thank you so much for posting this! So many girls choose their group based on others' perceptions.
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  #3  
Old 06-17-2017, 08:18 PM
33girl 33girl is offline
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It sounds like Bret joined a group he wasn't entirely sold on either, and instead of learning a lesson, he thought it would help if someone else was in the same boat.
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  #4  
Old 06-17-2017, 09:00 PM
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thetalady thetalady is offline
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Thank you for sharing this, Jemi422. I am sad for your niece. Maybe she can help turn this chapter around toward more bonding activities. I bet there are some other girls who feel the same way. If nothing else, next year is an opportunity for her to get a little sister and start a new "chapter" of her sorority experience.
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  #5  
Old 06-18-2017, 02:49 AM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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Originally Posted by thetalady View Post
Thank you for sharing this, Jemi422. I am sad for your niece. Maybe she can help turn this chapter around toward more bonding activities. I bet there are some other girls who feel the same way. If nothing else, next year is an opportunity for her to get a little sister and start a new "chapter" of her sorority experience.
This! And although it may be of little consolation right now, she only has a few years as a collegian, but the rest of her life she'll be an alumna. Sorority membership is forever. All NPC sororities offer alumnae chapters to join, volunteer positions to fill, and conventions to attend.

And she can always still be friends with members of other sororities. I have sisters who openly admit that their bff is in a different NPC, or their bff isn't in a sorority at all. Throughout college, I was actually really close with a girl who dropped out of my pledge class. Joining a sorority doesn't mean you have to build up walls and shut others out.

I know she may be hurting right now and wondering if she made the right choice, but when she's ready, she should pick herself up, dust herself off, and make her chapter what she wants it to be. I'm sure she'll look back on this in five years and laugh and wonder what the heck she was thinking listening to boys about such things (as we've all had those moments!), but now is her chance to turn it into something positive.

It sounds like she has a lot going for her, based on the fact that she had a full schedule in each round of recruitment. I'm sure she's​ smart, has a great personality, and will totally rock this whole sorority thing.
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Last edited by ASTalumna06; 06-18-2017 at 02:56 AM.
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  #6  
Old 06-18-2017, 08:54 AM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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Originally Posted by jemi422 View Post
My niece (we’ll call her Ali) and I are close. When she was in high school, she and her mom (my sister) wanted my help in thinking through various college decisions, since I've worked at several colleges. However, her mom and I weren’t greek in college, so we turned to GC and other sources for sorority info.

She chose a large university with a prominent greek system. She was on the fence about sororities until she went to summer orientation. On campus she met a boy, “Bret,” that she liked a lot. He was a year ahead of her, so he knew a lot about campus life. He was a fraternity member and encouraged Ali to go through recruitment.

They stayed in touch for the rest of the summer and saw each other several times. She met some of his fraternity brothers. They told her all about greek life at the U including each sorority's “ranking,” reputation and personality. (Alarm bells ringing?) They told her which ones were top-tier all the way down to the few chapters considered to be at the bottom. I wasn’t happy about this “advice” and told her so, but Ali was much more swayed by Bret’s opinion.

So she signed up for recruitment. We were able to get recs for most houses. The day after she got to campus, recruitment started, and she was very excited.

Ali’s first impressions of most of the houses were good in spite of a grueling, hot, humid two-day open-house round. She was also having fun meeting other PNMs, which kept her spirits up. She got an almost-full schedule for the second round of parties. She texted me, saying that they were a mix of top, middle and low tier houses (according to Bret & friends’ opinions) but she liked every house she was invited back to. I complimented her on being open to a wide range of chapters.

After another whirlwind round, Ali called me, distressed. She had enjoyed most of the houses and loved a few of them. The problem? The ones she felt most at home at were not the top-tier houses. In fact her favorite was one that Bret and his brothers had an ugly name for. At the end of the round she had ranked it near the bottom, but was regretting that decision. Since she and Bret were now an “item,” she felt like she couldn’t even think about joining that chapter, which I’ll call “Camellia.” Nevertheless I urged her to keep an open mind and pay attention to her heart.

When she got her schedule for the third round, however, Camellia was on it. The other chapters on her schedule were Hydrangea (another one that the boys didn’t like), two mid-tiers: Dogwood and Caladium; and one that was considered among the best: Azalea.

Ali bounced between happy and fearful. Her heart led her in one direction – toward Camellia – and her boyfriend in the opposite direction. She liked all of the houses and had met fun, likeable girls in each one, but she really felt at home at Camellia. The third round parties only reinforced this feeling. When ranking afterward, she told me that she actually did put Camellia as one of her favorites, but I don’t think she told Bret.

She got three invitations to preference parties, including Camellia, Azalea, and Dogwood, which by now was growing on her. Meanwhile she was still lukewarm about Azalea, although she was flattered that they kept asking her back. She knew she shouldn’t talk to Bret about any of this but, big surprise, she did, and of course he pushed her toward Azalea.

Ali was very moved by the pref parties. The houses were lovely, the girls looked beautiful, and they seemed to take a genuine personal interest in her. She spent time with girls she had bonded with earlier in the week at Camellia and Dogwood, and couldn’t deny feeling close to them. At Azalea, her last party, she was with a girl that she hadn’t really clicked with earlier. Although she said the girl was sweet and gracious, it just wasn’t quite the same.

Needless to say, ranking after pref was very difficult for Ali. She told me she wrestled with her decision “for hours.” In the end, she wouldn’t tell me how she ranked them, but that in itself gave me a strong hint as to what she chose.

The next day was Bid Day and Ali texted me as soon as she got her bid: Azalea! She was happily caught up in the excitement with all the PNMs and especially the Azalea new members, several of whom she had gotten to know during recruitment.

For weeks after bid day, she was busy with school work, sorority activities, and Bret. Her mom and I, having “launched” her, were happy to let her enjoy her new independence. We shared any information we received, which was scarce but mostly positive.

She came back home for a visit in mid-fall. We expected ecstatic descriptions of everything she’d been doing since she left for college but Ali seemed subdued and not very talkative. Classes were good, sorority life was fine, but we sensed that she was a little worried about something.

A couple of weeks later, back on campus, she called, and we talked for a long time. All was not well in Bret-world. Bret had quit his fraternity. Ali hinted that there was some kind of hazing incident that he just couldn’t tolerate, and he was angry at the entire greek system.

Meanwhile she had been initiated as an Azalea. It was “okay” but there was more partying, drinking, etc., than she had anticipated. Official sorority activities demanded lots of her time, and she worried about class assignments. The girl in her new member class that she was closest to had quit and she hadn’t found the same kind of friendship with anyone else in Azalea. She was closer to other women on campus, including her non-greek roommate and several girls in Camellia. She said she was spending what little spare time she had at the Camellia house.

Being an Azalea is getting to be more difficult, especially since Bret wants more of her time. Between that and her wavering commitment to the sorority, she feels like she’s in a tough spot. She is second-guessing her decisions and it’s kind of painful for her right now.

When I asked her if I could share her (heavily disguised) story with GC, she agreed, thinking it might be useful to other women considering sorority life and, especially, dealing with outside influences that may or may not be helpful.
Keep an eye on Bret. He sounds like a master manipulator. One of those guys who convinces his girlfriend to consistently narrow her outside interests and circle of friends until he is the complete center of her universe. And your niece sounds easily manipulated.

Will she be living in the house? Living in often gives a girl a new perspective on her sorority and creates new friendships. I wish your niece the best and hope Bret takes a hike. It doesn't sound like he is good for her.
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  #7  
Old 06-18-2017, 10:31 AM
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AZTheta AZTheta is offline
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Originally Posted by FSUZeta View Post
Keep an eye on Bret. He sounds like a master manipulator. One of those guys who convinces his girlfriend to consistently narrow her outside interests and circle of friends until he is the complete center of her universe. And your niece sounds easily manipulated.

Will she be living in the house? Living in often gives a girl a new perspective on her sorority and creates new friendships. I wish your niece the best and hope Bret takes a hike. It doesn't sound like he is good for her.
THIS.

Everything FSUZeta said times a zillion. She nailed it once again, people. She speaks the truth here, and I totally, completely concur. There's a bigger issue going on. Good luck getting Ali to see what's right in front of her nose. It ain't easy. Sigh.
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Old 06-18-2017, 02:16 PM
jemi422 jemi422 is offline
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Thank you all for the insight and good advice. For Ali, being away from campus for the summer is putting things in perspective somewhat. She's looking forward to recruitment as a sister, having new sisters to get to know, and especially hoping for the chance to be a "big." And Bret is spending the summer far away, a good thing IMHO.
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Old 06-18-2017, 03:42 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is offline
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Work week (the week prior to rush) is a great opportunity to build sisterhood, as does being a big sister. Yay for Bret being far away. Do you know any cute, sweet fellows who just might run in to Ali( hint, hint) and buy her a coffee this summer?
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