So Fratty: Meet Your New Sisters (Sophomore Year)

by Rachel on September 16, 2011

This time of year, I can’t help but have sorority recruitment on my mind. I loved recruitment. Today I thought I’d share some of the new material I wrote for my book proposal; this is one of the first essays in the book. There is also a second version that appears in the senior year section, when I had been doing the whole recruitment thing for a few years (and getting frattier and frattier). I’ll share that later; for now, enjoy my take on Bid Day through a pledge’s eyes!

Despite my concerns about not having pearls to wear during the last night of recruitment, I was given a bid. The day after Preference, I suffered through my classes anxiously and then booked it back to my dorm. We had been told that our bids would be distributed between the hours of 4 and 6 PM so I sat in my dorm, waiting for the white envelope that would tell me who my bridesmaids would one day be.

Around 4:30, it came. I was a Sigma Kappa.

I wasn’t excited or disappointed. I had been really torn between Chi Omega and Sigma Kappa, to the point that I was debating the houses by their colors. Sigma Kappa’s lavender and maroon was more flattering than Chi Omega’s cardinal red and straw yellow. But the Chi Os were so pretty. It was so hard to decide.

But they decided for me – I was a Sigma Kappa.

The invite instructed me to get ready for Bid Day, the big party that each house has for their new girls. On Bid Day, campus is loud with the sounds of sorostitutes in season — recruitment season, that is. Everyone hears their cheers as they run through the halls of the dorms to pick up their new members, the horns that blast from their rented limos, and the signature welcome songs that they shout as they wait for their new members on their pretty lawns and porches.

Two houses, Alpha Phi and Kappa Kappa Gamma, actually stand on their lawns and shout antagonistic chants at each other. It’s as much a Bid Day tradition at MSU as the tight T-shirts with classic logos/slogans rewritten to be cutesy/relevant to the sorority that each sorostitute wears aroud campus on Bid Day.

Another Bid Day tradition? GDIs grumbling and complaining about how loud the sorority girls are. Try as one might to explain why it’s such a fun night for the girls, the non-Greeks are just never impressed or amused.

Amidst the screaming, honking, cheering, and complaining, I was picked up, put in a car with a bunch of girls I didn’t recognize from recruitment, and whisked away to the sorority house. They gave me my T-shirt (a baseball tee that declared our pledge class was “in a league of their own!”) to make it official. I was a pledge.

And with Bid Day, shit got real. I think every new pledge starts to wonder if she made the right decision. I mean, how could we help but think that once we saw the things they hid from us during recruitment? Among the cute and fun girls cheering for us as we entered the front door, we noticed all the other members. Oh so there are unnattractive girls in this house? we thought. Where were they during the parties?!

As pledges, we were expected to attend weekly new member meetings to bond with our fellow pledges and learn about the house. We learned about the chapter, its history, the rules and policies of the house, things like that. We also met the Executive Board.

The E-Board is the group of ten or so officers who run the show. The members changed from year to year, but the fact is, the hos in charge always stay the same.

President. New members usually piddle when they are talking to the president, but in most cases, the president is not that big of a deal. She has to be thin and pretty enough to represent the house well at all-Greek meetings, prudish enough that people don’t laugh when she says, “Don’t drink too much at tailgate,” and has to party enough so as not to seem out of touch with the partiers in the house. Mainly, she is diplomatic. Super, super diplomatic. In fact, when she stops being pretty and diplomatic and actually tries to hold girls to higher standards, they tend to get pissed. “The president’s job is not to do anything! Who does she think she is?!”

Vice President. The VP is always very sensitive — whether she’s upset over a bad grade or a fight with her roommate, you can bet her eyes will well up as she’s telling you about it. This makes her seem thoughtful and nice, so people respect her, and she needs to be respected, as she runs the house’s Standards board, which doles out punishment to meeting-skippers, rule-breakers, and sluts. Still, one cannot be fooled by her soft-spoken exterior — you’ll think you can trust her after she cozies up to you at breakfast and tearfully tells you about her boy problems, but when you have to go in front of her at Standards, you’ll regret casually mentioning to her that you pre-gamed in the chapter room because now you  could lose date party rights for the rest of the semester.

Recruitment Chair. This girl is very pretty, usually due to her huge mass of perfectly-highlighted hair. She is beyond charismatic when she is talking to all the potential new members…and a total bitch to her own sisters as soon as the PNMs are out the door. She rules with an iron fist, telling the sisters to practice harder because she doesn’t care that they are hung over and sweating alcohol when their clapping is so out of sync this close to recruitment. She balances telling them that their shoes aren’t acceptable and that they need to shut the fuck up during the senior speeches with reminding them that their house is the best and she loves them all to death. During recruitment, everyone hates her, but they would hate her even more if she let sisters attend recruitment parties wearing gross accessories or if they got a bad pledge class.

New Member Educator. This girl meets with the pledges every week and her job is to keep them from dropping out, so she has to be extremely accessible and welcoming. She is tiny and beautiful, like Tinkerbell in a Greek letter hoodie. She’s just so bubbly when teaching everyone about the chapter’s history, they can’t help but love the house. Because the pledges meet with her more than any other member, she takes on a protective, motherly role. Except when she’s hazing. Then it’s more like, “Why does mommy drink and hit me?”

Internal Social Chair. The internal social chair is constantly scrutinized because she handles the house’s social events like Formal and Date Party — two events that are likely to cause the most sorority drama. The best internal socials are the ones with great taste — after all, we can’t have Formal in some gross VFW hall or something. She’s been planning her wedding since she was six years old, so she plans Formal accordingly. But like a Bridezilla who tells her bridesmaids not to gain weight, the internal social has to be fearless when it comes to the girls’ social behavior. If she doesn’t keep an eye on the drunk pledges who are attempting to sneak off and have sex with their dates on the golf course during Formal, we might not get to have a good date party next semester.

External Social Chair. The external social chair handles all the social events that take place with the frats, like tailgate or mixers. She is usually elected to this position not because she is particularly responsible, but because she has a good relationship with the frats…if you know what I mean. While the internal social would send a pledge home for being too drunk at an event, the external social encourages the pledges to show up wasted for every party or “all the frats are going to hate us!” She is the one banging on everyone’s door for a 6 AM tailgate and calling us lame if we won’t go to a “No Pants Party” on a Tuesday night in December.

I knew right away I was going to be the recruitment chair when it was my turn to have a position. I loved recruitment from the day I started rushing, but I was even surer once I began pledging. I looked at my fellow pledges and realized there were so many girls I wanted to tell to shut the fuck up and to change into cuter shoes. I couldn’t wait until I was an elected official so I actually could.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Deva @ Deva by Definition September 16, 2011 at 11:58 am

Joining a sorority is one of those things I wish I had done in college – the girls I knew who were members always looked like they were having so much fun. Alas, I was too shy and let the opportunity pass me up. Maybe in my next life?

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2 jenna k September 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm

damn, this made me tear up. please tell me the first (sigma kappa) alumni year is the hardest.

since we don’t have houses at tennessee (they’re being built though!!!), we do everything in a panhellenic building with banisters that overlook the bottom floor. on bid day, we all gather around the banisters for new member banner drop, and everyone does bitchy cheers towards each other. it’s pretty hilarious to see this come from a bunch of girls dressed like southern belles.

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3 [SMASH] at Sweat. Style. Swoon. September 16, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Always wished I’d joined a sorority during college. My bestie didn’t want to and I didn’t want to leave her behind. :o/ But life is life and I’m here where I am now because I didn’t. Not terribly shabby!

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4 Jacki September 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

So, there are times (like now) that I still have this little teeny pang of wishing I went to a college with Greek life. Silly, I know, but growing up I always thought it would be SO FUN to be in a sorority. And yep, it still sounds like fun!

But I guess what I did at Bible college was as close as you could get to being in a sorority while attending Bible college. I was an RA for two years and a student dean for one, which, at Bible college, actually includes a shit-ton of responsibility and a lot of exemption from the 50,000 pages of rules we were hired to enforce, as long as we broke them discreetly. Matt and I like to shock each other with college stories – I tell him about all the rules we had to deal with and he tells me about getting hazed when pledging his fraternity, heh.

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5 Erin September 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I read your blog all the time and I had no idea you were an SK. So am I!

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6 Claire September 16, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I love this… I totally want to pre-order the book! I was a GDI (and yes, my roommate and I had a glorious time on Kappa’s pledge-acceptance day because their house was right across from the dorm and they were screaming for probably two hours non-stop), and it’s great to get insight into the deep dark secrets of the Greek world. I feel like I made the right decision.

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7 Michelle September 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm

One heart, one way! I was an SK at K-State. Love your blog :)

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8 Allison September 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm

I would so love to read this in full! Joining a sorority was definitely not for me (especially the way they were set up at my school), but I was always friends with a few fraternity guys (close enough to know that they would not appreciate being called “frat guys”) and wound up dating a Sigma Nu the last year and a half or so of college so I got a little bit of an insight into the Greek world.

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9 Melinda R. September 16, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I enjoy reading your blog…especially today. I never joined a sorority, never had interest, never had motivation or inspiration to do so…Iam not sure I even know why it is important to join one…sounds like a bunch of students who like to be real bitches to the newbies. Knowing me, I would be wanting to tell some sorority sisters off! Lol! I will say I quite enjoyed the explanations and your writing style…I would definitely read your book!

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10 Nicole @ Giraffelegs September 16, 2011 at 11:21 pm

hahahahaha YES! you are perfect

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11 mary lynne September 17, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I was almost a Sigma Kappa. They gave me a bid even though I didn’t finish rush, guess they needed more girls in their pledge class. Went to bid night, but decided these girls weren’t “cool” enough, I was a bit judgmental back in the day. If I could go back, I would have at least given them a chance.

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12 Shelley September 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm

HAHAH I am an AXO & I think this is soooo funny. Except I do NOT love recruitment, UGH i hate it..I feel like it brings the worst out in people. The drama and bullshit in a sorority are awful but I love it anyways haha…love/hate relationship for sure. I liked this post!! Hope you do more funny sorority-life posts in the future

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13 Becca September 18, 2011 at 6:45 pm

This is really interesting to me. I hope you write more or reveal a little more on the blog.

I am a GDI by nature and choice. I literally cannot comprehend why anyone would want to join a sorority, but I’m always looking for people who might help me understand. Even with this post, having someone tell me what shoes I can wear, how to dress, how to behave sounds like the worst thing ever, especially in college. I also don’t understand why I should revere/respect older sorority members because they’re…a few years older??? I’m just a person who has zero respect for authority and feels there should be fewer rules, not more. Are there any of these types in sororities? Also, I always thought the friendships were particularly “back-stabby” and fake? Is it possible to form real relationships in this setting? Very curious to see what light you can shed!

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14 Alanna September 18, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Joining a sorority was the most wonderful experience and my college life would not have been the same without it! Even though I’m out in the “real world” now, I am an advisor for a local collegiate chapter. Sigma Kappa has changed my life for the better! We forever stand by our motto, “One Heart, One Way!” I was also a Recruitment Guide (Rho Gamma or a Rho Chi on other campuses) to help the PNMs decide what to do. I encourage all young ladies entering college to go through recruitment. Trust me, the things you learn in college don’t even compare to the things you learn in sorority to prepare you for life!

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15 Laura September 19, 2011 at 5:51 am

Your sisters must be really enjoying themselves reading this. Congratulations on finally being on a sorority. I think you will have a fun and memorable experience. Having to meet or get along with different girls with different characters is very challenging. Have fun learning from them and I hope you’ll find satisfaction in their company.

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16 Caitlin @ The Caitie Experiment September 19, 2011 at 11:04 am

I love your sorority posts — I am/was Kappa Delta, which is weird being from the northeast! I always find it funny when people are so judgmental and make catty comments regarding Greek Life, particularly since their rationale tends to be, “why would anyone want to hang out with judgmental and catty people who judge you without knowing you?”. Hello, double standard! It always reminds me of that line in Legally Blonde where Elle says, “You know, if you had come to a rush party, I would have at least been been nice to you.” My sorority experience is the single most valuable decision I made during college; I never would have achieved the personal success that I have without the lessons I learned through Greek Life. They might not all have been pretty or PC, but neither is the real world!

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17 Paige September 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I’m baffled by this post. What point are you trying to make? That sororities and fraternities are exactly like the movie stereotypes? That there’s no real sisterhood? That if you join, you’ll be hazed by your new member educator? I. Seriously. Don’t. Understand.

A year ago, I decided to go through recruitment as a Freshman after reading your blog, I thought you actually cared about Sigma Kappa and the sisters you made for life. After reading this, I feel so disappointed. I know I wouldn’t have given Greek Life a chance had I read something like this back then. I also feel saddened that you don’t respect your sisters enough to not bring their house down with you. I know you like to get controversial and nothing is out of bounds for you; but if you’re going to draw upon your collegiate years as a sorority woman, this shouldn’t have been the writing that came to mind.

I know I’ve found true sisterhood in my sorority and that I can’t relate to half of the writing I’ve just read, but I wish that you could fully understand and appreciate what the founders of your sorority wanted for you. This isn’t it and I hope your readers don’t go through recruitment wanting this.

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18 Karoline September 21, 2011 at 9:29 pm

If she is writing a book about these experiences, her sorority was/is obviously an important part of her life. If you’ve read Rachel’s blog and other essays she’s posted, you’d understand her writing style and sense of humor.

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19 Anne September 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

Just reading these essays on sorority life – LOVE.
I’m a Sigma Kappa too – and I’m LOVING your POV on bid day from a rushee and rush chair perspective – FUN (which was the whole point of rushing to begin with!)

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