Q: I’m in the pledging process and my pledge class is having a hard time communicating. I feel like everything I’m saying is falling on deaf ears (I’m not annoying either, everyone is communicating in the same chat, I’m just ignored.) It’s honestly stressing me out because we all need to work together and I feel like some of us are doing more work than others. It’s like, why am I even here? Why am I even talking? I feel like I’m wasting my energy honestly.
A: My first suggestion is to CHANGE the style of your communication! If your class is trying to work out details, make plans and organize things in an online group chat ~ maybe you need to meet in person instead. Things are understood better if you can see a sister’s face and hear the tone of her voice. Reading the written word does not always get the point across when dealing with a large group. And your suggestions are not being “heard” in text form. Online reminders and updates are great, but for more in depth conversation and decision making your pledge class should find other methods of communicating. If things aren’t working ~ make a change!
Also, if there is no response to your suggestions, maybe your class does not agree with them. It’s possible that you are trying to force some ideas on your sisters which they are not responsive to. It’s hard to tell in a chat format, but it’s something to think about. You can’t make other members do things your way…
As for "some members doing more than others" ~ WELCOME to every club, sorority, committee, or group you will ever belong to! About 20% of the members do all the heavy lifting. You will find this to be true your entire life. So if that part of chapter life bothers you, please step back and don’t get so involved. If you can’t give of your time and talents without expecting total compliance or total participation ~ then just relax and be a regular member-at-large. Not everyone is cut out for leadership.
But if you do want to lead, then accept that leaders volunteer extra time, feel extra stress and work extra hard to manage their team. If you can give patiently and generously, you can help your pledge class. Yet if you always feel like throwing in the towel and stomping your feet when you don’t get your way ~ another chapter game plan would be better for your personality! Only you know where your comfort level is. I hope you find it soon, so you can be happy with your sisterhood and not build any resentments. xoxo ;)
I just joined a sorority at my college (I'm a freshman) and I'm currently doing my weeks before pledging and getting initiated. So far, I dont know if i feel the "sisterly" feeling everyone else seems to put off. Dont get me wrong, every girl in my AST is sweet as sugar. But I just don't know if its because I'm knew if I dont feel a bond quite yet. =/
It takes TIME - TIME - TIME to make close connections in any sorority! And everyone progresses at a different rate. Some girls are crazy for their chapter on bid day forward and others take awhile to warm up. It depends on who you connect with and when. That extra special sister could be right around the corner ~ just waiting to make friends. Or possibly you won’t feel ‘closer’ until you serve on a committee with your sisters, or bond over tackling a challenging fundraiser. Sisterly feelings are not just superficial, they take time and lots of interaction to be truly authentic.
Think of it this way ~ would you be disappointed if you didn’t love a guy madly and want to marry him after only a few weeks of dating? No! Love at first sight is fun but ‘real” chapter life is more like growing in a loyal marriage or a serious romantic relationship. True friendship develops out of shared experiences throughout the years, not just a few weeks. Give your sorority time to bloom and do your part to reach out more often. Focus on what you can give your sisterhood and how many ways you can serve the chapter. The strong sisterly feelings are sure to follow! xoxo ;)
Q: We had our bid day yesterday & ended up with most of the girls we didn’t want. They are so weird. More importantly though, I am up to take a little this semester & I DO NOT want ANY of them. Can I refuse to take one? There are less people up for littles than littles available. And don’t say get to know them better. I want to wait for the perfect one. Can someone be forced to take a little?
A: Yikes! Please don’t take a little out of this pledge class for the sake of the new members! If they are so horrible, your chapter should not have offered them bids. Better to be below quota, than have a group of misfits on your hands. Your sorority should also seriously examine their recruitment procedures if you are ending up with new members no one wants at all! That’s not how rush should end.
I assume that your chapter bylaws do not compel you to take a little. I don’t think your organization can force you to do so. It’s a shame you can’t see a one or two redeeming qualities in the new girls, since there are not enough bigs to go around. But I don’t think you can be absolutely made to take one. Please check with your e-board, or review your own sorority bylaws to make 100% sure.
I believe you when you say the new members are awful in every way, but please give some thought to your own character. I think it’s time for a bit of self reflection. Whether you like it or not, these girls will be your lifelong sisters soon and you must muster up some patience and tolerance for them. Maybe you could be a role model for helping them GROW and mature. Possibly your “better” personality will rub off on them and help them move away from being so weird. Think about how you can improve your chapter’s new class, instead of just criticizing them. It would be great if you could be a part of the solution in some way!
And please know that the search for perfection can be a frustrating and lonely road. As you hold out for the perfect little, make sure you work on perfecting yourself in every way too. When the time comes, you need to be so perfect that your targeted little will want to choose YOU in return! xoxo ;)
"You cannot afford to wait for perfect conditions. Goal setting is often a matter of balancing timing against available resources. Opportunities are easily lost while waiting for perfect conditions." ~ Gary Ryan Blair
"The pursuit of perfection is always linked to some important deficiency, frequently the inability to love." ~ Bernard Grasset
Q: I recently went through recruitment as a sophomore and I am now in a sorority. I can’t imagine a better group of women to be a part of! The only thing wrong is one of my fellow pledges. I convinced one of my suite-mates to go through recruitment with me. We ended up getting bids from the same sorority, but she had always spoken out against Greek life before recruitment. I’m happy that she feels she has found a place in our sorority, but it’s a struggle to see her put NO effort in thus far.
We have had mixers, sisterhood events and movie nights and she hasn’t even been to the house since our pledge ceremony! I’m frustrated to have someone in my pledge class act like they care so little about our sorority. While I strongly believe that friendships should be maintained (my best friend is in a different sorority and we are closer than ever!) I can see that she is putting no effort into becoming friends with any of our sisters. I’m not sure what to do!
A: So sad that your suite-mate cannot see the benefits of chapter life right before her eyes! I think this is a case of her being “talked into something” that she really didn’t want to do. She was always anti-greek, but somehow ended up giving it a try and now she has reverted back to her old ways. It’s like someone who goes on a diet or starts an exercise program for awhile, and then relapses back to their old comfortable ways. After pledging, your friend has not been drawn into the loyalty of sisterhood. And since she is putting absolutely nothing into it ~ I doubt her membership will catch fire. It’s unfortunate that she took a spot from another PNM who would have loved it like you do!
If your friend can’t see any value in your sorority, your options for helping are limited. But I suggest you have a heart to heart with her before things get worse. Maybe something or someone has turned her off since pledging and you can draw her back in. Also, you can speak privately with your New Member Director and talk to her about ways to help your suite-mate connect. Some girls need extra encouragement and personal attention in the early days. Patience and time may bring her around.
In the end, this will go one of 3 ways:
- She can get with the program, realize her error and start being an involved member.
- She can remain a distant, uninvolved member but still participate at the minimum level.
- She will drop out.
Whatever she chooses to do, you are not to blame and you shouldn’t feel bad! Sorority life may not be for her after all. YOU should go forward loving every minute of your sisterhood, show her a happy example of what’s possible and at the end of the day live your life to the fullest ~ no matter what she decides! Don’t let her behavior dull your shine. Not everyone is cut out for being greek. Please don’t be aggravated by her any longer. Turn your attention to your positive, involved sisters and don’t be brought down by things you can’t control! Be happy!!
Remember the 12th century proverb ~
"You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink"
You did it! You survived recruitment and you pledged a sorority! These are some things to keep in mind as a brand new member….
✿ 8 top tips for getting your greek life off to a good start: ✿
- Jump in with both feet! You never know if you will like something until you try. So attend every event, meeting and activity, even if it doesn’t sound that interesting on the surface. Go to everything. Find your favorite activites for future involvement.
- Make friends early on! Bonds are set in the exciting early days of the new semester. Don’t hang back from socializing with your new pledge class and the older girls. You will want to find a special big sister and get close with the other new members too.
- Volunteer for leadership! If there are any opportunities to be a pledge class leader/officer, or any ‘helping positions’ open within the chapter ~ take them. Be the class historian or help distribute tee shirts for greek week. Anyway you can become involved and connect with your new sisters is ideal.
- Don’t become overwhelmed! Once you pledge, there will be dinners, socials, education, retreats, financial paperwork and many other new experiences. Pace yourself and take it all in stride. Don’t forget your academics in all the excitement. Somehow you have to attend class and be a fabulous new sorority girl.
- Be patient & flexible! You may not love all of your new sisters. Or your new chapter may be the sorority of your dreams. Your expectations could be super high or very low. Seek a balance after the “high” of recruitment and bid day. There can be a post rush letdown either way. Just remember ~ true sisterhood takes TIME to develop. Adjust mentally to your new lifestyle and you will find long term happiness.
- Display your love! One of the best parts of new membership is getting all the gear and splashing your sorority pride all over the place. Let it rip! Put a decal on your laptop, wear your sorority fashions, cuddle under a chapter blanket, update your profile online, drink out of a sorority tumbler! There is no better time to show your sorority spirit than the first few months of your membership. It helps you bond to your sisterhood and it reenforces your wise decision joining such a fabulous organization.
- Don’t go too wild! There is a temptation for new members to go absolutely crazy with partying. Fraternities are waiting for the new crop of sorority pledges and plan their parties accordingly. Super fun socials will be thrown at you every other day. Have a great time, but keep your wits about you. If you damage your reputation early on, it will be very difficult to ever get it back. As a new member, if you get the rep of the _____ girl, it will stick with you for years. Represent your new sorority in a decent way and handle yourself with pride. Then have a blast at the same time!
- Stay cool & get along! Keeping emotions in check is a top priority for a new member. Anytime a large group of girls get together, there are bound to be some personality issues. Remain level headed and stay calm. Be genuine, tell the truth, avoid drama, avoid gossip, don’t fight and steer clear of conflicts. Don’t be sucked into unnecessary drama. Staying above petty arguments and treating everyone fairly is a recipe for long term sorority success!
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So I'm going through informal spring rush at my school and I recently accepted a bid for a sorority but another sorority isn't starting their rush events til next week and I really wanted to check them out too. I was wondering if I was allowed to drop out of my current sorority so I could check this sorority out and if they offered me a bid for this semester, would I be allowed to accept it or I would I have to wait til next semester during the more competitive fall rush?
Bid accepting and dropping out gets a little tricky. But if you recently accepted a bid from a sorority, you cannot suddenly drop it and rush another chapter next week. That would not be fair to your current chapter! And not a smart move on your part either. You should have considered all the possibilities before you committed to one sorority. That’s the challenge of COB and informal recruitment ~ it is much less organized and can be scattered in the scheduling. Informal rush is more about joining a chapter you have interest in, than exploring all the options on campus like formal recruitment.
There are NO guarantees that if you were to drop your sorority, that you would like the other chapter better. And they might not even offer you a bid! On top of that, you will probably have to wait 1 year before being able to rush again (not just one semester). The normal rules are a 1 year no-rush period if you drop after accepting a bid. In other words, this is not a good idea! Unfortunately informal rush is not geared towards accepting and dropping bids while you check out all your options.
I strongly suggest you cease looking for other sororities. You already belong to one. When you agreed to join, it shut the doors on other chapters. It’s just like when you decide on a wedding dress. Once you make your purchase, you can’t then keep trying on other dresses searching for that elusive perfect gown. When you commit to a dress, you should embrace it and end the looking.
I hope you can be at peace with your sorority choice and make a go of it with your new sisterhood. They offered you lifelong membership and they want you to be a part of their chapter. Be thankful for your blessings and start having a fabulous time with greek life! xoxo ;)
Hi, sorority sugar! I just accepted a bid from a sorority but i havent been initiated yet. It's looking like i might have to drop for financial reasons (and yes, i have a job and i work the maximum allowed hours per week, so there's really nothing else i can do about it), so i'm wondering if according to panhell rules i'll be able to rush again next semester as a sophomore? If not in the fall, then in the spring? Can i get another bid from my same sorority?
Unless you plan on winning the lottery next year, I don’t see how you will be able to afford it then, but you can’t right now?? What would change sooooo much that you could go through rush again and even try to re-join your original chapter? I would rather die than go through recruitment again ~ if I didn’t have to! There are no guarantees that you will get a bid at all, let alone from your current sorority. If you drop out now, the prospects are slim for rushing again as an upperclassman. And you will be seen as a “financial risk” as well.
Technically, if you just accepted a bid, but you have not been initiated, you can rush again after 1 year. That would be next spring, not next fall. But I would advise against this plan! While possible, if you have a perfectly nice sorority now, it would be a shame to toss it aside. The dues and fees should have been presented to you before rush. If you are working and dues are paid month by month (not in a large lump sum), I pray there is some way you can still swing it.
Maybe your parents can give you a loan which you could pay back with summer employment, you could sell something like crafts on the side, you could become a campus rep, or wait tables part time ~ in addition to what you are doing now. Anything! If you want to STAY in greek life, then you should do everything you can to STAY in it right now. Quitting and trying to regain membership later is a very risky idea! xoxo ;)
Hi! I contacted you last October for a question about COB. I was a transfer junior at Alabama and had gone through formal recruitment and did not receive a bid. I entered COB in the Fall right after and it did not pan out.
I thought you would like to know that I did enter COB this spring at Alabama as a junior and received a bid to Alpha Delta Pi. I am sooooo thrilled because this is a dream come true! I want to thank you for your website and for your help last Fall.
Continue to encourage everyone to go through recruitment. If it’s something they really want, it can happen!! <>
Sending lots of love,
Q: Last summer i was promised a bid from some friends who are in a sorority at the school I’m going to. When I went out for recruitment, I ended up not getting a bid from them, and I didn’t really feel comfortable with the chapter that did give me a bid, so I ended up breaking my pledge. Now I don’t know if it’s worth trying again next semester because I’m afraid that all chapters are like this. So my question is, do you think it would be worth it to try again?
A: No sorority should ever, ever promise a bid! There is no way any individual members can speak for an entire chapter. It takes a full sorority vote to offer membership to a PNM. Even if a few girls say “we’ll get you in” they may not be successful in persuading the whole sisterhood. Bid promising is totally against the panhellenic rules!
I can’t blame the chapter, but I do blame your friends who should have known better. Or ~ maybe they just strongly encouraged you to join and gave you false hope? Could it be that they didn’t 100% swear that you would be offered a bid? Sometimes PNMs hear what they want to hear. Just a possibility!
Sorority #2 is not to blame for anything. They DID offer you a bid and they did nothing wrong. You dumped them! So when you worry about “all chapters being like this” there is NOT a pattern of bad behavior here! The only ones in the wrong were your own friends. And only if they made absolute promises they shouldn’t have.
So that leaves very little wrong doing and the possibility for you to try again should you wish to. I think you need to clear all of the past ‘rough spots’ out of your head first. Don’t blame all greeks or the recruitment system. Your friends were overly enthusiastic and out of line, but after that the system worked. If you expand your viewpoint and open your heart ~ I think you can successfully rush again. Next time around give your new sorority more of a chance to bond with you and vice versa. If you stick with it, I am hopeful you can find still a happy sorority home! xoxo ;)
i just received a bid today from a great sorority and i'm very happy to become a part of their sisterhood. i met my pledge class today and most of them know each other or someone in the chapter. it was awkward for me because i didn't really know anyone. i'm so worried they won't be willing to branch out because they already know each other! help :(
It’s too soon to be worrying! Your early pledge days should be some of the happiest. It’s unusual for so many new members to know each other already. Typically classes are a mix of girls from all over the country. You may feel out numbered, but probably there are other “solo” girls just like you. Making connections with those other individual girls is a top priority! Here are some tips for fitting in ~
- Go on an immediate hunt to located one or two other girls in your new member class who are not in the already-friends-clique. It’s important that you build your own little core group. This will give you security, girlfriends to attend meetings with and people to hang out with at parties. Establish your own friend base and everything will be less stressful.
- Look for friends in the entire chapter as well. You will need a big sister, so it’s ok to befriend girls outside your new member class. There should be plenty of potential new buddies to choose from.
- Get involved in any way possible. Whatever opportunities your chapter offers for new members ~ jump right in. Hold a pledge class office or help with a volunteer project. Working is one of the best ways to busy yourself, ease your self consciousness and meet new sisters. It’s an excuse to be involved without having to rely on a clique of friends.
- Attend everything. The only way to feel more at home and build bridges is to be present. Hanging back because the other girls know each other won’t get you anywhere. They should loosen up as time goes on. Just like you, they’re a little nervous right now, so they will cling together until everyone feels more comfortable.
You have just begun your sorority journey and hopefully it will be filled with many meaningful memories. Put yourself out there and you will be happier all around! xoxo ;)
Most sororities ask their new members to wear white dresses for different occasions during their new member period ~ especially for initiation. For example, a new member may wear one for receiving her pledge pin, big/little reveal, presents, initiation and a special paddle/plaque exchange. The active members usually wear black dresses. This has been a sorority tradition across the panhellenic for years and years. At some schools like UGA new pledges even wear white dresses on bid day. But most colleges start the white dress ceremonies after bid day.
It is a symbolic look for new members. It distinguishes them from the initiated sisters wearing black or their special sorority color. White dresses are a tradition on most campuses. So if you join a chapter you will probably have to buy one! There are always exceptions and variations, but the look is quite common. xoxo ;)
I recently posted these 4 MODCLOTH dresses in a “text” post and I am re-posting them here for easier reference! New member nice for spring semester and reasonably priced too….. xoxo
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if you have a chance to live on campus i would highly recommend it for the first couple of years. you can always move off campus as an upper classmen (like most students do). but you can’t beat the full college experience and the full sorority experience you will have by living on campus at least part of your university days. the bonding and camaraderie make for lifelong memories.
when you are a commuter student, you are always at a distance and have to try a thousand times harder to be a part of things. it can be done, but in the early days if you can be closer to the action, it will set you up nicely for the rest of your time in the sorority. friendships and big/littles are established in the first few months of any membership, so your participation and availability is critical early on. (later you can share an apartment with the sisters you befriend as a new member.)
as a pledge, commuting is totally possible, but you need to be extra energetic, extra dedicated and put forth triple the effort. even when it snows, even when it pours rain, even when there’s a traffic jam ~ you will have to make the drive to campus to attend mandatory chapter meetings, socials, philanthropy events, new member sessions, etc… just know what you are getting into before making your decision! you want to maximize your greek experience and make it the best that it can be! xoxo ;)
For the girl concerned about initiation: 1) Sorority Sugar is totally right, initiations are touching, contemplative ceremonies. 2) Should you encounter anything frightening, uncomfortable, etc at ANY time (pledging, initiation, membership), you can always say NO. Joining a Greek org doesn't mean blindly obeying others. A good chapter will want you because you are strong & moral. If they don't want someone who can stand up for what's right, think hard about whether or not you want them.
AMEN and well said!!! not all chapters obey the rules 100% i guess and if anything goes astray a new member should speak up right way. thank you for sharing…….. xoxo ;)
I joined a sorority this year as an upperclassman and was really looking forward to making a lot of new friends and being apart of something on campus. But the only people I'm relatively close to are the girls in my family (we're new so no bigs/littles). Everyone is so nice but I get the feeling all of the girls already have their "groups" established, and I see pictures of my sisters hanging out with each other on Facebook. I'm working on overcoming my slight shyness; do you have any advice?
it does take awhile to form a tight friend group and to connect with lots of sisters. this is true whether your chapter is new or well established. luckily you are close with your “family” and the photos you see on facebook are probably other families socializing too. start with your circle of friends and build out from there! get together more often as a family and then reach out to some other small groups and soon you will be a part of a medium sized group, etc… pull together a larger group for a pre-party or sit together at the next social event or football game. networking between groups via sisters who have connections is KEY.
think of your chapter as a giant web, you reach other sisters via the channels of the web. one girl knows another girl, who knows another girl and quickly you have a friendly set of sisters to hang out with. you have to be willing to make an extra effort in the early days. go out more than you normally would, even if you’re tired or busy with other things. the first year is important for establishing a friendship foundation. later you can relax a little and step back a bit if you want.
soon you will be focusing on a new recruitment and new members. it all goes by so fast! hang in there, give it your all and accept that the journey is what greek life is all about. make the most of it! xoxo ;)