Better Late Than Never

by. Lauren C.

Everyone comes into college with their own perception of what Greek life is. I came from a small high school and was your typical tomboy. My best friend, being the polar opposite of me in every way, especially because she’s a Gator, knew that Greek life was for her. I thought being in a sorority meant that you liked to dance in slow motion as it rained glitter and have pillow fights in your mansion.

I carried this notion with me into college. I moved in a week after my roommate and suitemates because they were all going through recruitment. When I arrived to Tallahassee, my guy friends from high school showed me around campus. As we walked up Jefferson Street, it was like a floodgate of young women was just opened. Hundreds and hundreds of women were running out of houses carrying their wedges and sprinting up the road. I was so puzzled by what was happening in front of me until it finally clicked… this is recruitment! As I was setting up my dorm my roommate walked in on the phone with her mom crying about how much she loved this one chapter, but was so scared they wouldn’t pick her. My suitemates soon came home after her and they all were talking about how their days went and this foreign concept to me know as “pref day.” They all were emotionally drained and went to bed really early, so I did what any college freshmen would do a couple days before the first day of school and binge watched Netflix. The next day was bid day, which I still didn’t fully understand. When everyone came home I found out they got the chapters they wanted and I was happy for them, but still didn’t see what all the hoopla was about.

As the year went on my roommate and suitemates became some of my closest friends. I was introduced to their sisters and they even brought me to their chapter houses. I soon realized sorority women and their chapters are not the clichés we see in the media. These are real women that do extraordinary things. Some of the most inspiring, intelligent, and courageous women I met that year were members of the Panhellenic community. As my freshmen year was winding down, I thought more and more about wanting to go through recruitment. I finally decided days before the deadline to sign up for recruitment and all my friends were so excited for me. Everyone had their own opinion of where I would find my home, but I still tried to keep an open mind.

I was the first member of my family to go through recruitment, so my parents weren’t very accepting when I told them I wanted to do it. All my friends had told me it’s the best worst week of your life and me being the stubborn person I am was thinking

A week before recruitment and two weeks before the beginning of my sophomore year, I moved into my apartment with my three best friends, one of who was my suitemate from freshmen year and already belonged to a chapter. The other two were going through recruitment that year as well. No matter what people told us or how hard they tried to prepare us, nothing compared to the actual process of going through recruitment. It was Sunday and all PNMs were supposed to meet at the Civic Center. I walked into a room full of energy with Recruitment Counselors waving their decorated signs and PNMs racing to meet them. As soon as I walked in I knew I had no idea what I was in for. I introduced myself to my Recruitment Counselor and she was so excited to meet me and radiated positivity. As everyone in our group started to arrive, we started talking about where we were from, our majors, and, of course, our age. To my surprise, I wasn’t the only sophomore going through recruitment. There were even some juniors and seniors who decided to do it and that made me feel a lot better.

The beginning of day one our cluster was walking toward our first house when we realized we were late and start sprinting down Jefferson St. We had a minute until the doors opened and our Recruitment Counselors were racing to get us in order while telling us how beautiful we were and throwing our bags into the bins. 

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The first round went by more smoothly as the day went on. At the end of round one, I was amazed by all the women I had met and all that they had done with the support of their chapter. I had thought we were being told to “be authentic” because it was a good slogan and looked good on a headband. However, as I met women from each chapter, I realized they were all so different and each had their own story.

I absolutely loved recruitment and don’t regret my decision at all, but I’m not going to lie to you because it is hard. It is physically and emotionally draining. With that being said, recruitment was the longest week of my life that led to the greatest three years of my college experience. Bid day was like a carnival and party all rolled into one that I never wanted to end, especially because my chapter had some fire mac n cheese.

School started and I now had a place to go in my free time. I tried to go to my chapter as much as possible because I wanted to meet everyone and get involved. I joined the IM flag football and soccer team. As the semester went on, we were quickly approaching election season for my chapter. I’ve always been involved in every organization I’ve been a part of and that wasn’t going to change. I applied for numerous positions and later found out I was chosen to serve on my chapter’s philanthropy committee. It wasn’t much, but it was a start. By the end of my sophomore year I was living on cloud nine. I had amazing friends both within and outside of my chapter and I was optimistic for what the next year would hold.

This past year was full of some of the greatest moments of my life. I went through recruitment this time on the inside. I recruited a woman who wanted to be involved and wanted to be a part of something bigger than herself. I fell in love with her and she ran home to me on bid day. She then became my little, my roommate, and above all my best friend. That year I was elected as the internal philanthropy chair, the assistant Dance Marathon representative, and got to move into our chapter house.

If you’re considering going through recruitment and you’re not a freshmen, don’t feel for a second that you’re coming in late to the game. This is the most welcoming community I have ever seen. I have made my forever friends thanks to Panhellenic and have discovered who I am. Not everyone is ready to go through recruitment as a freshman and that is perfectly fine. It’s better late than never to join something bigger than yourself, to be surrounded by empowering women that push you to be the best person you can be, and to find the people who will love you through thick and thin. I have found all of this and more thanks to Panhellenic and hope you all find it too.