Saturday, August 15, 2009

Texting, Recruitment, & Other General Whatever

Yesterday, I sent so many text messages that I think my phone wanted to curl up in the fetal position in the bottom of my purse and beg for mercy. So, although I find myself absolutely sick to death of the topic de jour (Recruitment), I also find myself strangely pleased that I have gotten my money's worth out of Verizon this month with my unlimited texting plan that totally rocks.

THAT, Verizon, is what is known as karma. You make me wait in your store, I'll text myself into oblivion the following month. I think we're even least until you drop the next bill and I have to go back down there to explain that there is no way we used a gazillion minutes on an application that my husband had the good sense to block. So, wait, maybe we AREN'T even yet. But I've digressed.

Yesterday, the texting started bright and early as the first indication of how things were going to end up gradually started coming into focus. OH! We are nowhere near purchasing any Greek paraphenalia for their dorm rooms, but at least some of them now know where they are definitely NOT going to end up at the end of all of this. Without daring to give away any trade secrets and only discussing the most basic and widely known and accepted, I will tell you that the process of getting a group from a starting total of 1,500-ish to a pledge class of about 5% of that is an amazing feat in and of itself. So, if you ever pass a university on Bid Day and see all of the little groups with their Greek letters and balloons, you might know that the survivors (pledges) have earned all of the hoo-hah that you are witnessing. The rush chairman is now capable of running a Fortune 500 company, and the sisters along with their advisors/alums/national people...feel that they have just given birth. And they the new pledge class.

In any given Recruitment, you have several factions, but none is as vocal as the area girls. These girls know who you are, what you've been up to, whose boyfriend you stole, and who your Mama and Daddy are. If you think that you'll breeze on through without the favor of the girls in the chapter, you might want to think again. Of course, if your Mama was in the sorority, or your four great-grandmothers back founded it, it will be a little tougher for them to make their case. However, they are also more likely to be able to produce photographic evidence of any indiscretion.

The girls are all cute...and those who aren't probably have something else extraordinary about them. While it is probably true that every sorority is looking for some measure of is equally true that these girls are more likely looking for a good fit. Those who tend to get in when they don't fit well do not tend to last.

A number of them have a 4.00 GPA, but others have a 4.20. Some are talented beyond measure, have a Daddy who was once the QB for the university football team, or have been the Homecoming Queen at their local high school. Many of them were queens and princesses and have the tiaras to prove it. (Yay!...we'll be bringing that up during Recruitment next year.) However, at the bigger universities...what differentiated a girl at exceptional...but she is not going to be the only one with those credentials. She is going to have to overcome her nervousness, talk, and figure out where she belongs. She will also have to try to sell herself as a potential asset to that house because there are so many girls...and so little time.

Oh, there are exceptions. Every year, there appears to be a small group of girls who have something akin to rock star status. And which house they choose is a topic of conversation for weeks and then for years after she has come and gone. That's part of the uniqueness of the process.

There are also houses that are considered to be excellent houses, and those that seem to be good houses. There are normally no "bad" houses although sometimes there is one. Being released from the excellent houses usually means that a girl is not having a "good rush" that year. Why this happens is baffling sometimes...and sometimes...not so much.

There are any number of reasons why a particular girl is retained or why she is released. There is no magic to it, but let me assure you that there is a process. A process that every house utilizes in its own way, so to even try to discuss it is futile. So, I'll just let that go.

Some of the most common reasons for release include grade point average and any bad behavior that has occurred...ever. The GPA is widely regarded as a measure because if you pledge a class of girls that don't survive the first semester, how will you pay the house bills second semester? Also, it is particularly helpful as a general tool for weeding out as it would otherwise be extremely burdensome to have to fully research the total number coming through. Minds would snap from the sheer enormity of it, and if the girls have to leave campus to recover...they won't be there to pay the house bills.

So, normally, the grade cuts come early in the week along with the ones in which there are no recommendation letters on file. It sends a message of "nothing just should have studied a little harder" or "we know nothing about you." Hurtful? Yes. But at the same is good to get that out of the way instead of having it drag on until later in the week when everyone has gotten a little chummier. For some, Recruitment ends early for this reason.

Some girls are invited back because Mama, MeeMaw or Sister was in the sorority, and the sorority want to make absolutely sure that there is a good fit. These girls usually last another day, and they are sometimes - but not always - hellbent on making sure that you know who they are. And why not? If you are in a sea of beauty, talent, and intelligence, using whatever floatation device you have at your disposal is not all bad. Nor is it a guarantee. It is kind of like getting a college degree. It is meant to open doors for you. What you do after the door is opened is up to you.

Other girls have D-R-A-M-A all over them. And much like we can see that coming a mile away as adult women...the girls can see that potential just as clearly. What they are looking for is a genuine fit. If you bring more to the table...great! But if a girl is sitting at the table waiting to be served and expects everyone to change to suit HER...she'll find her behind out that door so fast it will make her nail polish dry instantly.

An elaborate system of trying to figure out who is headed in your direction varies from group to group. But most girls who think that the sorority is going to have the patience to try to pull it out of them, are sadly mistaken. They will cut their losses and will move on to the ones that they believe have it all figured out. Yes, some awesome girls are released. Yes, sometimes releasing them causes intense regret and more than a few tears. Yes, sometimes it hurts the girl who ends up bewildered because everyone was really so nice at the party the day before.

But she may as well know now that if you want something in this life, you cannot wait for other people to try to figure it out and bring it to you. Unless you are in possession of a large trust fund, you are going to have to get out there and figure out what you want and how to attain it. May as well begin with sorority rush.

And then there are the discussions. Some have said that these are painful, and others have felt that these are necessary to get from Point A to Point B. Nobody wants to pledge a girl and then find out that she was on the cover of Girls Gone Wild XII. Facebook is a wonderful thing...but what flies in some parts of the country certainly won't work in other places. We want diversity, but we also don't want to have to form a committee to track down a group of pledges who are just absolutely buck wild. That's just too tacky and it impacts who is coming through in future years. Plus, they'll flunk out and won't be there to pay the house bill.

On the other side, there appears to be no rhyme or reason as to why a girl is released from this house or that house...only to be a top girl at another one. The truth...and I mean this from the bottom of my heart...are you ready? Really? Here it is: NOBODY KNOWS! Just like each of us gravitate to certain friends...these girls find something that they like in certain ones...and it can be as simple as the luck of the draw in who is talking to them on any given day, how much influence the girl talking to them has in the house, a great conversation that starts a connection, the competitive level in a particular year, where she is from, the way she speaks, her legacy status, and the sorority's best guess as to her intentions. These all come together in a unique way...and I prefer to believe that it all works out exactly as it should.

I saw a sign on a friend's Facebook page that a said "From the outside looking in, you can't understand it. From the inside looking out, you can't explain it." Truer words were never spoken.

So, as I prepare for the final day of Recruitment's hoping that all of the houses get the girls that they want, and that the cosmic chess game gets a rest before they start recruiting for next year's pledge class. Fat chance.

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