I have a confession to make: I, a Jewish girl from Long Island, who went through sorority recruitment almost a decade ago, have ended up on University of Alabama sorority rush TikTok. And I’m absolutely fascinated by it.
Then again, this is like the Olympics of sorority rush. These girls are the quintessential southern sorority girls on steroids. I mean… The headbands. The head-to-toe Shein outfits paired with Golden Goose sneakers. The way they say “philanthropy.” It’s all just so next-level.
I’m far from the only one going down this neon-filled rabbit hole.
Creator @LucyMassam_ posted a TikTok speaking for all of us when she said, “I am so invested in this process and it fascinates me so deeply because I have never seen anything like this in my entire life.”
Don’t get me wrong—I went through sorority recruitment at a “Southern” school back in 2012. I know all about the mandatory Panhel shirts, eventually losing your voice, 24/7 snacks, and more than anything, being terrified to utter the words “See you tomorrow.”
But ~back in those days~, no one had ever heard of Shein, let alone Revolve, and we sure as hell did not have TikTok where we posted our OOTDs. Come to think of it, we didn’t even know what an OOTD was; we were too busy adding five different filters to one Instagram post, but I digress.
If anything, TikToks like these highlight just how far we’ve come from the days of Total Sorority Move, American Apparel zip-ups, and sorority Tumblr accounts. And Avicii. Always Avicii.
I mean, my pledge class’ Bid Day shirts were literally yellow pinnies. Meanwhile, these girls are decked out in sparkles, sequins and more pink than I’ve seen in my entire life—and they’re taking over TikTok.
As Taylor Lorenz, technology reporter at The New York Times explained on Twitter: “Last year we didn’t have a rush season because of COVID, so this is the first post-TikTok boom Rush season and I feel like that’s why it’s all over your (and everyone else’s) fyp!”
What has fascinated me about these TikToks is not only the amount of preparation these girls—both in the sororities and the ones going through recruitment—are putting into it, but also how they’re so willing to share every detail with the world.
The Greek life system has been clouded in secrecy for decades. (What was less of a secret? The racism, sexism, and a host of other issues that have been prevalent throughout it for years—but that’s an article for another day.) But part of why I think we are all loving these TikToks is because they’re giving us a peek behind the curtain.
From what I can see, rush at Alabama seems like such a far cry from my experience in a sorority almost 10 years ago. I can’t say I remember my exact outfits as a freshman, but if I had to guess, it involved a lot of ripped skinny jeans, black, and those Jeffrey Campbell Lita booties. I guarantee you there was not a Teva shoe or pink sparkly cowboy hat in sight.
Their outfits are like the Met Gala for Americana fashion with a Gen Z twist. They’re all decked out in LoveShackFancy and fake designer jewelry from Amazon. There’s no in-between.
It’s not just the outfits, either, although that’s a big facet of what’s so captivating about the trend. They’re also sharing what’s in their “rush bags” (Longchamp, always), complete with portable fans, umbrellas, and of course, Kleenex.
And as for the sororities? They’re going viral. They’re showing off their houses, the type of girls in the house, and even how creative they can get with a candy theme. GreekRank who? We don’t know her.
Even though we didn’t have TikTok when I was going through rush, we did have Facebook and Instagram, and I can’t even fathom the thought of someone posting details about their outfits or even a smidge of how they were feeling about the process. Imagine posting a Facebook status upset that you were cut from Kappa?! Shudders.
Everything was top-secret, and don’t even get me started on how tight-lipped we had to be once we were on the other side of it (lest you get in trouble with… a group of your peers with basically made-up titles). Like, no, we just liked lining up in alphabetical order for the fun of it, don’t worry, and it’s a total coincidence that you were paired up with someone who is friends with your best friend’s roommate.
If you, like me, are also far beyond legal drinking age, I’m sure these videos even provide a drop of nostalgia, too. You’re getting a chance to live vicariously through these girls, even for a few seconds, albeit with much better hairstyles and a better grasp on color theory.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a sisterhood round of videos to watch.
Image: Al Drago/CQ Roll Call / Getty Images
Ahh, recruitment szn. Where do I begin? For starters, recruitment is stressful as F*CK. For both sisters in sororities and PNMs (or “potential new members” for those of you who
live under a rock go to a school without Greek life), recruitment just might be the most draining experience of your entire college experience (Aside from pledging, finals, the week before graduation…okay, it’s all exhausting).
Sorority girls act like they survived a war when recruitment is over and TBH, it’s not that far from the truth! Even though recruitment is one of the most stressful parts of college (aside from the sh*t show that is trying to go to a frat formal weekend), hopefully with these tips you can slay the process and get into the sorority of your dreams. That sounds cheesy, but this sh*t is going to be important for the next four years.
sorority girls PNM’s
doing the questioning
chants™️ why they
— Jenna Chandler (@jennachan_) August 1, 2019
Unless you go to a school in the south where you have to put together multiple outfits that speak to who you are as a person (head to toe Lilly Pulitzer), many schools make things easy by requiring all PNMs to wear the same T-shirt with jeans. This “uniform” takes some of the pressure off of waking up at 6am to do your makeup and hair to be ready to schmooze by 7:30, and provides an even playing field for all PNMs. The only downside is that your outfit choice doesn’t speak to your individuality. But honestly, just feel lucky that for one week, you don’t have to stress about what to wear.
My best recruitment fashion tip is to wear a statement necklace or bold pair of shoes to stand out. I wore an opal choker and rose gold slip-on sneakers when I went through recruitment, and they were great conversation starters. Although your recruitment outfit may not be the best portrayal of your personality, tasteful and interesting accessories are a great way to distinguish yourself from the crowd and make yourself feel like a bad bitch.
Unfortunately, recruitment is one of the most germ-infested periods of college, aside from any time you step foot into a frat house. To make things worse, many schools have spring recruitment, which is conveniently during the height of flu season.
To avoid getting sick, you need to looooove hand sanitizer as much as you you’ll love your “perfect big.” Use it after every single round of recruitment, and wash your hands often. If you do feel like you’re coming down with something, do yourself a favor and slam some tea, water, and OJ, and make sure you’re eating, because your health is the last thing you want to be worried about during recruitment. Nobody wants to hear you scream-sneezing in between rounds.
They say the five Bs to avoid are: booze, Barack, Bible, bills, and boys—or, in other words, alcohol, politics, religion, money, and garbage. Oh oops, I mean men. While this is a pretty good rule to follow, as you may notice, all of these topics are things a lot of people bond over. Especially that first one. But, the purpose of this rule is to make sure PNMs join sororities for the right reasons, not because one sorority mixes with the hottest frat or considers themselves rich.
That being said, these topics may very well come up anyway. My advice would be to go with the direction the sister you’re talking to is going. If Stacy from Alpha Oopsilon confides in you about exclusively going to Sigma Apple Pie, this is your chance to bond on the DL over something you’re not supposed to be discussing…but make sure the SBICs (sorority bitches in charge) don’t hear you. Fraternities and boys in general are probably the only exception to the five Bs to avoid. It’s in your best interest to avoid talking politics, religion, and finances, unless the person in front of you explicitly brings those topics up. Just pull out your best small talk, ask questions, and for f*ck’s sake at least pretend like you give a sh*t about whatever it is they’re saying.
Truth be told, the sister you’re fake laughing with probably doesn’t feel like talking about philanthropy to begin with, so just smile, nod, and listen for opportunities to bond over literally anything else. The girls you meet in the rounds from each sorority are pretty much trained in “recruitment etiquette,” so it should be fairly easy to follow their lead.
As bullsh*t as it sounds (especially if you’re basing your recruitment expectations based off of movies like Sydney White and The House Bunny), the best way to have a successful sorority recruitment is to be yourself and be confident. People always say “trust the process” of recruitment, but that only works if you’re not being fake. As with all things, sometimes sh*t happens and doesn’t go the way you initially hoped. You may not get a bid from your number one sorority and on top of that have blisters from practically spending a week straight in heels, but if you’re being authentic, the process should work out and you will end up in the right place. It sounds corny, but it’s true!!
Don’t compare yourself to other PNMs, and do be steadfast in the belief that you’re a badass bitch. Don’t get caught up in the bullshit that is the “tier system.” Choose the sorority where you feel the most at home, because your experience will be 10x better than in a sorority where you’re always being fake af.
All in all, sorority recruitment can actually be the longest five days of your life, but just think about all the kweens who went through recruitment before you. Stay calm, stay healthy, and walk into the experience with confidence.
Make the most of the 30 minutes you have to leave a lasting impression, and don’t be nervous, because girls can smell insecurity from a mile away. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed during the process, just remember the girls you’re trying to impress are literally the same ones who roll up to your 8am hungover and in sweats. And if you follow our tips, you could be too.
Image: Christina Davis / Pixabay; offcampus / Instagram; jennachan_ / Twitter