Written by Hannah Shelton
College is overflowing with new opportunities, people, and decisions. One of the earliest, and most rewarding, decisions I made as a freshman in college introduced me to abundant opportunities, genuine people, and a radiant community, all in one week. It was my decision to partake in Panhellenic Formal Recruitment.
Prior to joining a sorority that has since become my second home, I was hesitant to become a part of the Greek Community due to wrongful preconceived notions and, as the first person in my family to join a sorority, I had plenty of them.
On the first day of recruitment, I sat under a tent and anxiously waited to go into my first sorority house. I envisioned the inside looking like Buckingham Palace and could not tell if that would be a good or bad thing. Not only was I in awe of the house I was about to enter, but I was also intimidated by the many women around me who knew what to expect from the recruitment process, who had family members in different chapters, and who were excited for the week ahead.
Throughout the week of recruitment, I encouraged myself to look beyond my preconceived notions and be present with my experience and every chapter that I visited. I realized that these were not just brick houses inhabited by smiling girls with name tags, they were homes to women, sisters, and people of like-minded values and hearts, each wanting the best for current and new members. I realized that not having family members who were part of Greek life was not a disadvantage because regardless of what year or chapter you are a part of, it is entirely your experience. I realized that the women who were going through recruitment alongside me were not “competing” against me to end up in a certain chapter, but were people who were equally as eager and excited as me to find their place and people at the University of Florida.
Altering my mindset and preconceived notions of Greek Life enabled me to fully experience and enjoy the positive and exciting process that recruitment is intended to be.
As I reflect on my first year as a member of a sorority, I realize that it has transformed my college experience, introduced me to my forever friends, and has given me countless blessings that will remain with me long after I graduate college... and that was just in one year! This community has empowered me to obtain leadership positions, introduced me to various philanthropic works, and has pushed me to become the best and brightest version of myself.
As challenging as it may seem to set aside preconceived notions, it is the most important and beneficial thing that any potential new member can do during the recruitment process. Keeping an open mind and heart allowed me to have a positive recruitment experience, meet incredible women outside of the chapter I joined and ultimately introduced me to a community and chapter that I am forever grateful to call home.