My Recruitment Experience
I can confidently say joining Gamma Phi Beta is one of the best decisions I have made during my college career, and yes, I realize you may have heard every other member of Greek life say this. I rushed in 2020, which meant Zoom Recruitment. I was super skeptical of the recruitment process BEFORE covid so you can only imagine how I felt when Clemson Panhellenic announced rush would be virtual. I was so nervous! Everything had to be perfect, my hair, my outfit, my round one video, I was definitely feeling the pressure to find the right chapter for me. Every time I was dropped my heart broke a little, I didn't understand why I wasn't good enough. The best advice I could give you is to not have this mindset! The girls you are talking to are on your side; we are here to push you in the right direction, not to put you down. The support I have received and the friends I've gained from Gamma Phi Beta made all that heartbreak worth it. I'm currently writing this blog from my desk at my internship, an internship that my social media position in Gamma Phi Beta helped me pursue. These girls have taught me so much about myself and my worth, I deserve to feel real connection and be a part of a healthy sisterhood and so do you! Enjoy the journey :)
- Tommie Swink
Just three short years ago, we were all standing in your shoes - so anxious and excited for what was about to come! It's crazy to think about how fast the time flew by now that we are entering into our final year at Clemson. We wanted to share with you some things we wish we knew as we started Recruitment.
"In rounds, talk about what makes you happy and what inspires you. Don't just talk about something because you think people want to hear that. We want to know what makes you so awesome!! Don't stray way from your true heart!" - Kayla
"Just be 100% authentic! We want to get to know the real you, and it's the best way to find your home in Panhellenic!" - Hannah
"Be open-minded and look for a place you feel genuinely comfortable in. Trust the process because you will end up exactly where you are supposed to be, whether you know it at the time or not!" - Emily
"Recruitment is a great way to meet new people who are going through the same thing as you, so be open to making connections with other PNMs. Even if you don't end up in the same sorority, they could end up being some of your best friends!" - Mary
"I know this process can be scary and overwhelming, but when you start to feel anxious or nervous, just take a deep breath! Everything will work out the way it's supposed to. Trust the process, and you got this!" - Arianna
These girls have made my experience at Clemson the wildest, most fun adventure of my life! When I look back at where I was 3 years ago, it's insane to see how much I've grown into the person I'm meant to be. But even still, I cannot thank my 18-year old self enough for choosing Gamma Phi and choosing these incredible women to be my sisters. My advice is to try to stop and look around - when you're in line, when you're sitting with your PiChi group, when you're in rounds. Take it all in because these could be the women who not only become your best friends, but also help you to grow into the best version of yourself.
Four years doesn't sound like a long time, and it doesn't feel like it either. These four years will bring some of the toughest mountains to climb, but the views are incredible, so make sure you're bringing the best people along. You got this, and we cannot wait to get to know you so soon!
“Why did you choose Clemson?” is one of the many questions you’ll be asked time and time again before you get to college, as an ice breaker in lectures, and even as an alumni. Maybe it’s because Clemson has your major, or you’re a legacy, wanted to go out of state or stay close to home. Clemson was such an easy choice for me as soon as I was accepted for three reasons
1. Clemson is in my home state, but far enough away from home that I could feel an independence I hadn’t felt before.
I’m from Columbia, South Carolina and it’s comforting knowing I can go home quickly if I need to, but while I’ve been here, I’ve found a sense of independence and learned how to live on my own.
2. Clemson has a large student body. I went to Blythewood High School, which had about 2,000 students in the whole student body. When I was looking for my perfect fit, I wanted somewhere where I could branch out and meet more people. I wanted a big school because I didn’t know anything other than a small town. And while Clemson is a “town,” you’re apart of a family there. Something bigger than yourself.
3. Clemson is a perfect college town. I knew I didn’t want to go to school in a big city, so Clemson stood out to me from the beginning. Clemson has a great student centered atmosphere that makes you feel safe and secure. There is nightlife, great places to eat, and sports shops lining the streets of downtown. There are also wonderful study spaces, diverse majors, fields of study, and students from all backgrounds who all have one thing in common, they chose Clemson. It’s a decision I haven’t regretted since I enrolled.
When I enrolled, everyone was talking about rushing a sorority. I had no idea what that was about. My mom wasn’t in one, but all my friends wanted to do this “rush” thing. I didn’t. So freshman year, I sat back and didn’t really involve myself in much because I wanted to focus on academics. I watched some of my friends form long lasting friendships with their sisters, go to functions, and get involved in their philanthropy. Freshman year is what made me want to rush, because seeing my friends involved made me want to be involved too. Freshman year also helped me learn to manage my time and know what I could handle academically and socially. As soon as I could submit my registration sophomore year, I did. Now I’m forming life long friendships in Gamma Phi, getting dressed up for functions, and loving being involved in our philanthropy (that I love so dearly, pls talk to me about it). Gamma Phi has given me a sense of self confidence, a group of leading women who build me up, study buddies, friends, and most importantly the sisters I never had.
What This Sisterhood Means to Me
The word sisterhood can have so many different meanings. I learned this when I was going through recruitment and joining Gamma Phi Beta. Going through recruitment, I was looking for girls that I could 100% be myself around and Gamma Phi showed me every aspect of sisterhood and the friendships that I knew I wanted. Joining Gamma Phi, I learned that sisterhood was so much more than a just group of girls you can be yourself around. The girls I have met and became friends with are people who will drop everything to help others. I have friendships that I never thought I would have because of the amazing sisterhood Gamma Phi ensures. These girls are the most genuine people I have ever met and I’m so happy to be apart of something so great.
The word sisterhood has gained so much meaning to me throughout my time in GPhi. I have learned that, in order to have a good friend, you need to be a good friend. I've learned to always help others and be there for them at any time. These women are so much more than friends, they truly are sisters. I honestly never thought that joining a sorority would mean so much to me, but now I know it is the best thing I have done. Not only do I have the best memories from GPhi, but I have also found girls that will be my sisters and friends forever. And I love every single one of them!
If you are at the edge of going through recruitment, I can honestly say that I am your girl to listen to. I was the girl who submitted her application for recruitment the day it was due...to be exact, I submitted it 6 hours before the submission deadline. No one in my family was a part of Greek Life, and many of my friends weren't involved either. I was a sophomore with a set friend group and was very comfortable with my college experience so far. Never in a million years did I think I would want to be a part of a sorority, but I cannot explain to you how grateful I am that I decided to go Greek. I was a sophomore rushing and had no idea what was going on, so I went into recruitment with an open mind and found my home, my people, my place.
I can honestly say that being a part of Greek Life has given me some of my best friends and has given me unforgettable memories. You might find people in your major so that you can sit together on the first day and know a familiar face (@Awease). You might find your future bridesmaid and forever idol (@M-Dog). A Big that truly is your person (@Sbrat). A group of girls that genuinely never have a dull moment and become your people (@ Victoria, Becca, and Conyers). Your roommate (@Jazzy). And if you're lucky like me, you can turn your best friend from middle school into your forever sister (@Conyers). I also found an organization with a philanthropy that makes me want to get more involved in the community. But most importantly, I found an organization that truly makes me proud to be a part of Greek Life.
I know it's probably said too much and sounds cheesy, but go with your gut feeling and take that leap of faith. Being a part of Greek Life has given me an unforgettable college experience, from going to events with sisters, attending philanthropy events, being a part of a great Panhellenic community to gamedays and everything in between. I am so excited for you to find your forever home. Just remember to trust the process and never doubt yourself for a minute.
As always Go Tigers and Go Greek!
My senior year of high school I held a leadership position in all of the clubs and organizations I was a part of, so finding leadership opportunities in college was really important. Going through recruitment as a freshman, I really looked for an organization that would allow for me to pursue leadership roles that genuinely interested me. As I head into my senior year at Clemson and final year as a collegiate member of Gamma Phi, I have had so many different chances to pursue this passion.
Once I realized that New Member Educator (aka Pledge Mom) was a position in the chapter I knew that it was something I was very interested in. I was elected to be Pledge Mom starting in the second semester of my sophomore year and worked with the best group of 10 COB girls. It was definitely a stressful job, but so worth it to see all of them get initiated and continue to grow as Gamma Phis. Then in the fall I was entering my hardest semester of college and had 95 new members asking me questions about all sorts of things. I was constantly stressed and doing 10 million things at once, but it was so worth it because I knew that my job would directly impact each and every one of the new members. I really did feel like a mom; I gave rides, I became a therapist, I helped them make their spring schedules and I watched each of them find their place within the pledge class and the chapter. Because of these interactions, I fell in love with being pledge mom all over and remembered why I had wanted to be a leader within Gamma Phi.
After such an eventful fall semester I decided that I could handle the pressure and demands of a larger position and decided to run for Executive Board as Education Vice President. I had had an inside look into what the EVP’s responsibilities were when I was New Member Ed. I have been EVP since last spring, and while it comes with its own set of challenges, it has been one of the best things I have done as a Gamma Phi. I get to be on exec with my bestie since bid day, Kelly, and I have grown so close to all of the other members of exec. We each bring something different to the table that allows us to do our job to the best of our ability. Jayme and her Google calendar make sure everyone knows what’s going on and when. Ashton’s passion pushes all of us to remember the bigger picture of our roles. Audrey’s creativity allows all of us to deal with any curve balls that come our way. Gwyn steps up in stressful situations and gets the job done. Liv’s sass and sense of humor keep everyone laughing. Kelly’s ability to listen makes her the best person to vent to. And Erica’s support and guidance as our advisor keeps all of us sane.
I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to hold a leadership position for the last two years because it has made my Gamma Phi experience all that I hoped it would be. I have been able to grow so much as a leader through all of the relationships, meetings and conventions I have attended. I was lucky enough to know exactly which roles I wanted to hold but there are so many different departments and committees within the chapter that anyone could find a leadership role for their interests. Serving as a leader has been an honor and something that I will remember forever. I’m so grateful for all of the support my sisters have given me, all of the chances Epsilon Theta offers and all of the memories I’ve been able to create as New Member Ed and EVP.
Not Your Usual Sorority
Sometimes I catch myself explaining Gamma Phi to others as the “nontraditional sorority experience” as if there’s supposed to be a specific way a sorority should be. Sorority life, especially at southern schools, comes with a lot of stereotypes and can come across as overwhelming, which in turn prevents a lot of amazing, unique women from reaching their own sisterhood. I was the same way as a freshman! I had many loose ideas of what sisterhood is, which in my head included lots of glitter, Lily Pulitzer letter shirts, and an obscure idea of the “big/little process.” This initially deterred me away from the sorority experience as a whole, especially when surrounded by girls who have been preparing for recruitment since they were younger. However after joining Gamma Phi, I realized there was way more to a sisterhood than what I had seen on social media. All of a sudden, I was surrounded by girls passionate about all sorts of hobbies. Wanna go hiking? Rollerskating? Or maybe just binge-watching horrible Netflix rom-coms… there’s always a sister down for the ride.
Three sisters in particular, Emma, Madeline, and Brianna, have shown me how unique Gamma Phi girls are. Emma and I met during the big/little process last fall after silently stalking each others’ Instagrams for the whole semester. On our first (of many) Moe’s dates, I remember laughing so hard I almost missed the last bus home! I got so lucky to have this little ball of energy as my little, and can always count on her to brighten my day.
Nobody else but Madeline would be equally excited to drive 25 minutes to go to a chain restaurant with me while blasting ‘4 Non Blondes’ in the car. And then was equally as excited to sit in the parking lot after one intense food coma. She is always down for an adventure, no matter how strange or far we’re going. Having a true, real friend like Madeline has helped me become more authentic within the sisterhood.
Gamma Phi has also acted as a creative outlet for me, especially being surrounded by other artistic sisters. I can say wholeheartedly that Brianna, our homecoming chair last year, is one of the most artistically talented people I know. Seeing her become so enthralled with designing and creating such a massive piece of art made me feel that much more at home. On the first night we properly hung out for the first time, I remember us saying how it was crazy we never knew how much we had in common. At the end of the day, I’m constantly learning new things about my sisters. Gamma Phi is no cookie-cutter mold focused on how you look, but rather a sisterhood focused on sharing your strengths and meeting a diverse group of young women.
Finding My Way to Gamma Phi
When I graduated high school, I had no idea what I was going to do. I think I changed majors about five times before I even registered for classes. I couldn’t decide where I wanted to go--I knew I wanted to be near my family, but none of the schools around Seattle seemed like the right school for me. So I settled for spending my freshman year of college at a small liberal arts school about 45 minutes from my parents’ house.
I like to say that school is the polar opposite of Clemson. This school had no football team, a distinct lack of school spirit, lots of unfriendly people, and no Greek life. But it was a very typically Pacific Northwest type of school, and if you know me you know that’s basically my whole personality. No matter how much time I spent doing homework in the very indie on-campus coffee shop, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this wasn’t the Perfect Fit I had been dreaming of. When it came down to it, I wanted to go to a big school with a good football team and Greek life. I knew I couldn’t get that in Washington, because the University of Washington was really hard to get into and Washington State University was six hours away. So I felt like I had to settle.
Halfway through my freshman year, my parents started seriously considering moving to Charleston. I immediately thought of transferring to Clemson. My dad got a job lined up and I applied to Clemson. It was the only school I applied to. I had all my eggs in one basket. I remember checking Clemson’s Twitter page to see that they had sent out the acceptance letters one weekend while I was home. I was not expecting to receive my acceptance letter that day. I think my neighbor has security footage of me crying in joy and relief next to my mailbox.
I registered for recruitment as soon as I could, which ended up being a couple days after I moved to Charleston. I was excited but also nervous. I’d heard horror stories about sororities in the south being super intense and super crazy and super hardcore. Greek life in Washington state isn’t very widespread--if a school has sororities, it probably doesn’t have more than two or three. So formal recruitment was quite the culture shock to me! I was hoping to meet at least one girl from Seattle or at least from the west coast. I think that’s one of the things that originally made Gamma Phi stand out to me--the recruitment decorations included a map with pins in all the cities the sisters were from, and there was a pin in Washington state.
It’s the corniest thing and I know everybody says it, but Gamma Phi really has given me a home away from home. I mean that somewhat literally--Rebecca is the first girl I made friends with and now we’re roommates. My big, Kayley, lets me hang out with her cats when I miss my own. Miranda, my twin, is the only person I trust to keep up with me on the dance floor at all the functions. It really does feel like one big sisterhood. It took me a little while, but I finally found my Perfect Fit.
To My Sisters & Myself
Spring semester of Sophomore year at Clemson I went through a lot of personal issues and stopped doing many of the things that I once loved. I had a hard time finding ways to pursue my passions and felt small at a school with thousands of other people. I become really lost with myself and the things that made me happy, and while this caused me to miss out on a lot of the sorority functions and events, I never really felt alone or left out. Whenever I would go to a meeting or event for Gamma Phi I would talk to different sisters and it would be like I didn’t miss anything at all. I could go without seeing them for a month but still feel at home the next time I went. There have been many times where I went to an event fearing being alone, but my friends would come up to me and talk to me and embrace me like the numerous times before. The support and acceptance that I have received within Gamma Phi have helped to create a comfortability within myself and in the person that I am today. Before I would be too shy or fearful to get involved and put myself out there, but thanks to Gamma Phi I am more confident in myself than ever. Not only do I know that I have a group of people at Clemson who really care about me and my success, but I know that they enjoy being around me and that I am an important part of the sorority – that I am liked and valued.
Gamma Phi has introduced me to so many individuals who inspire me to be a better self. I see my sisters traveling through countries around the world, working their dream jobs in different cities, and really living their best lives. I have become the type of person who now wants to get involved and share my ideas instead of remaining quiet with the fearing being rejected. I know that I will not be judged for who I am or for showing my real personality. The people in Gamma Phi have many individual differences, yet we form a group of people who genuinely enjoy being around each other. We do not need to pretend or to fit a certain mold to be loved. After joining Gamma Phi, I have become the type of person who isn’t afraid of being myself and I know that I do not need to act a certain way to be accepted. My sisters have showed me that our passions and talents are what make us unique. It took many years, but I finally feel confident in the person I am and want to showcase my unique traits. I credit a lot of that to my sisters and the healthy environment that Gamma Phi has created.
To my big, Sara, and my grand-big, Autumn, thank you for helping me get more involved in the Clemson community and for bringing me into the most supportive family. To my little, Virginia, thank you for inspiring me with your kindness and adding more laughter to my life. To PC 18, thank you for introducing me to so many unique people and making life more interesting. And to Gamma Phi, thank you for always accepting me and helping build confidence within myself that will last a lifetime.
Finding a Home Far From Home
Moving 12 hours away from my family, leaving all my friends behind, going to a school where I didn’t know a single soul, about to begin a recruitment process that I knew absolutely nothing about, it was scary, to say the least. But it was also exhilarating and new too. And I was so excited to see what was in store for me.
I had no clue what to expect from recruitment. I didn’t know if it was going to be small interviews, presentations, or something else. So of course I felt scared and unprepared when I walked into Littlejohn Coliseum that first day. No one knew me and I knew nobody. I could choose to be anybody I wanted to be, and I decided to just be unapologetically me. I reminded myself of every time I stepped into a new room, meeting new women from different sororities. The fear that was weighing me down started to lighten and I began to have fun.
Gamma Phi was not the first sorority I had met, and I’m actually thankful for that because, as the long day wore on, I got more comfortable with showing off who I was. So when I walked into that Gamma Phi room, and the woman, who would later become my Big, scooped my arm, I felt at home. And yes that sounds so cliche, but there’s really no other way I could describe it. I felt like this is the place where I could walk around with no makeup, in a baggy t-shirt, and still feel loved. Jayme was the first woman I talked to, and we discovered that we’re both from Pennsylvania and bonded over the fact that Wawa is way better than Sheetz. The next round, I met Liv, who was surprisingly from my small hometown. I had known Liv for all of 2 minutes and I felt so comfortable talking to her about how scared I was leaving home. Gamma Phi made me feel like, not only could I find my place at Clemson, I could find my home.
It’s been almost two years since those conversations and I can still say that I am beyond grateful that I chose Gamma Phi. In that time, I’ve made friends whose homes are far away like mine and friends whose families live just around the corner. I’ve made friends whose parents took me in for tailgates and dinners when I needed family time the most. I’ve made friends who go on adventures with me and know how to make me laugh when I’m feeling homesick. I’ve made friends who I can’t live without so decided I need them as my roommates. I’ve made friends who push me to be my very best, as a Clemson student and as a person. I’ve made friends who are my family. And I have Gamma Phi to thank for that.