There are a million amazing things about being in a sorority — lifelong friendships, community involvement, fun costume parties — but rush tends to be a little (and sometimes more than a little) stressful. That's why it's good to figure out ways to get ready for rush before the chaos begins — because there will be chaos. Sure, rush week is a time to bond with your current sisters while searching for your future ones, but it's also the most stressful week of the semester. There is song and cheer practice, house clean up, party planning meetings, poster making, and that is all before you meet a single potential new member (PNM). Once the PNMs enter the scene, there are info sessions, house tours, a skit night, and the preference ceremony, not to mention enough smiling to strain your face muscles. Oh, and did I mention you're still expected to go to class and be a good student? If you thought that being a PNM was bad, try being an active sister organizing, recruiting, and, in some cases, somersaulting for rush week. Trust me, I get it. I was a former sorority girl and recruitment chairwoman, and I can completely understand how stress-inducing rush week can be.
Those weeks — yes, weeks, because for sororities, rush and its preparations last much longer than seven days — can take its toll on you. There are guaranteed late nights and early mornings, stress by the spoonful, and a high chance of tears. Yeah, recruitment week can be rough. But it's all worth it, right?
Because I've been there and I understand the pressure you're under, here are seven ways to get ready for rush week without losing your mind:
1. Use rush preparation as an excuse for a spa day
Since you will be spending late nights painting posters, forget about doing your own nails, and instead use this as an excuse to get out of the house (and away from the cheers). Head to the salon for a mani and pedi with a friend, or go all out and spend the afternoon at the spa. You'll feel relaxed, refreshed, and flawless.
2. Make time for your non-affiliated friends before rush week
You know once recruitment starts, it will be all sorority, all the time. Before you're completely immersed in all-things Greek, steal an evening, or at least an hour, to spend time with your friends who aren't in your sorority. You'll have an opportunity to have conversations about something other than banners and bid day shirts, and that can carry you through the rest of rush.
3. Let your insane schedule inspire you to get a leg up
Chances are you will have your rush week schedule, including preference practice and recruitment workshops, before syllabus day at school, and once you do have your semester's schedule of assignments and exams, you will likely feel completely overwhelmed. Don't panic. Use the opportunity of limited free time to help you practice strict study scheduling. If you know you will only have a few hours of free time each night, and you know you have a dozen of assignments for class due at the end of the week, plan out times when you can sit down and get your work done. While you might want to go out and party the first week of school (because, really, does the first week even count?), use the beginning of the semester to get ahead of the game. That way, when rush is over, you won't be faced with a mound of back-piled assignments.
4. Actually stay alcohol-free for the week
During rush week, sororities are prohibited from drinking, but that doesn't always stop them. While it can be tempting to chug down an entire bottle of rosé after you've closed the door behind your last PNM of the night, resist the urge... at least for the time being. You will already be stretched thin from your schedule, so avoid getting sick or running yourself down even more by staying away from booze. It will make running on four hours of sleep that much easier. Besides, you will have plenty of time for popping bottles post-recruitment.
5. Avoid a rush crush
Impossible, I know, but try not to fall for a PNM too soon. A lot can go wrong when you focus all of your energies on the girl you think might be your next little. You might come on too strong, intimidate her, or completely miss out on some other great potential sisters. Not to mention, you could be setting yourself up for total heartbreak. Keep your cool, and don't count your chickens — or in this case, sisters — before the eggs hatch.
6. Support your sisters instead of hating on them
For whatever reason, rush week seems to be the time where every sister reveals her biggest beef with someone else in the sorority. It's probably the stress, the lack of sleep, and the fact that you spend even more time together than usual during recruitment, but whatever it is, the drama only makes an already hectic week worse. Instead of jumping down your recruitment chair's throat, or yelling at a new sister who can't seem to get the preference song down, realize that the girls next to you are in the same boat as you. Use the opportunity to promote some serious female power where you support, help, and encourage each other instead of resorting to anger, cattiness, and blame. You will feel better, your sisters will feel better, and the PNMs will be able to see how supportive a sorority really is.
7. Keep snacks close by at all times
Chatting up PNMs from morning until night can be exhausting. The last thing you want to do is get hangry when you're trying to convince girls that your sorority is the best of the bunch. Keep high-protein snacks near you at all times. Sometimes a bag of almonds can go a long way. Just make sure to keep floss and a breath mint nearby, too.