Why I became a Rho GammaAs Formal Recruitment nears closer DePauw Rho Gammas share their recruitment stores. Whether you're nervous for what to expect, have no idea what recruitment entails or excited to join a chapter on campus read on to prepare for your own recruitment experience.
The wind was howling. Loose flurries of snow were blowing across the sidewalk in clouds of white powder. The pavement was a dark patchwork of ice, while those unfortunate enough to be outdoors (like me) were bundled up to their eyeballs and scowling because cold weather makes everyone grumpy. Typical Indiana winter.
This winter, the first of my college career, first-year women surrounded me in scarves, coats, mittens and earmuffs. They were clutching their patent leather high heels while speed walking between chapter houses, a time known as Formal Recruitment. This four-day period tosses together a group of women all different backgrounds and temperaments and unites them in an experience that is equal parts wonderful and terrifying.
My nerves were as frazzled as my wind-blown hair because it was Sunday, the last day of Recruitment; the day I’d have to preference my ideal chapter house. I wasn’t the only one battling that stress as every other woman next to me was in the same boat, but I felt isolated in my panic. At that point, I didn’t know how I was going to make it from one destination to the other on time, let alone how I was going to make my preferences to which chapter to rank first and second. So I shuffled down the sidewalk as quickly as I could, lost in my own worries, trying not to fall down.
When I arrived at my final destination for the day, I prepared to slip out of my snow boots and back into the most uncomfortable new pair of black high heels I’ve ever owned. Almost there, I coached myself, bouncing lightly to keep warm in spite of the pain shooting up the soles of my feet. Almost there.
“Hey, I know a quick way to break in those heels,” someone said to me.
I glanced up. It was my Rho Gamma, Amanda. I’d never spoken with her before that moment but intuitively sensed that she was as levelheaded and calm as I was nauseous and jumpy.
“Try taking that off and bending the sole against the concrete,” she said, gesturing down at my elevated feet.
Amanda scooted closer, offering me her shoulder for balance as I followed her instructions. She didn’t try to comfort me or tell me everything was going to work out perfectly, and she certainly didn’t try and fix my shoe for me, but that wasn’t what I needed. Her (literal) support was enough to settle my stomach and center my focus. I couldn’t demand perfection out of an imperfect process, but I could rely on the women around me to see me through the challenge while supporting my autonomy.
Just a few moments later, I left the outside chill for the warmth of the chapter house. Before I crossed the threshold, however, I glanced back to see Amanda neatly ushering in the rear of our line like a Patagonia-clad shepherd.
If I make it through all of this, I thought, I think I’d like to try her job.
A year and a half later, I submitted my Rho Gamma application. It was early spring and the snows were gone to make room for clustered white and green buds, but I could feel the bite of January cold and the pain of those high heels.