Freshman year I had it easy. I had worked very hard from my junior year of high school to the summer before my first year of college to save money so that I wouldn’t have to work for the first year I was in college. If all else failed, I at least hoped to not have to work my first semester of college because the transition to college honestly scared me. I’m happy to say that I was able to reach my goal and didn’t have to work my freshman year of college (with the except of breaks), but I knew sophomore year I would have to find a job.

Now I’m a sophomore in college. I’m a full time student, part-time worker, blogger, involved in 3 organizations, strive to work out at least 3 times a week, and somehow want to squeeze in a social life. I feel like if I wasn’t so organized with my Erin Condren planner and Google calendar any form of organization would be thrown out the window. I have no choice but to manage my time well and be efficient if I want to get everything done and do everything that I want to. Today I thought that it would be fun to share with you my tips for finding balance having such a hectic schedule.

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No one is perfect/can do everything/has their life together.

First and most importantly, no one has everything together and is perfect at everything. I have to work my butt off to do well in my classes and some days I go home and fall into bed for a nap instead of hitting the gym. Even my younger brother who can effortlessly make his way through school talks about the stresses he faces trying to manage his organizations, social life, and AP classes. The first thing you need to know is, no one is perfect and can do everything. We all have our struggles, our off days, our insecurities, and our break downs, even if it’s someone that looks like they have it all together, they don’t. Don’t be fooled by a color coded planner and long to-do list, that’s just an attempt at (attempting) to stay sane.

Use a planner.

Yes I just mentioned not to be fooled by the color coded planners, but a planner is important. It’s the way I have a visual of my week and can see when I can get everything done. My school schedule is different literally every day and my job requires working evenings, weekends, and serving on-call. Taking the time to write all of this out allows me to figure out when I can do my school work, blog, workout, and hang out with friends. Some weeks I don’t make it to the gym other weeks I miss tutoring because I napped a little too long. It’s never perfect, but as long as I plan ahead napping through tutoring can be made up another day (sorry mom).

Say no.

I used to feel horrible telling someone no. Maybe I had Tuesday night off from work and have nothing planner but to get ahead on my accounting homework and a coworker asks me to take their shift. Technically, yes I’m not scheduled to be somewhere, but sometimes my schoolwork needs to come first. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to miss things. It’s okay to call it a night at 8pm because it’s been a long week and you need rest. When you are running such a crazy schedule, it’s not always possible to say yes to every organization leadership position or extra shift offered to you.

Listen to your body.

My current job means that I have to serve on call shifts at least once a week. The first week of school I served three on call shifts and by Sunday night my body was aching because of it. I’m a girl that needs her sleep or I pity the people that have to deal with me. While yes it would have been nice to get ahead on some more of my marketing class reading, I instead listened to my body and went to bed. And let me just say, it paid off. I woke up early the next morning feeling refreshed and not only got ahead on my marketing reading, but also worked ahead on some things for my accounting class. If I wouldn’t have gone to bed early, I know I would have forced myself to stay awake late and attempt to do my marketing reading and sleep in the next morning when I could have gotten more work done. It’s super important to listen to your body and take care of it, especially as busy, stressed out college students.

Know when to give up sleep/get sleep.

I’m totally contradicting the above statement with this, but surely you guys will get me on this one. If you have a huge test tomorrow and are exhausted but still need to review, remember that you can give up sleep tonight and finally get some rest after your test tomorrow. If you know you have two days coming up with major homework, stay up to get it done and then get some sleep the next day. Or in my case, look at your work schedule for the upcoming weekend and excitedly write “SLEEP IN” in your planner since your alarm won’t be going off at 6:30 that morning.

Know your limits.

I’ve recently told a friend that if school didn’t take up any of my time and I could just come to university for the experience rather than school (stay with me here), I would be on Tour Team, I’d be in a business fraternity, I’d be an ambassador for RSVP, I’d be a Business School leader, I’d help with the marketing for travel abroad, I’d put out a lot more content on my blog, I’d work towards writing more e-books for my readers, and so on. But that’s not the case. Unfortunately, school takes up a lot of my time and I spend a crazy amount of time on school work outside of class. I have had to set limits and boundaries for myself so I don’t go overboard. I’m in school, working at a job that allows me to do marketing work, I blog where I combine my love for writing, photography, and networking, I’m involved in an amazing church and church group where I grow closer to my Lord and Savior each and every week, I’m a part of a marketing organization where I can meet with likeminded people and network with marketing companies, I work out at least 3 times a week to take care of my body and keep those around me sane (I pity the people that have to deal with me when I haven’t hit the gym), and I’m involved in an organization for business women who want to make an impact on our world. I’ve found my limits and some days I’m stressed to the max, but I’m doing what I love.

Develop a routine.

Hands down if you take anything away from this post, let it be that you make a routine. Even though your schedule is different every day (thanks college) have something set in place. I know that I wake up, get ready, have breakfast while I look over my to-do list for the day, work on school work, go to class, hit the gym, finish up school work, go to meetings/work, and then finish my night working on the blog. If you saw me on a Wednesday, which is the most hectic day of my week, my day goes a little more like wake-up, get ready, run to the bus stop, classes all day, work, shower, and squeeze in a little bit of school work or blogging before calling it a night. Even if it’s a routine like that, it’s a routine and you at least

Plan ahead

I always encourage that you take the time over the weekend, whether it’s Friday afternoon or late Sunday night, to do a brief outline of your week whether it’s in your planner, on a white board, or even on a piece of scrap paper. Write down the basics of your week, such as class times, your work schedule, and when you have organization meetings. From there add the next most important things such as going to tutoring/office hours and planning when you will do your homework and then add the fun things like dates with your boyfriend, blogging, and the gym. Will it stay this way all week? No. But you have an idea of what you want to do and can work your way through to figure out how it will get done.

Are you balancing work and school? If so, which of these tips do you utilize to get everything done? Are there any tips that you would add to this? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

For about a week I had felt off. I would go from wanting to be bundled up in a jacket with a blanket wrapped around me to wanting to just put on a tank top and shorts, the bags under my eyes were horrific, my body ached horribly, and my head would randomly begin to throb. It’s just stress, I would tell myself, you’ll be fine once you’ve turned in your English paper and taken the math test. When I didn’t feel so good the next day, I decided it was probably a good idea to head to the doctor. That’s when I learned that it indeed was not stress that I was dealing with, but mono.

No matter what part of life you are in, you will get sick. It’s inevitable. And sometimes, sick days simply just aren’t an option. Part of growing up is taking the responsibility to decide when you need to get out of bed and push through it or when you need to take a day for yourself to get better. Whatever it is that you decide, here are my tips that I learned after enduring a long month of having mono and still having to get myself to class.

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  1. Notify your professors. If you are sick, let your professors know. Whether you have strep throat, a fever, the flu, or even mono, let them know what’s going on and give them the heads up. That way, if you will have to miss class, a quiz, or even a test, you have a better chance of being able to make-up whatever it was that you missed. And remember, when you let your professors know that you are sick, inform them that they are more than welcome to see a doctor’s note.
  2. Drink plenty of fluids. While I will admit that the first thing I do in the morning after I turn off my alarm clock is turn on my coffee maker that should not be your go-to when you are sick. Drinking plenty of water is crucial when you are sick so that you can get better faster.
  3. Get rest. One of the hardest things for me to do when I am sick is to allow myself to get enough rest. I will personally give you the permission now, no matter how long your to-do list is, to take the time to rest and allow yourself to get better. With mono, it meant 3-5 hours of resting every day (or more), so listen to your body and get the rest that you need.
  4. Miss class if you have to. I’m immensely thankful to say that in the month I was sick with mono, I only missed one class. The day before I had three tests and a rough draft to turn in, so come Thursday, my body told me that I had done enough. I ended up sleeping through my alarm for three hours (yes, three) when typically I am up by the third chirp. Whether or not you sleep through your alarm or you simply wake up to your alarm and feel like you’ve been hit by a train, it’s up to you on whether or not you miss class. Another thing to remember is that you can pick and choose which classes to go to if you need to. Maybe your day starts with your three hard classes and ends with your two easiest classes, so you only go to your morning classes. You are in college now, it’s up to you.
  5. Go to the doctor. Growing up, any time I felt sick my parents would take me to the doctor. While it sounds a little excessive, I’m the kind of person that when I get sick, I’m sick. Now that I’ve gotten to college, I haven’t been so fast to go to the doctor and it’s definitely come to make things worse. Before I knew I had mono, I thought I was dealing with stress and allergies, so I was simply taking cold and sinus medicine. Then, I woke up and my face was so puffy it looked like I had had my wisdom teeth removed. If I would have gone to the doctor sooner, I wouldn’t have had to deal with that crazy puffiness from not getting medicine soon enough. Needless to say, a quick visit to the doctor is worth it.
  6. Take a break from work/organizations/volunteering if needed. Along with allowing yourself to rest, you should allow yourself to take the time away from organizations. Yes it’s difficult, yes you will miss out on things, yes it isn’t the most ideal situation, but right now is the time to focus on yourself and getting better. E-mail or call your boss or organization head and let them know what’s going on. I ended up having to take a temporary leave from both work and my organizations for a month per doctor’s orders. While I wasn’t too happy about it in the beginning, it allowed me to get better much faster since I had the time to rest.
  7. Tell your roommate(s) you are sick. If you are sick, your roommate needs to know. It is only fair to them to have a warning that you aren’t feeling well so that they can go about keeping themselves healthy and helping you out if needed.
  8. Stay on top of your school work. As hard as it can be, stay on top of your school work. I wasn’t awake for very long when I was sick, but when I was awake I was either in class or doing school work. Thankfully I was already ahead on my work and was able to stay on top of the work that I was assigned while I was sick. Yes, I was doing my homework from bed, but it was getting done and that’s all that matters.

Have you ever been sick in college? What steps would you add to being sick in college? If you haven’t been sick in college yet, which of these tips do you plan to implement if you do?

*please note that with the publishing of this post I am not in any way promoting Advil, the throat spray, essential oils, etc. as your method to feel better. They were simply items I used in the photo to portray being sick. Always talk to your doctor about the right medicines for you.

The biggest adjustment for me when I went to college was having a roommate. Aside from sharing a room with my younger sibling on vacation and with friends during summer camp, I had never shared a room with someone for an extended period of time. It was a major adjustment to me to realize that I wouldn’t have much time to myself, that she might be a night owl while I am a morning person, and that she might have completely different thoughts on how things should work in our room.

Along with sharing how to go about getting along with your roommate and making things work, I decided to also share what to do if things don’t work out. While I will never go into what happened both for me and my former roommate’s sake, I have been in the place where my roommate and I simply didn’t get along and alternative living situations had to be found. While hopefully none of you experience that, I shared my tips just in case.

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Learn to compromise

One of the biggest adjustments for having a roommate is learning how to compromise. Maybe you want to watch TV and your roommate wants to study without the noise from the TV. In that instance, it’s good to have headphones to wear. Maybe your roommate doesn’t like having the lights on when they are trying to sleep, but you would like to stay up a bit longer to get some work done. In that case, maybe your let your roommate sleep and go down to the study room to finish up your work. In whatever might come up, there could be instances where you and your roommate don’t agree on how you should go about the situation, which is why compromising is so important. Neither of you will get exactly what you want, but that is part of living in the dorm.

Communicate

Communicating is crucial is you want to have a good roommate experience. If you don’t like how your roommate is doing something, will be staying out later one night, or see the instance where you need to talk about something else, say it. Keeping it to yourself, fearing that it will make you seem demanding, or just not wanting to say something because you “just can’t stand her” is not a valid reason to avoid voicing your thoughts. Do it nicely, in person, and just give them the heads up that, hey, while yes we share food, please ask before taking anything that’s mine. Communicating things instead of just letting the things that annoy you build up will prevent conflicts in the future.

Make a roommate contract

While this is a requirement at my university, many universities don’t require it. Personally, I think it’s a good idea to make a roommate contract because it forces you to sit down with your roommate and communicate what your expectations are for the room and how things will go. Here are some things that I think are important to cover for your roommate contract.

  • Sleep and Study Arrangements

It’s definitely important to talk about each of your study and sleep habits. Maybe you like to study with music playing and can’t sleep if there are any lights on and your roommate is used to studying in silence and sleeps with a night light. Definitely important things to cover since those are the two main things that will happen in your room.

  • Cleanliness

For some, this topic is more important than others, but it is important to consider. Is it okay if your roommate leaves her dirty bra and underwear on the floor? How often should trash be taken out and who will do it? Will you clean the floors or any of the surfaces?

  • Guests

If you want, before you talk to your roommate about your contract, talk to your RA or hall coordinator about what the policies are on having guests. Many universities already have a standard about the max number of nights a guest from outside of the dorm can stay and often will allow you to voice if you don’t want any guests in your room. If you do want guests, you might want to talk about if you are okay with someone of the opposite sex staying over, how many nights they can stay, and how far in advance your roommate needs to let you know about the guest coming over. Another thing to consider is what you will do if both of you want to have a guest over the same weekend.

  • Communication

Communication is key when it comes to living with someone else. When you are making a roommate contact, bring up how you want to let the other person know if you aren’t okay with something or if you are uncomfortable with something. In order to have a good roommate experience, you have to communicate in order to make things work, no matter how scared you might be of her taking it the wrong way.

  • Food

Talk about if you will be sharing food or not. If you are sharing food, how will both of you contribute to the grocery bill? Talk about if it’s okay to just take food that the other has bought or if they should ask first. Mention if you will be sharing forks/spoons/knives/plates or if each of you should have your own.

  • Safety in your room

I lived in a dorm where we still had hard key locks and after a long day of classes, sometimes it never crossed my roommate or I’s mind to get up to lock the door. Make sure to discuss how you want to go about safety in your room. When should the door be locked and if you don’t live in a hard key dorm, when is it okay to prop your door open? Also discuss how you will go about helping each other out if the other goes out late at night. Will you drive to pick them up or do they need to have a buddy or alternative ride to rely on?

  • Personal space

Once you get to college, there isn’t much space that you can call yours. Talk to your roommate about whether or not you are okay with them or a guest sitting on your bed, getting into your dresser drawers or closet, using or getting into your desk, or using whatever other belongings you have. Just be sure to remember that there isn’t much personal space, so it is okay to express that you aren’t okay with others using particular things.

Talk to Your RA

Whether or not you are having issues with your roommate or not, it’s always a good idea to talk to your RA. They have tons of knowledge on how to live with someone else and what to do when things go wrong. You can talk to them to have them lead the conversation when you make a roommate contract with your roommate, ask them about their roommate experience and what tips they have, or just anything really. Ultimately, your RAs are there to help you and guide you and they are always there to be a listening ear.

Set the standards…and stick to them

Even if you choose to not make a written roommate contract, sit down with your roommate and set the standards on how you want things to go within your room. Whether you choose to have your RA in the room or not to help lead the conversation, make sure that you talk about how you want to run things in your room. I promise, there is nothing to be nervous or afraid of. Just bring up that you would like to take the time to make some standards from the room and work from there.

You won’t always be BFF’s

Sorry that I have to say this, but it needs to be said since being best friends with your roommate won’t always happen. And that’s okay. As long as you guys can get along while you are in your room together and things work well, that’s all that matters. But there is always a pressure from Pinterest and movies that your freshman year roommate will be your best friend and your future maid of honor, which definitely isn’t always how it works.

Be courteous of their schedule

If your roommate goes to bed early, be courteous enough to put in headphones if you are watching TV or listening to music or to head to the study room to finish up your work for the night. If you get up earlier than your roommate who is still sleeping, don’t be the person to keep hitting the snooze button and waking them up. Respect your roommate and be courteous of their schedule.

And because I think it’s something important to share, these are my tips on what to do if things go wrong within your room. As I mentioned above, my roommate situation was definitely less than ideal, so these tips come from experience. If you find yourself having roommate issues, I hope these tips can help you out.

Talk to your RA

Yes, this point is on this post for a second time. But this time, it’s for a completely different reason. Talk to your RA about what went wrong within your room, why you are upset, what is going on now, and steps need to be taken from this point on. This could either mean sitting down with you, your roommate, and your RA to discuss the matter at hand and find a solution or talking to your hall coordinator about different living options.

Look into your options

Sadly, sometimes when issues with roommates occur, there simply isn’t a way to go about fixing them. It can get to the point where it is in your best interest to go about finding a new place to live so that you can get out of your current situation. Talk to your hall coordinator about your options. Many residence halls will allow you to move within the hall to a new room and sometimes you may even have to move to a new dorm room. If worse comes to worse, always remember that you can look into subleasing an apartment for the remainder of the semester or if you are involved in Greek Life talk to your house manager about your situation and see if you can move-in there.

Set standards so you can live together for the time being

I am being completely honest here when I say this part definitely isn’t fun, but it’s very important. If you and your roommate simply can’t make things work and one of you has already applied for alternate housing, there is a likely chance that you will still be living together for up to a month before a new room can be found. In this instance, make a time to meet with your roommate and RA to discuss how you two will go about living with each other until new arrangements can be found. Typically during this talk everything that has ever bothered you about your roommate will come up (this is why communication is key!) and the rules within your room get much stricter. Many halls will even have consequences if these rules are broken if the circumstances in your room are bad enough. Just be sure to be vocal about what needs to happen so that you can live together as peacefully as possible for the time being.

Have places to go outside of your room

If you have another friend on your floor or in your residence hall, if you are involved in a sorority, if you have friends that live off campus, if you enjoy spending time in the on-campus library, if you love going to the gym, find ways to get out of your room and not wallow on the happenings of your room. If things are bad enough in your room, have a friend to call to stay the night at their place if you need to get away.

Be mature about it

While you will tell your mom and your best friend about what is going on, there is absolutely no reason to go around bashing your roommate and telling everyone what a horrible person she is. Yes, things didn’t work out, but in most instances both parties had to do with things not working out. There is no reason to vent on social media, gossip to other friends, bad mouth about her to people in your hall, or whatever else you could do. Be mature about it and know when it’s the proper time to bring up that things aren’t going so well in your living situation and you are hoping that something new can be figured out soon.

Have you ever lived with a roommate? If so, were things good or not so good? If things went well, what did you feel was the key to your successful roommate situation? If things didn’t go so well, what tips do you have so that other girls don’t find themselves in the same place? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments below.

In high school, studying the night before the test or even the morning of the test was plenty of prep time to still do well. When I got to college, I quickly learned that wasn’t the case anymore. While the tests weren’t much harder, it was the amount of information that the tests covered presenting the issue. I quickly realized that my old system wasn’t going to work anymore and that I needed to find a new one fast. It took a little while, but I finally have a system that works for me and allows me to be successful in my classes.

I wanted to share my tips on the best ways to study in college and be successful. While it does seem like a lot, as long as you stay on top of things and don’t wait until the last minute, you are good to go. Although it is definitely overwhelming at first, once you get into a routine it gets much easier.

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Be Organized

  • Have study time scheduled into your days. I know it sounds like a bit much, but having study time scheduled into your day is the best way to make sure that you are able to manage your demanding schedule along with your course load. Treat your homework and study time that you have scheduled in as if it is a class. Don’t schedule appointments during it, don’t sit on your phone, don’t just sit and talk with friends. Know what homework and studying needs to be done for the day and get it done.
  • Refer to your syllabus. Your syllabus is a wonderful tool that sadly many people don’t utilize to its full potential. I’ll let you in on a little secret now, it is actually your guide to being successful in your classes. It will include everything from your professor’s email and office hours, to test dates and due dates for assignments. I’ve had one professor that actually wrote his pop quiz dates and chapters covered in the pop quiz on the syllabus just to give those who utilized their syllabus a bit of an advantage.
  • Have everything written down. Whether you have your homework, quizzes, and tests in a written planner or digital planner, have everything written down And while yes it does take a while to complete at the beginning of the semester, it is so worth in in the long run, especially when you don’t have the time come mid-semester. It’s your choice whether you want homework, tests, and projects written into your weekly or monthly view, but having that to refer to makes it super easy to plan your weeks and know if you have time to go on that weekend long service trip or to make a quick trip home to see family and friends.
  • Plan your school work and studying for each day. Know what you want to get done each day. Maybe you need to finish your stats homework, make flash cards for accounting, and study for your microeconomics test that is next week. Having a plan of what you want to accomplish and get done will give you a feeling of accomplishment and success when you make it through your school to-dos for the day.

Have Goals

I have a list of goals written down in the front of my planner and also write my weekly goals in my planner for that week. This way, I know that I am taking baby steps towards my ultimate goals and if I’m ever feeling discouraged I can look back through my planner and see my progress. I highly recommend making goals for things outside of school as well such as goals for fitness, health, blogging, relationships, work, organizations you are involved in and more.

Go to Tutoring/Office Hours

If you are struggling in a class or simply struggling with grasping a concept in one of your classes, go to tutoring or office hours. Many more difficult classes have free tutoring hours through the university that you can attend with student teachers that are super knowledgeable in the subject. If tutoring isn’t offered, always check out your professor’s office hours. Just be sure to remember, the tutors and professors are there to help you! There is absolutely no reason to feel that you shouldn’t attend tutoring or office hours. And if you have a conflict with your professor’s office hours, such as work or another class, send them an e-mail and let them know. Typically, when you show that you care about your education and your classes, they will be more than happy to set up a time to meet that works for both of you.

Study Every Day

For me, studying everyday was the biggest adjustment when I got to college. In high school I could simply study the night before or the morning of the test and be good to go, but that definitely wasn’t the case in college. Even just skimming your notes from the last lecture the ten minutes prior to class can help you retain class information and not have to spend your time cramming the last few days before the test.

Rewrite your Notes

While I know that some people highly discourage using laptops in class, we have all had those professors that simply talk way to fast and also happen to be the one professor that doesn’t post class notes online. So whether your notes from class are hand-written or typed, take the time to sit down and re-write them by hand. It’s a great way to review the material and helps a lot if you had difficulties understanding a particular lecture.

Make Flashcards

Flashcards have been my go-to study tool since I was in junior high. They are my favorite way to memorize vocabulary and they give you another way to write out class material. Plus, they are perfect to keep in your backpack to review during the ten minute wait before your next class starts. Remember, every little bit counts.

Know What to do Before and After Class

Whether its readings, notes from the book, making flashcards, or even listening to the lecture again, know what you need to do before and after each of your classes. For example, in my business law class last semester, I would get lost and confused during the lecture if I hadn’t read the chapter and made and reviewed flashcards beforehand. Going into class with that extra bit of knowledge helped me retain and learn more just from the lectures before I even started studying the material we learned.

Turn off the Distractions

Use an internet software to disable social media and turn your phone to airplane mode and get to work. It’s so much easier to get stuff done and retain information when you don’t have Facebook and incoming text messages to distract you.

Take Breaks

I honestly used to be the person, even in high school, that would sit for hours without a break to get all of my homework and studying done for the day. At the time I thought that I was doing good for myself and being productive, when really I was just wearing myself out and not retaining information like I should. Figure out a good amount of time for you to sit and study before you need to take a break and do something else for a bit. For me, I do homework and study for about an 1-2 hours and then take a break for an hour and will sit down to do more homework for another 1-2 hours after my break. I love using my hour break to do something productive like take a class at the gym or work on my blog.

Join a Study Group

Personally, it’s one of my biggest pet peeves to study with people that just want to copy my notes and flashcards and be on their way. Joining study groups is the perfect way to meet like-minded people that also have put time in to the class and can help you if anything is unclear or if you happened to miss some information in your notes. They are also a great way to push you out of your comfort zone and get you to try new methods of studying that could ultimately help you out a lot in the long run.

Make a List of Questions

I know it sounds silly, but this learning this tip from one of my tutors last semester has helped me gain so much from lectures that would have ultimately confused me. If you are reviewing information for an upcoming class lecture and are confused on some of the topics, make a list of questions on what confused you. When you go to your lecture, you will pay more attention during those particularly tricky topics and will grasp them better. Another great way to utilize this if you didn’t review the material for an upcoming lecture, is that if you are reviewing the material after a lecture and are confused, make a list of questions to ask your tutor or professor so that they can help you to better comprehend the topics that confuse you. When I go to math tutoring, I always take a piece of paper where I’ve written out problems from the lecture or homework that confused me and that I could use a little extra help on.

Where you overwhelmed by the amount of studying for tests in college? What tips do you personally utilize from this list? Is there anything that you would add to this list?

Before signing up for PHA recruitment, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t have the stereotypical “pre-rush prep” that many people assume happens. My mom hadn’t frantically been collecting recommendation letters, there weren’t shopping sprees for the perfect Preference Day outfit, and I definitely was not a legacy. To be completely honest, the only Lilly Pulitzer I had ever seen were her agendas, I didn’t know what “norts” where or what “srat” meant, I had no understanding of what the days during recruitment where, I had never heard of a Marley Lilly monogrammed cross body bag and if you even starting saying G Phi, Pi Phi, or Tri Sigma, you lost me.

All of that and I was about to go through recruitment at the second largest sorority rush in the nation. I had no idea the exciting, exhausting, emotional and stressful week I was about to endure. Going through recruitment I learned a lot and realized that there was a lot that I wished I would have known beforehand. So when I stumbled across my own notes from recruitment week, where I even included a list of things I wished I had known, I knew I had to write a post about it. So here it is, what I wished I would have known before, during, and after sorority recruitment.

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Photo Credit: Morgan Lieberman

Before:

  • Letters of Recommendation. While it isn’t necessary, having alum of the different chapters at your school write a letter of recommendation for you allows the girls to know a little bit more about you before rush. Although if I’m being completely honest, the last three houses I was asked back to on Preference Day were the only three houses I hadn’t gotten letters of recommendation for.
  • You don’t have to be a legacy. While it can be fun to follow in your mom or grandmother’s footsteps, it’s also fun to make your own path. It is definitely not mandatory to be a legacy to go through recruitment and be successful in recruitment. Many girls that are active members in sororities are not legacies.
  • Read your college’s recruitment guide. If your college or university mails out a recruitment guide, read it. It is filled with tons of information about the exec members of PHA, the schedule for recruitment at your school, information about each chapter on campus, and sometimes even a letter from the president of each chapter on campus.
  • Look into your college’s chapter’s websites/social media accounts. Sorority girls love showing the events and activities that happen throughout the school year on social media. Most chapters encourage active members to send in their pictures from the year so they can share them on the chapter social media accounts and website. Sometimes there are even hashtags on Twitter/Instagram that are on the active member’s social media pages that you can look at.
  • Become familiar with each chapter’s values and philanthropy. You don’t need to memorize them, but at least familiarize yourself with each chapter’s values and philanthropy. That way if you don’t know what CASA is, you can look it up before you walk into the party at Kappa Alpha Theta and embarrass yourself.
  • Don’t set your heart on one chapter. Even if you are a legacy, do not set your heart on one chapter. Each and every chapter is unique in its own way and wherever you end up you will find your new home. And while I know that is what you will be hearing all week from your recruitment directors, I am saying it because it is true.
  • Be prepared for an emotional/draining/exhausting/exciting week. How it is possible to be so excited when you are drained and exhausted mentally and physically is impossible to explain in text, but it is possible and it is something you need to be aware of. Make sure to get plenty of rest before and during recruitment week, it definitely pays off!

During:

  • The Days and What to Wear.
    • Open House Day: Depending on the size of your college, Open House Day can run up to two days with up to 20 minutes at each house. During these days you will visit all of the houses on campus and talk to the active members of the chapters about what you are looking for in a sorority and how you could contribute to their chapter. If there are any presentations during this day, the girls will be showing you a slide show with pictures or video clips from the last year.
      • What to Wear for Open House Day: This is a much more laid back day, which means that your attire should be as well. If your university is like mine, this will be a day that you wear a t-shirt that they have given you with the shorts and shoes of your choice. Typically girls will wear patterned shorts, lace shorts, or a skirt with nice sandals or Converse. If you were not given a t-shirt to wear, many girls will wear sundresses on this day. No heels or wedges just yet.
    • Philanthropy Day: Once again, depending on where you go to school, Philanthropy Day can run up to two days and you can spend up to 30 minutes at each house. This is the first day that you will be visiting less houses after preferencing the night before. Service is a huge part of being involved in a sorority and on these days Potential New Members will be learning about each chapter’s organization and events that they participate in each year to volunteer and raise money for those organizations.
      • What to Wear for Philanthropy Day: If you are going through a recruitment where they provide t-shirts, attire for this day is very similar to Open House Day. Once again, go for patterned, lace, or colored shorts or a skirt with comfortable sandals. If you were not given a t-shirt, today is another great day for a sundress with flats or sandals. Once again, heels aren’t a good choice for this day as there will be a lot of walking from house to house.
    • Sisterhood Day: Sisterhood Day is the day that allows you to relax and get to know the sorority from a skit that active members put on for you. Sisterhood Day is one day of recruitment week with up to 40 minutes spent at each house and once again you will be visiting less houses. When you talk to the active members on this day, they will tell you all about the fun events and happenings around the house during the year.
      • What to Wear for Sisterhood Day: If you are going through a recruitment with t-shirts, this will typically be the first day that you are able to wear what you would like to. This is the day for a nice top with shorts or a skirt or even a sundress with a pair of wedges. Just make sure that you stay away from crop tops or revealing tops and if you wear wedges carry a pair of flip flops with you to throw on as you walk from house to house.
    • Preference Day: Preference Day is one day with visits to houses lasting up to 50 minutes. Once again you are visiting less houses and it is a very personal day. If you were called back for Preference Day it means that the chapter felt a connection with you and wanted to call you back. On this day you typically will be talking to a girl that you talked to previously that felt she had a connection with you. On this day you will be talking to the active member about how she choose the chapter she is in, what her chapter means to her, and what she enjoys most about her chapter’s sisterhood.
      • What to Wear for Preference Day: This is the day to be dressy. Think that you are going out to a fancy dinner. Wear a nice dress and heals or wedges on this day. Many girls will also wear a nice blouse top with a skirt. Once again, just make sure that your top is not revealing and if you wear heals or wedges to carry flip flops with you for walking house to house.
    • Bid Day: This is the most fun day of recruitment week! Bid Day is when all Potential New Members stand together and are handed their bid cards. Once everyone has their cards, you open them at the same time and then run to your house. Many times, fraternity boys and sorority alum are standing throughout Greek town to watch as you meet your new sisters.
      • What to Wear for Bid Day: This day is the most casual. The number of girls I saw wearing athletic shorts surprised me. I recommend being a little more dressed up than that, but wearing white or jean shorts with a cami because once you get to your new sorority house they will give you a tank top or t-shirt with your new sorority letters on it to wear!
  • What to Carry with You.
    • Water Bottle: Especially if you are rushing in the fall, a water bottle is a must. I can’t tell you how many girls were getting sick or passing out in between parties or even at parties. Please stay hydrated.
    • Flip Flops: If you wear wedges or heels on any of the days, flip flops are a must to wear in between parties as you walk from house to house. I kid you not when I say that girls would wear their flip flops to the house, change into their wedges or heels, and then leave the flip flops outside in the lawn before going into the house. Just remember to pick them up on your way out.
    • Sun screen: It’s August and it’s hot. The last thing that you want to add onto an already exhausting week is a sun burn. Just as long as you throw a spray sunscreen into your bag, you should be set.
    • Bobby Pins: That pony tail or up-do that looked so awesome this morning doesn’t always keep its hold after 8 hours of visiting houses. Or after standing out in the heat you want to pull your bangs up. Either way, bobby pins are a must for carrying in your bag.
    • Band-Aids: If you forget your flip flops on the lawn outside of a house or forgot flip flops altogether, Band-Aids are essential for the days you choose to wear heels or wedges. I would also recommend carrying them for days with flats or sandals because of potential blisters from all of the walking.
    • Small notebook and pen: Since I highly recommend jotting down notes about each house, carry a small notebook and pen with you. I wouldn’t rely on your phone, as many of us had dead phones before we even had a break for lunch.
  • Be yourself. Many girls that are shy or introverted feel that they won’t get into a house because of their more quiet nature and more talkative girls fear that they will scare off any potential bid because of their talkative nature. No matter what your personality is or the personality of the girls you talk to at each house, be yourself. You will never not be called back to a house because of being true to your personality.
  • Don’t read Greek Rank. The number one thing to do after visiting each house when I went through recruitment was to look up the next house you were going to on Greek Rank. It shocked me that the girls around me based their preferences based off of what Greek Rank considered “top tier” and “bottom tier”. If you want to have a good rush experience, stay off of Greek Rank and go off of your own thoughts and opinions on each house.
  • Complete the whole week. If you had your heart set on one house, don’t get called back to the house or houses you wanted,  get called back to only a few houses, are emotional and physically drained, or just don’t feel like completing the week, still go through and do it. I know it is heart breaking, I know it’s hard, I know that you had your heart set on wearing Phi Mu’s  beautiful rose color, but I promise, completing the week can be the best thing that you do for yourself. If you want to drop recruitment week, at least make it until the night before bid day when you have to sign that you will take a bid the next day. If at that point you still want to be done, then be done. At least know that you completed the majority of the week and made your decision then instead of two days into a seven day recruitment process.
  • Take notes on each house after you visit them. There are 15 sororities at my university and if I said that it wasn’t hard to remember which house was which just five parties in, I would be lying to you. Write down the little details that you can remember. What the girls wore, what you talked about, the names of the girls you talked to, how many girls you talked to, and even what the section of the house that you were in looked like and what the theme of their skit was. I know it sounds funny, but when you start thinking, “I was sitting in the living room where the creed was painted on the wall talking to girls and absolutely loved it,” but then can’t remember which house had the creed painted on the wall, you will be glad it’s written down.
  • Talk to your Pi Chi’s (Rho Gamma, Rho Chi, etc.). My Pi Chi’s were the two people that gave me the best guidance through the crazy week that is sorority recruitment. One of my Pi Chi’s also came into rush not knowing a lot about the whole sorority thing, so she was able to give me a ton of pointers and encouraging words not to worry and that it would all work out in the end.
  • You don’t have to drink all the water and you can eat the food. While yes, that is a funny statement to read, it is completely true. I can’t count the number of girls freaking out because they couldn’t finish their water, spilt their water, or that they ate the food that they were given on preference day and are now freaking out that they won’t get asked back to the house. Or on the other side, didn’t drink the water so that they wouldn’t be asked back. Whether you drink the water, spill the water, don’t drink the water, eat the food, don’t eat the food, or even spill the water all over the girl you are talking to, it will not determine whether or not you get called back to a house.
  • Get sleep. You will be exhausted after the full days of visiting houses. Give your body a break and get plenty of rest! You have the rest of the school year to get to know people and hang out with your friends.
  • Look your best. While you should be yourself during recruitment week, at least look pulled together and look your best. Do your hair and make-up and dress properly for the day.
  • Don’t talk about boys, beer, or partying. Or anything controversial such as politics or religion. End of story.

After:

  • If you decide a sorority isn’t for you or don’t get a bid.
    • Join other organizations on campus. There are all kinds of different organizations on campus to choose from. While a sorority wasn’t for you, there will be another organization for you to join and be active in.
    • Don’t post on Greek Rank. This goes for if you don’t get a bid, decide a sorority isn’t for you or get a bid. Never post on Greek Rank. Don’t post about your chapter, your best friends chapter, or the chapter that you couldn’t stand. It is not the kind of site that you should be referring to and is definitely not the kind of site that you want to be posting on.
    • Look into COB. Just because formal recruitment didn’t work out for you, doesn’t mean that you can’t go through COB for a chapter and try again.
  • If you join a chapter.
    • Start spending time at the house. Even if you don’t know the house code and have to stand outside the door making sure your letters are visible so one of your new sister’s will let you in, start going to the house and joining your new sisters for lunch and dinner when you can, studying in the house study lounge, and even crafting in your art room if your house has one. It’s a great way to meet your sisters and even your potential big.
    • Get involved in any way you can. While typically there isn’t much available for you to do before you are initiated, reach out and ask what you can do. Most of the time your sorority will be helping with a philanthropy event that they need volunteers for and during homecoming season there is always more pomping that needs to be done. Reach out and show your sisters that you are ready to get involved and are excited to be there.
    • Reach out to other members. Typically there is a Facebook page that is created for the new members of your sorority and it is the perfect place to start making connections. Whether it’s asking if they want to meet up for lunch or a study session at the library, anything that will allow you to start getting to know your new sisters.

Are you planning on going through sorority recruitment this fall and think that any of these tips will help you out? And if you have already gone through sorority recruitment, is there anything that you would add onto this list? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!