Tag: college

It’s Past Time

Hey, you! The recent high school graduate! Yes, I’m talking to you, the cute girl with this notion of joining a college sorority.

I wish I could say it was high time to get your resumes, photos and those all-important thank-you notes to the sorority alumnae you’re hoping will write you a glowing recommendation. I can’t say that because it’s past time. Adhering to a June 1st deadline would have been a much better plan.

Let’s say you had the best of intentions, but you didn’t do it. For the love of all things Greek, please get everything in before July 4. Now.

Being busy is no excuse because everyone is busy, including the lovely woman you hope will say nice things about you to her sorority sisters. So now is the time to grovel and hope the nice lady who offered to do this for you at Easter is still willing and not on vacation.

Need some help? Check out www.sororitylife.com, a website run by the National Panhellenic Conference, or for north Texas sorority-girl wannabes, try www.midcitiespanhellenic.com. Then get after it.

Tick tock, tick tock.

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Sorority Rush, Bursting at the Seams

The anxiety is almost over for all the parents who’ve sent their sweet babies off to college, and more stressfully, to sorority rush.

Most large universities complete sorority rush–now called “recruitment” for reasons I’ll never understand–before school starts. The really cruel ones make the sororities have their bid days on the first day of school (add that to the list of things I don’t understand), so that the girls can accept their semester syllabuses while biting their fingernails.

Meanwhile the parents at home are left to wonder how their baby girl is doing, while fielding phone calls from curious friends who just might have gathered all the reccomendations needed for such a pursuit. Especially in the South, y’all, this sorority deal is a team effort, and the sorority alumnae keep score just like it was a football game.

Sorority rush seems to be gaining momentum. After being Greek took a nosedive in the late ’60s and early ’70s when the hippies were popular detractors, I see a resurgence. More and more high school girls are attending Panhellenic forums, and these pledge classes are monstrous. At the University of Arkansas this year, pledge classes numbered upward of 130. Yes, too many to know well.

And all this flurry of activity happening over less than a week is a very exciting time for a newbie on campus…unless it isn’t. Unfortunately, there is sometimes heartbreak for no good reason. The sorority rush process is far from perfect, but so are many things in life. It’s just too bad when this unfairness happens just as these girls are starting a new adventure, usually away from home.

So, college presidents and Panhellenics, I’m asking you to look at broadening the number of National Panhellenic sororities on your campuses. Obviously the sorority experience, now more than 140 years old, is seen as a valuable one. Let’s expand it so everyone who wants to be a part of one of the 26 national sororities can be a part. Let’s keep the numbers down to a manageable few so that the members can know each other and live together.

Comment » | Joy Donovan's Blog

When Babies Go to College

Earlier this summer, Lisa Grossman, a very intelligent, earnest and probably perfectionist mom, assembled a group of  her friends in her Colleyville home.No ordinary night out of bunco playing or margarita swilling, this evening had an agenda.

The purpose? To figure out what she’s supposed to do, as a mom, for her daughter who is off to college this fall. When they’re babies, there’s the handy Dr. Spock to tell you how to feed them, bathe them and potty train them, but where do the moms get info on their much older babies?

Even if they’re 18, they’re still our babies, right, moms? And we all want to do it right, even if it’s launching them into the next big thing–college. So a gazillion questions need answers so a mom can continue to be the June Cleaver kind of mom she aspires to be. What sheets? How much money? Which computer? And just what to do about that awful roommate?

Lisa’s gathering was a mix of moms who were new to this, and moms who had been there, done that and got the parents’ weekend t-shirt. Even as the questions and wined flowed at comparable rates, our hostess was at work. Lisa–I’m telling you, she’s an over-achiever–took notes and allowed that I can share these tips with the rest of you.

As a mom who’s launched three girls and has lived to tell about it, I say don’t worry too much. I once interviewed Dr. Spock, and he said we–meaning all parents–are smarter than we think we are. You’ll muddle through, but know that they’re all different so if one’s homesick, the next one you may wonder if you’ll ever hear from again. And know that even after they go away for weeks on end, you’re still their mom!

Following is a list of tips from the mouths of moms:

 1. There are cable locks for laptop computers that look like small bike locks. A student can lock his laptop to a table at the library in case he needs to get up and walk around. Lisa found one with a combination lock instead of a key for $25 at http://www.tryten.com.

 2. The mattresses at college are thin and hard, so moms said that their kids appreciated foam mattress pads or down-filled feather beds on top of the mattress. Lisa found twin x-long, two-inch thick pads with terry cloth covers for $118 and free shipping at http://www.isoform.com under mattress pads.

3. You should put in a pass code so no one but your child can turn on his laptop. You can also buy LoJak protection for a laptop for $39/year or three years for $89. If it is stolen and then connected to the internet or a phone line, a signal will be sent to LoJak who can track its location and help the police recover it. http://www.lojackforlaptops.com/

4. For dorm rooms in humid areas, you may need a tub of DryOut available at the Container Store. It collects the humidity from the air into the tub where it is poured off and the tub is reused. Each tub should last one semester and costs about $5.

5. Yes, most kids in dorms have a refrigerator, TV and microwave. There should be an ironing board in the dorm, but moms thought a fastidious kid would want her own iron. If girls join a sorority, they can iron their clothes over there.

6. It is a good idea to send a little box of over-the-counter medicines for diarrhea, allergies, stomach upset, colds, etc. and include Bandaids and a thermometer. Show them how to clean a thermometer after use.

7. Moms said that girls usually come home to their regular hairdresser for haircuts and highlights.

 8. Students should set boundaries right away with their roommates about borrowing things, hours for friends in the room and sleepover guests.

 9. Suite-style living arrangements often cause bathroom cleaning and stocking problems. Moms suggested that students should set up a cleaning and supply-purchasing schedule right away with their suitemates. One girl got so frustrated with her suitemates, that she carried her own toilet paper into and out of the bathroom each time she used it.

 10. One mom said she found a shower curtain with pockets for the girls’ shower products at Bed, Bath and Beyond. One mom found a shower pole with four shelves at the Container Store. One college tour guide said that he always took his bucket of toiletries into the bathroom with him and then stored it in his room when he was done.

 11. Moms agreed that $150 was plenty of spending money a month if your child did not have to buy his or her own clothes.

 12. The computer salesmen at one Apple store admitted that they were not usually big fans of extended warranties, but they always bought an Applecare contract for their laptops.

 13. Moms advised parents to stay out of roommate issues and not to arrive and try to organize everything for all the kids. They suggested talking to your child ahead of time about possible solutions to potential problems and cleaning issues. They warned us to beware of one girl arriving first and hogging all the bathroom storage.

 14. Moms suggested requiring your child to stay at school the first three weeks to ensure that he or she gets involved with campus activities right away. They said this would help cure homesickness.

 15. If sharing a bathroom with another room, kids should lock their bedroom-to-bathroom door at night and when they leave, to prevent friends of friends from coming in and borrowing things.

 16. Students may want a nightlight, electric candle or small lamp to leave on in the room until the other roommate gets home and goes to sleep.

 17. Students may need over-the-door towel bars for extra storage.

 18. Everyone should have a flashlight for power outages.

 19. One smart mom gave her daughter a book safe (a real book with the center cut out to store things) and put $200 emergency cash in it. When her daughter’s debit card stopped working she was really glad she had it.

 20. Texas law now allows 16-year-olds to have their own checking account and debit card.

 21. Moms were encouraged to back off on phone calls to their children and let the children call as often as they needed to. The experienced moms said their kids called quite a bit but didn’t feel hounded by their moms calling them.

 22. When kids come home from college, expect some resistance from them about curfews and house rules. You may have to make curfew a little later than it was in high school, but it is still your house and you still have the right to make the rules. Besides, you will still worry about them when they are home but out late.

 23. Go to the Container Store College Night held in July or August. They have lots of good information and ideas. Sign up for an invitation online. http://www.containerstore.com/collegeinvite/

 24. Lisa bought fabric storage cubes (Container Store) with zippered lids for extra linen storage.

 25. Moms warned against taking “everything” on the first trip as the dorm rooms are smaller than you think.

 26. One mom, who was a resident advisor in the dorm, said the most counseling she had to do was about pet grief for pets that died while the child was away at college.

 27. Moms warned that there was a lot of underage drinking in private residences off campus. They said that many universities were very strict about alcohol in dorms and sororities. They wanted us to discuss this with our kids and remind them that it is still illegal to drink in college if you are not 21 and to tell them to never accept an open drink from anyone.

 28. Check out http://www.gordie.org for a true story of the affects of alcohol poisoning and share it with your kids. Students don’t know how dangerous it is to put a drunk friend in bed to “sleep it off.”

 29. Mothers also wanted us to remind our children that what is on their Facebook pages can come back to haunt them. One mom read somewhere that authorities are required to respond to complaints and if a complaint comes in about underage drinking by someone as shown on Facebok, they will investigate.

 30. One mom is going to encourage her child to drink two Mike’s Hard Lemonades in an hour at home so she has some idea of how hard alcohol hits.

1 comment » | Joy Donovan's Blog

Time for Graduating Seniors to Learn Some Greek

Pins from the 26 organizations making up the National Panhellenic Conference.

Pins from the 26 organizations making up the National Panhellenic Conference.

Graduating senior girls have a lot on their “to do” lists.

There’s tests to take, and the prom dress to buy. The graduation announcements are stacking up, and don’t forget the graduation parties. Then there’s graduation itself.

But another big task awaits those senior girls considering going through sorority rush–registering with the local Panhellenic. Yes, joining a sorority, or going “Greek,” requires some homework on the part of young women hoping to pledge.

And it’s high time, if not past time, to hand in that homework, even before graduation.

Rush, now referred to as “recruitment,” involves some paper work on the part of those wishing to be considered for membership in a National Panhellenic Sorority, and the work begins long before the sorority girl wannabe moves into her dorm.

Resumes, transcripts, photographs and letters of recomendation are all part of the process for incoming university students who would like to join a National Panhellenic Conference sorority. To help the process, graduating senior girls need to register sooner, rather than later, with their local Panhellenics.

Area Panhellenic groups help facilitate the sorority rush process by offering a registration process. Fort Worth’s Panhellenic, for example, asks that potential new members register by May 1. Registering informs local alumnae of a graduating senior’s intent to participate in rush.

Then the local Panhellenic organization has the chance to pass that information on to local alumnae groups. These alumnae are the ones who write the recommendations, now called “references,” and for most groups, the process already has begun for 2009 fall rush. Many sororities at large colleges or universities have early summer deadlines for their alumnae to notify them of potential new members.

Many of the alumnae will ask for a resume, detailing high school activities; a transcript, showing grades from at least seven semesters of high school; and two photographs, one full-length shot and one close-up shot.

Registering with the local Panhellenic is not to be confused with registering with a college Panhellenic, a requirement for those wishing to participate in that college’s recruitment. Registering with the college Panhellenic provides a student with such information such as guidelines, dates and fees particular to that campus.

The local and college Panhellenics are part of the National Panhellenic Conference, which serves as the umbrella organization for its 26 sororities. Founded in 1902, the organization remains one of the oldest and largest women’s groups. NPC counts among its members more than 4 million women at 655 college campuses and 4,500 alumnae chapters across the U.S. and Canada. 

For those who think this all seems “Greek,” additional information is available. View local Panhellenic websites at www.dallaspanhellenic.org,  www.fortworthpanhellenic.com or www.midcitiespanhellenic.com. Individual sorority coaching also is available for a fee from Sorority Step-Up which can be reached by emailing Sorority-Step-Up@hotmail.com.

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