A series where President Ana interviews the Panhellenic Executive Board about their experiences of becoming sorority women.
Making of a Mom-ager: the start of a strong leader with the Executive Vice President, Alissa-Rae
From the get-go, I was not into sororities. I was not going to live on campus, because I live in Tampa. I was going to go to class and get out.
Then, me and my mom were getting an in-depth tour of USF because my dad worked on campus. My mom kept nagging me about living on campus, constantly asking me, “are you sure? Are you sure?” about not living on campus. I was feeling kind of adventurous, so I gave in to her nagging to try something new, and I applied for housing and registered for recruitment all in one day. Right after registering, I was instantly obsessed and started researching typical recruitment questions like it was going to be some drawn out interview.
I’m not that trendy so, every store I went to, I told them that I was going through Recruitment and that they should dress me, anything that “sorority girls” wear.
Little did I know, I was a “sorority girl,” with or without the clothes.
Tell me about your Recruitment process and what that was like for you.
I was, like, THAT PNM. I was the one singing AT the sorority women at the door when they were doing the door stack. I was really just excited to talk to everyone about me and meeting new people outside of my original friend group I’d made when I was 5 years old. I really did want to have the dream of “finding my home” and not coming in with a predetermined idea of where I wanted to be. I just wanted to go in and do it.
Every day of Recruitment was really hard because I felt like I talked to really great people. At the end of the day, the place where I wanted to be was the place that made me feel like anything I wanted to do at USF, the women around me would push me to do that. I felt that energy in certain chapters, but I really felt myself fitting into any chapter, so making a decision was a hard choice. Making the final, end-all-be-all, decision was the hardest.
What helped you decide where you wanted to go?
My Recruitment Guide, back then called Pi Chis, help me through the process. I remember my Pi Chi Casey talking me through this. She helped me talk through my experiences by being super unbiased. She asked me things like “what do you want out of your experience in the next four years?” Eventually, one chapter just became more apparent in what I wanted, even though I would have been happy with either. I knew I would have been the same person no matter where I ended up, but I chose my organization because I knew I could give my involvement, leadership, and friendship back to them as much as they could give that to me.
What made you stay after joining?
I stayed for the people. I stayed for what our ritual means to me and how I think it will carry with me beyond graduation. I think it’s important to be someone who lives by something, anything. My organization gave me that platform.
What have you gotten out of sorority life since joining?
Oh gosh, SO much. I have learned a lot about myself and a lot about being open to people who aren’t like myself, and the value of having those people around. Growing up in Tampa and being around the same people, I became naïve in thinking that those are the only type of people in the world I’ll be in contact with. It’s important to know that there are different types of people out there, how you can benefit from them and how they can benefit from you. For instance, becoming a part of Panhellenic, I’ve met people who came from all across the world, learned what their interests are, what they want to do with their lives, and how I could have friendships with people very different than me.
I always wanted to be the leader of the group. Through Panhellenic, I’ve learned the skills and the resources to develop my leadership. I’ve been able to pass that long to other people in the community.
What are you looking forward to and excited for this recruitment?
I’m excited to have some time to reminisce on my experience of Recruitment, meeting PNMs who may have the same emotions as I had going through the process, and for me to be a mentor for them.
Any final thoughts?
Don’t be what everyone wants. During your time in recruitment, your sorority experience, your USF career, and your life. Be who you see yourself becoming. People in this community really will accept you for being you, not what you think that “sorority girl” may be.
*Editor's Note: Mom-ager = mom + manager. Alissa-Rae makes the dreams of the Executive Board come true through her leadership.