From Sunflowers to Lone Stars: My Out-of-State Recruitment Experience
Updated: Jul 17, 2020
To all my Out-of-State PNMs,
Hey, my name is Katie! I’m a second year journalism and advertising major from Overland Park, Kansas. Whenever I tell anyone I’m from Kansas, I usually get one of two responses- the geographically aware, “isn’t it really flat there?," or the classic, “you’re not in Kansas anymore.” I swear Kansas is more than just wheat fields and the Wizard of Oz...my Texan friends would definitely argue otherwise.
When I finally decided on going to UT Austin for college, I knew my next four years were going to look a lot different than my friends’ who were staying close to home. I was so ready to leave my hometown, yet I had blindly committed to abandoning everything I was comfortable with for a completely new world and culture. In itself, being out-of-state at UT poses many challenges. Since 92% of Longhorns are from Texas, it feels other-worldly to be entering the Lone Star State not aware of all the Texas-isms.
The same goes for sorority recruitment. Before I stepped into my first Open House, I had no idea what to expect. I felt like I was at a disadvantage because I wasn’t acquainted with Texas Greek life and didn’t already know some familiar faces in the sororities. It was extremely intimidating, but I went into the process open-minded and excited for what was to come.
"Sororities acknowledge both going to an out-of-state college and participating in recruitment take a lot of blind faith that everything will work out. They want to know why you took that leap of faith."
Throughout the week of recruitment, I leaned on my out-of-state background to help me stand out and make conversation. Sororities acknowledge both going to an out-of-state college and participating in recruitment take a lot of blind faith that everything will work out. They want to know why you took that leap of faith. I can’t tell you how many times I was asked, “so why did you come to UT?” It’s beneficial to have a strong answer to that basic question and it should be more distinct than, “oh I just fell in love with Austin and the campus.” Personally, I thought I chose UT because of its amazing program for my major, but as I talked to so many incredible people throughout recruitment, I realized that I came to UT because I am driven and independent. Texas provided a fresh start to redefine who I was and grow into an authentic version of myself, and I saw that authenticity in the Panhellenic women I met.
As an out-of-state PNM, it’s essential to not allow your foreignness to Texas define who you are throughout the week of recruitment. Have those funny conversations about the 'horrible Texas heat' on Open House days, but don’t dwell on those jokes and never stray away from your “why.” Anyone from Texas can come to UT to have a fresh start, but make a point to express why you trekked down from Minnesota or flew across the country from Maryland to become a Texas Longhorn and a sorority woman.
Sisterhood round was when I finally realized I had found my new home in Alpha Chi. I was chatting with my big, Ana Stanovcic, who is also from the Sunflower State. Back in Kansas, we live less than thirty minutes from each other, so it could have been easy to revert back to those cliché out-of-state conversations that we easily connected over. Yet, when I was talking to Ana, we easily dove into discussing who we really were, like our goals in life and what we wanted out of our sorority. In that moment, I knew the realness of Alpha Chi would push me to grow into that authentic version of myself I came to UT searching for. I’ll always be grateful to have Ana to talk to about Chiefs football or missing Kansas City, but we are bonded by so much more than that. Our out-of-state backgrounds brought us together, but our authenticity made us sisters. Ana helps make Texas my home.
Always remember, you may be from somewhere other than Texas (yes, those places do exist), but you are so much more than your ‘out-of-state’ label. During recruitment, let yourself be defined by your strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Radiate your Real, Strong self to every person you talk to and you’re bound to find your home and your people, no matter where you're from.
LITB & KC Forever,
Katie Pratt, MC ‘19
Please remember there are always bigger things to worry about than sorority recruitment! We can all help to make real change happen by signing petitions which seek justice for Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain, and many others who lost their lives to racism in America. It is equally important to actively become anti-racist by educating yourself on the history of systemic racism and showing support for the BLM movement, even when it no longer 'trending' on social media. We can all learn from our country's past in order to guarantee a better future for everyone. Rise up.