All protests to the contrary, most experts on hazing believe that the vast majority of sororities and fraternities have some type of hazing or initiation practices. Many of these practices are pretty harmless. Pledges are required to run errands for older members, for example, while others border on abuse and even torture. If you are going to join a sorority, knowing how to survive sorority initiation will help you through the weeks ahead.
- You should know what your university's policies are regarding hazing. Some universities will punish both the sorority and the inductee if hazing is discovered. Others have severe rules regarding hazing practices. Many colleges have learned that they must clearly define the line between an acceptable initiation practice and hazing, and you should educate yourself first about where that line is. Be sure that you know what your university's policies are as well as the stated policies of the Panhellenic Council, the governing body for sororities.
- Do as you are asked as quietly as possible. In larger schools, some students become targets for hazing because older members of the sorority think the pledges need to be taught their "place." You can avoid this label if you study the materials you are given (typically about the sorority's culture and history) and try to do as expected. Simple gestures of respect, such as always showing up on time, can help you survive sorority initiation without being singled out.
- Be confident in yourself. If you are asked a question, know the answer. Do not make yourself more vulnerable by being unsure of answers or showing your weaknesses. Always appear decisive and as if you are devoted to the sorority and your future sisters.
- Take this opportunity to hone your time management skills. Sorority initiation requires a large commitment of time, which trips up many pledges. If you are holding down a job, be sure that you ask for time off well in advance of important sorority dates. You should get a calendar and write down important class dates early. Make sure that if your term paper is due the day after a sorority event, you make time earlier in the week to complete the paper.
- Be prepared to take on leadership opportunities as they arise. The initiation process will be a great time to begin to use your sorority to learn valuable skills. Offer to help with a fundraiser the sorority is hosting or offer to take over administrative duties as required. Make sure that you use the initiation process to learn valuable lessons without sacrificing yourself in the process.