Even though it’s technically illegal, everyone knows that sororities across hundreds of college campuses in the USA practice hazing for their new recruits. These potential sisters are referred to as pledges, and they often have to go through months of embarrassing, demeaning, sometimes downright painful initiation tasks before being officially allowed into the organization. Of course, we love sororities and not all of them haze (and some that don’t take it to extreme levels). But unfortunately, some chapters of these Greek Life sisterhoods have committed almost criminal acts in the name of hazing their pledges to get them ready for the sorority life.
These former sorority sisters have shared some of the most extreme and cringe-worthy things they had to do (and had to have done to them) during their pledging period. We warn you, some of them are almost too hard to hear about.
The Body Shaming Was Unbearable
My entire pledging experience was absolutely horrible. They would constantly shame us for not being skinny/pretty enough. They would point out jiggly parts or bulges, and make us go home and change if we were wearing something they considered to be “unflattering to our body shape.” Once, they had us all sit on top of a shaking washing machine, and another pledge would circle the parts that jiggled with a marker, and we would have to walk around like that for the rest of the day. Needless to say, I dropped out after the washing machine day, no one should be objected to that.
~ Sarah L.
Onions and Milk for Breakfast
One day they literally had us each eat an entire onion and drink a whole gallon of milk. Then, we had to jog around the running track until they told us to stop. So many of us puked. But if we puked, we had to drink more milk to make up for what came out. It was probably the most disgusting day of my entire life.
~ Naya V.
She Didn’t Sleep For Weeks
I was almost a month into the pledging process when we got the instructions to come meet up at the sorority house around midnight. So, instead of getting in some hours of sleep beforehand, I stayed up with some of the girls who were pledging with me and waited to go altogether. That was a huge mistake because when we all arrived, we were informed that for the rest of the pledge period we would have to keep our phones on loud and be ready to meet at the house whenever requested. For the next month and a half we were called nearly every day, sometimes multiple times during the night, to the house, I don’t think I had a full 6 hours of sleep that entire time. I fell asleep in class all the time and my grades really suffered.
~ Brooke W.
The Poisonous Cocktail
I was still a pledge at this one social when we were all called to gather in the middle of the room. One of the sisters took out a bunch of cups and a huge pitcher full of dark black liquid. She said that it was poison and that if we really wanted to show our true dedication to the sorority, we had to drink it all. This cause a huge drama, girls were crying and fighting. Some of the pledges walked out and never came back. Those of us who remained figured that they wouldn’t actually poison us, so we drank it. It was water with charcoal lol.
Trapped in the Closet
They legit shoved all 62 girls in my pledge class into the tiniest broom closet ever for 20 minutes. It doesn’t sound like a long time, but we literally were climbing over each other just to make sure we had enough oxygen. It was a nightmare.
~ Nadine L.
No Boys Allowed
For our hell week, they made a rule where we were not allowed to talk to any boys. That included boyfriends, friends, teachers, parents, police, and literally anyone who was male. It was fine for the most part because I didn’t have a boyfriend. But it was really hard on some of my friends who happened to live with their significant others or male roommates. The worst part was that we weren’t allowed to explain to them why we just had to ignore them.
~ Lily O.
During our final initiation, they locked us in a room blindfolded for 8 hours with no food or water, with the same song (Party in the USA, Miley Cyrus) playing on repeat. It was utter hell, pure torture. After a few hours, I literally began hallucinating because of how crazy I felt. I still get chills if I hear the song come on the radio, I have to immediately change the station.
~ Lauren H.
The Day to Day Distress
Honestly, the worst time I had as a pledge was when we were just hanging around with the sisters doing regular (aka not “pledging”) activities. Like, when we had to do things that were embarrassing or disgusting it was tough, but you just got it done and then it was over. But while you’re still a pledge and you know you’re not at the same level as the sisters, it’s really awkward to hang out and talk with them, since you can’t really be yourself, as you might say something that would get you in trouble.
Nasty Pledge Mom
Our pledge mom (aka the older sister who is in charge of making sure the incoming pledges are ok) was so unbelievably nasty we avoided her at all costs. It was really hard because I was struggling to keep up with pledging activities and my classes, but one of my pledge sisters went to her once with a similar issue and our pledge mom told her to “stop being a whiny little b**** before she makes her go and clean the entire sorority house and sleep in the basement.” She was psychotic, I swear.
Dressed To Unimpress
During our ‘Hell Week’ they took complete control over our outfits every day. We had to wear only what they allowed us (sometimes they would literally give us costumes or men’s clothes) every day to class. No makeup. No styling our hair (not even a ponytail). We all looked awful for a full week. It was so embarrassing.
~ Brooke G.
Sizzle Like Bacon
One night during a particularly hard pledge week we went to a neighboring fraternity for our “nightly torture.” It really wasn’t so bad, mostly the brothers just told us to do ridiculous dances and push-ups and stuff. They had this thing where in the middle of whatever we were doing they’d tell us to “sizzle like bacon” and we’d have to drop to the floor and sizzle until they said “it’s burning”, then we had to turn over and do the same on the other side. I didn’t mind the whole experience, it was pretty funny. I still laugh about it with my sisters now.
~ Caroline M.
A Sugar-Free Organization
The sorority I went for was known for being for only the “elite” girls (aka the prettiest). When I got a bid, I was super flattered and excited to join, despite how hard the pledging was rumored to be. But after only a few days of beginning my pledge period, I realized what a hell it was to be a sister there, even after being initiated. Every sister was completely “sugar-free” and “low-carb” to keep their skinny status, and photos meals would literally be sent to a text messaging group where they would be picked apart by the sisters. You would literally have to throw away half your meal if they told you to. Even sometimes the entire thing and go without eating. It was an eating-disorder nightmare waiting to happen. I got out of there after only a few weeks.
Scavenger Hunt From Hell
My sorority made us go on a day and a half long scavenger hunt through the city. At first, it sounded kind of fun, but they walked us around for literally miles (I’m guessing around 15 miles) and screamed at us the entire time. It was so exhausting, I hated that day so much. I can’t even look back and laugh because it just makes me angry that I had to endure it.
~ Lacey S.
The Nastiest Conversations
We had this absolutely terrible exercise during one of our last hell week nights where we each had to go into this room blindfolded where we were told that the only person in the room was the pledge mom and the president. Then we were told given like 10 or so names of the sisters and had to say something bad about them, like what you hate about them (could also be looks). After I finished, they ripped off my blindfold where I could see the ENTIRE group of sisters who I had just ripped about sitting there staring at me. I burst into tears, it was so uncomfortable. I ended up quitting before initiation.
So Much Dancing
My pledge master’s favorite thing to do was to make us perform embarrassing dances for her frat bro friends whenever she wanted. Like, literally she could see us on campus in a group, grab some of her friends, and tell us to do the chicken dance and scream it as loud as possible. It was embarrassing and silly, but it was all in good fun. It helps to have a sense of humor. Some of the girls couldn’t take it though and it would bring them to tears. I just learned to laugh it off.
~ Kayleigh S.
I never got to reap the benefits of having a life-long “sisterly bond” with anyone in my former sorority (I dropped out after a few months when I realized how miserable I was). The older sisters would constantly pick on me and tell me that they thought I was weird and annoying, even though I never did anything to them. Some of my pledge sisters were nice I guess, but there was so much pressure to be liked by the older sisters that as soon as they understood how they felt about me, most of them avoided being seen with me, as if my reputation would rub off on them. Everyone was super fake, I’m glad I dropped out when I did. It would have ruined my entire college experience.
One of our sisterhood bonding activities was to partner up with one other pledge and play Edward Fortyhands. Basically, you handcuff yourself to your partner, and duct tape a 40 of beer to your free hand. You can’t uncuff yourself until you both finish the entire bottle. My partner wasn’t used to drinking such a huge amount, and she hadn’t eaten before. She ended up puking all over herself and me, and then she passed out. The worst part was that they left me handcuffed to an unconscious girl, both of us covered in puke, until I finished my own bottle.
I don’t like drinking. I almost never drank in high school and when I got to college nothing changed. During pledging, whenever we had a party, the rule was to always have a drink in your hand, and if an older sister asked you for a drink, you would have to finish yours, and then go and get her and yourself a new one. I came up with a genius trick where I would buy a huge jug of apple juice and keep it upstairs in the fridge, so anytime I needed to chug mine in front of the sisters, I would be drinking juice. It worked super well, until one day a sister caught me going upstairs to refill, instead of to the keg in the basement with us. She made me pour my apple juice down the sink, fill a cup up with beer from the keg, and chug the entire thing. I puked everywhere, and all the sisters screamed at me and made me clean it up in the middle of the party. I went home and cried for a week.
Toilet Bowl Punch
During a particular pledge night activity, the pledge master legit brought all of us to the bathroom and scooped water into cups straight from the toilet. We were told to chug the whole thing. That was the day I walked out of there and never looked back. Not worth it.
The Least Favorite Little
There were way more girls in my pledge class than there were in the previous class, so a lot of the older sisters had to take two, sometimes three littles. My big ended up taking me and another girl I didn;t know too well from my pledge class. She LOVED her, they got along so well, and she would introduce her as “her favorite little” to everyone they’d meet. She literally ignored me, and gave me the worst craft gifts, like things she threw together in 5 seconds. My twin got beautifully designed pillows, paddles, picture frames with photos of just the two of them, etc. I felt like the unloved adopted child. It was such a bad feeling. Luckily I made friends with some of the other older sisters who basically “adopted” me as their honorary little.
~ Cassidy A.
Silence Isn’t Golden
I literally hated all of the symbols that belong to our sorority. Our colors were hideous, the flower was ugly, the animal was lame, and even our chants were so entirely stupid. I have zero pride because of this, and I was totally embarrassed to sing our chants so I would usually just mouth the words silently. Once one of the sisters caught me mouthing the words and made me scream the rest of the chants (all of them) at the top of my lungs, with the hand motions, by myself. I was so embarrassed.
It was hell week and the sisters told us that they were going to be having a huge party at the satellite house, so we were going to need a “cleaning crew” to come before the weekend. We later found out that the cleaning crew was going to be the pledges. When we got to the house, we were given toothbrushes and vinegar and were told to clean the whole living room. It wouldn’t have been so bad, but the sisters purposefully poured alcohol and paint and chili and who knows what else all over everything. It was disgusting and it took us 8 hours (we barely managed to get anything off of the floor).
It was my second year in the sorority but my first year on the other side of recruitment, so I didn’t exactly know how it worked. Apparently, we meet all the girls and pretend to talk about their interests and lives…and then after everyone leaves, we all sit down with a slide show of the names and faces of everyone we saw. We go slide by slide and decide if that girl was pretty enough to join, and we vote yay or nay. It was honestly shocking, I had no idea they did it this way.