If you’re an incoming freshman reading this, I am beyond envious of you. While studying for my upcoming finals exams, writing papers, and making copious amounts of study guides, all I can seem to do is reminisce on the past nine months at UA (the best nine months of my life!) My freshman year has been nothing but enjoyable each and everyday, but there are most definitely certain things that stand out when looking back. My favorite part of my first semester freshman year was the amount of excitement that came from every Thursday night. For those of you unfamiliar with the term “swap,” a swap is when one fraternity and one sorority are paired together to throw a themed party. What sounds better than awkward, new freshmen (boys, I’m looking at you) being forced to socialize? Absolutely nothing. With that being said, here are some things you should know for your first UA fraternity swap during your freshman year.
1. Theme Up or get out.
“I swear….I’m the reason that Hobby Lobby stays in business!” Let’s face it, it is proven fact that you will have more fun at a swap if you are dressed up! Go all out for every theme because you will probably only get to wear that outfit one time (trust me, you won’t be the only one dressed up). My swap season themes consisted of neon/paint, boots and boxers, cowboys and indians, ski lodge, America, #throwbackthursday, and more! Bring those old neon tutus and tights, halloween costumes, hawaiian shirts, glitter, and camouflage from your high school costume box to college…It will save you money in the long run (especially when you’re ballin’ on a budget every month). If you don’t use them all, don’t worry, your friends most definitely will.
2. Go with a group.
When the first couple of swaps came around the first few weeks of school, I went with multiple girls in my sorority. Through the first couple of swaps, I had not only met so many amazing girls in my sorority, but I also met my absolute best friends that are my actual soulmates. Put yourself out there and hang out with a group of your new sorority sisters before the swap and get to know them. I promise you that it will be worthwhile when you have a memorable night and make new friends!
3. Learn to love Natty’s.
The first thing you’ll see when you enter the band room at a swap is bins filled with copious amounts of Natty Light. If you don’t like Natty Light, I can assure you that you will acquire a taste for it throughout swap season. Natty becomes equivalent to water after your first semester here at UA.
4. Fraternity houses are not exactly sparkling clean.
Surprise! After my first time stepping into the band room, I was a little bit concerned about the smell of the fraternity house. Lets just say that it doesn’t smell like it has been cleaned for quite awhile, and every step you take your shoes will stick to the beer and sweat covered floor.
5. Take a lot of pictures (do it for the Instagram).
I cannot stress this one enough, take TONS of pictures the night of a swap! That handmade neon *insert sorority here* shirt, hat, and fanny pack you crafted in your dorm room wasn’t for nothing! These photos will forever be your favorite to look back on, especially when you’re dressed up like Baby Spice from the Spice Girls (been there, done that). And if you’re anything like myself, you’ll spend all your money on ZAP’s that are taken before and during the swap. Trust me, they’re worth every penny and will most definitely get a good laugh out of you and your friends.
6. Talk to boys.
Although you probably won’t meet your future husband at a swap, you should still put yourself out there. Swaps can be awkward at first, but group up with your sisters and talk to some cute boys! You’re in college now, there’s no need for separation between a group of guys and a group of girls at a party. So put yourself out there and be social at swaps, you might even meet your best guy friends (I know I did!)
7. Go to every swap, you will regret it later.
Stop thinking about whether or not you should go. You’re never “too cool” for the party, and you can most definitely carve out time to get your homework done ahead of time. This is your time to shine during Freshman year, so take it all in and make it enjoyable. When 11:00 hits, if you aren’t feeling that swap, you can always crash another fraternity’s swap. Just go, you’ll thank me later!
8. You will always have a DD to call.
God bless whoever enforced this rule. During first semester, there are always a group of pledges that are the assigned DD’s for every swap to make sure that everyone gets home safely. By the end of first semester, I had a whole list in my phone of “DD ____.” Just don’t be surprised when you get picked up by a DD at a fraternity and have to pile into the bed of a Ford F150, it’s legal here in Alabama.
9. Dance like nobody’s watching.
If you think you can’t dance, trust me, you can. Squad up with your friends and dance your life away in the bandroom. The music is always on point, and there will always be someone to whip out your best dance moves with (even if you look like an absolute idiot.)
10. You will know at least one rap song by heart at the end of swap season.
“Alright, that’s the third time I’ve heard ‘Jordan Belfort’ tonight….” Other than getting down on the dance floor with my best friends, I can say that I have had my fair share of times where I confused myself with Drake or Future in the midst of standing on the band room stage hardcore rapping. I now know every single verse of “Jumpman,” “Back to Back,” and “Jordan Belfort.” Thank you swap season for turning me into a rapper, I know it will benefit me during my college career.
11. You’ll make the best memories.
If I could go back and do it all again, I would in a heartbeat. Swaps are the best part of your first semester, and the memories and friendships you make during them will stick with you all year. To this day, my best friends and I constantly laugh about the crazy, funny things that happened to us during swaps. There is no doubt that you will meet some of the best people through them. So long live swap season at UA, you are most definitely missed by us Freshmen ending off our year.
What else should our readers know about their first UA fraternity swap? Comment below and share this article with friends!
Featured image source: totalfratmove.com, colleges.startclass.com
Alexandra Smith is majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys running, hanging out with family friends, and roaming the world with her camera in hand.