I'm in a sorority, but I'm not a sorority girl.

I'd trade a letter shirt for a flannel any day, and I prefer camping to beach vacations. However, when it comes to formal, even those of us less in touch with our girly sides can party with the best of 'em.

Last weekend, I had to transform from a T-shirt clad frumpster to a "sophisticated" (heavy sarcasm) socialite. Here are a few of the things I learned about making the leap from forest to Sigma Phi Lambda formal.

1. Only start worrying about what to wear the weekend before.

2. Borrow, don't buy. Then pray you don't irreparably ruin the dress.

3. Find a date no sooner than 48 hours prior to takeoff – make sure that first awkward encounter is on the night of the event.

4. Start formal day early with a 5K run. Maybe if you run three miles, the dress will ignore the jar of peanut butter, fries and milkshake you scarfed down the day before.

5. Nap for the remaining afternoon hours while your sorority sisters run frantically around Knoxville getting manicures and pedicures.

6. Dig the unused curling iron and makeup from their hibernation in the depths beneath your sink. How does lipstick work again?

7. Volunteer to help other girls with their hair, but be sure to leave yourself only half an hour to completely wreck your own 'do. Looks like you're going with the "disheveled" look no matter how much you wanted the retro thing to work.

8. Trade your Chacos for the silver t-straps you've worn for every formal event since junior prom. Who needs more than one pair of heels? If you can walk in them, they're keepers.

9. Above all, never be ready on time.

10. At dinner, don't eat salad. In fact, skip anything remotely safe to eat and go straight for the hamburger. Goldfish and macaroni and cheese are also acceptable choices.

11. Fail miserably to remember the proper table manners your mother tried to teach you as a child. This is Slump City and you're the mayor.

12. Take all the obligatory pictures early. No iPhone should get in the way of your dancing.

13. Hit up the dance floor and break it down like nobody is watching. Actually, break it down and hope nobody is watching.

14. Let nothing stand between you and the candy buffet. You earned it.

15. Stop and take a moment to realize that you're actually having a pretty great time.

Emilee Lamb is a sophomore in journalism and electronic media. She aspires to be a journalist and photographer for National Geographic. She can be reached at elamb1@utk.edu.