I've written about how I've struggled to stay fit and healthy in college. While I don't think anyone would ever look at me and think "Wow, she gained weight," I am also my own biggest critique and had been feeling super unhealthy prior to winter break. During break and this semester, I've been turning over a new leaf and working hard to change this. I wish body image wasn't as big a deal to me, but I think making these adjustments and feeling healthier has made me a lot happier in general.
I also thought this semester would bring a change in another way because I was planning to join Greek life. The past two weekends I went through sorority recruitment. Although there are many important aspects to going Greek, rushing includes a lot of dressing up and looking your best. Regardless, I've spent a lot of time in the past few weeks being conscious of my looks and caring how I present myself.
I had a few friends who were really distraught over getting dropped by the sororities they had their hearts set on. While I as well didn't end up going through with it after pref round either, seeing my friends and experiencing the process myself changed my whole perception. I was of course pretty disappointed to be dropped by the house I had wanted, but I was taking it nowhere near as hard when you compare the spectrum of people that didn't get what they wanted. I watched people I knew and cared about feeling such little self-worth due to something so out of our control.
We all have different ways of coping with rejection. Once I got past the initial disappointment, mine was to realize that it's not the end of the world and channel my energy into other things I care about. This change in my plans will allow me to find new opportunities that I will find even more rewarding than Greek life.
Part of the reason why it was initially hard to see this was my sometimes feeling like I'm very reliant on the approval of others. We are constantly hearing other people's opinions about what they think is acceptable, what's cool, what's good and bad. On top of that, we are consistently comparing ourselves to others, whether it be their bodies, relationships, and lives. Social media adds a whole other level to this issue, making it almost impossible not to be hard on yourself when you see the idealized way other people portray themselves.
The past two weekends definitely helped me see these things. I am not trying to discount sororities or the recruitment process at all, because rushing was a really great experience, and I'm really glad I did it. But I think it's really important to remember to stay grounded in your own opinions and hold onto your self-confidence no matter what anyone tells you or what you see others doing.