I Dropped Greek Life, It Didn't Drop Me

I Dropped Greek Life, It Didn't Drop Me

If you are not comfortable, then you have a right to stop.
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Strolls, calls, nicknames, and wearing letters always enticed me. Who wouldn't want to be a part of a fraternity when they go to college? The glamour is almost overwhelming. It may even lead you to do crazy things.

The thought of being accepted into something like a fraternity first crossed my mind at age eleven. While being apart of my brother's high school marching band which was run by a down south, HBCU style director, band life and Greek life quickly became a part of who I was growing to be. My brother crossed into a national fraternity while he was in high school. I watched him stroll and become part of a brotherhood that I only dreamed of joining. Meanwhile, I had band life down packed, but Greek life was something that alluded me mainly due to my age and inexperience in the world. For eight years, I knew exactly what I wanted to do as soon as I hit college, and when I did? Well, you already know what happens next: I finally made my childhood dreams come true and pledged to a fraternity.

Before Hunter, I attended a college that was pretty small and not necessarily the most diverse. That being said, I pledged to a fraternity not really knowing much about its background and cultural diversity. That was my first mistake.

You should always research a group before you decide to pledge the rest of your life to it. For some reason, the idea of being part of a brotherhood overshadowed my right judgment.

I officially started my process of being a pledge, and even though I made connections with people that I never will forget, I will always remember that I was never comfortable. Every event, every meeting, I tried to convince myself more and more that I belonged to a group of people that didn't belong to me. As the group I tried to be part of was embedded in a culture that wasn't my own, I slowly grew to learn that I wasn't one of them, and I didn't want to be.

American fraternities already have this stigma about them that may drive people away. As there are amazing fraternities out there that do a lot for their communities and members, it's no secret that some folks look down upon it. As everyone has their different reasons and opinions, I can say that mine ultimately contributed to me dropping the fraternity, and in turn discovering more about myself than I imagined.

Comfort is something that is essential to joining any group, no matter what it is. If you are not comfortable, then you have a right to stop.

Throughout the process, it was instilled in my head that if you dropped, you were weak. Understand though, that if you decide to leave something because you feel it's best for you, then you are not weak. Do not let anyone tell you that you're below them or make you feel less than what you are, no matter how much better you think it's going to make you. Your best development cannot come from anyone else besides you. No group nor person besides yourself can ultimately decide the growth of yourself as a person.

When I dropped Greek life, I began to understand that it's about you. No one else's opinions matter as long as you're strong and firm in your own beliefs. The more I think about it, the more I'm grateful for my Greek life experience. It was difficult, it was hard, and it was annoying, but it groomed me. It groomed me to be a better person for myself. Not because I crossed or the people within the fraternity made me better, but because I found courage in myself to leave and do better for myself despite anyone's opinion.

When I pledged, I realized that my concerns and ideas did not match up with those I was trying to be part of. I sometimes think that if I pledged to one of the divine nine, or attended an HBCU, I would've had a different or better experience. Regardless, even though I am in no rush to try this again, I am happy that I went through this experience. I'm happy that I realized self-growth is the best growth possible.

No matter what anyone says, whether you dropped or they dropped you, you should always strive to be the best YOU can be.

Cover Image Credit: Good Free Photos

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20 Fun Facts To Use When Introducing Yourself

As we embark on the semester, we are put on the spot in order to share interesting details about ourselves. This article discloses possible fun facts to tell others!
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After experiencing my first week of classes, I have learned that every student needs a handy-dandy list of fun facts about themselves to tell other people. Many professors use the first couple of classes to learn about their students, so you may need to think about who you are and how you want to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. We all have that one go-to interesting fact about ourselves, but sometimes you just have to mix it up!

1. My favorite hobby is...

What do you do in your free time? Personally, I love to stay active! I am a competitive Latin dancer and enjoy teaching and taking Zumba classes, going to the gym, and hiking.

2. I love...

Is there something, someone, or somewhere that you love? What makes your heart ache? What do you miss when it's gone? I can say that I love my friends because I feel my most confident when I'm surrounded by those who love and support me.

3. I look up to...

Is there someone you adore? Who mesmerizes you? Who do you wish to learn from? After watching "A Ballerina's Tale," I discovered Misty Copeland. In 2015 she became the first African American ballet dancer to become the Female Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Her passion, grace, and strength continuously motivate me to better myself as an athlete and an individual.

4. This art speaks to me because...

Coco Chanel said, "In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." This encourages me to always follow my heart no matter what. I will never follow society's standards and norms because they do not define me. Chanel's saying definitely influences my character and lifestyle.

5. A funny and/or embarrassing memory of me is...

When you make others laugh they want to spend time and make memories with you! Don't be afraid to embarrass yourself. You will come off as down to earth, easy-going, and loyal.

6. My siblings or lack thereof influenced me by...

I can go on and on about my brother, who is 10 years older than I. We have opposite personalities and despite the age gap, we're quite close.

7. My pet(s) are my life because...

Only sad people don't like hearing about furry creatures, even if your pets are slimy and slithering creatures all human beings enjoy hearing pet tales!

8. I'm afraid of...

Your personality can be revealed by your likes and dislikes, including the things that you fear. I am terrified of change and the unknown, hence, the future is an anxiety-inducing topic to discuss for me.

9. I am the way I am because...

What have you gone through in life that has shaped you into who you are today? Remember to be open minded and allow yourself to open up to your peers. You may be surprised by how others respond and/or what others have endured as well.

10. The most unusual item that can be found in your dorm...

This is a fun fact about yourself that can easily liven up an awkward conversation. Think about your quirks and differences! One item I have in my dorm is my teddy bear, Peter, whom I like to joke is my boyfriend.

11. My dream job is...

In college, "What's your major?" is a widespread question. Nonetheless, skip the boring statement of "I'm majoring in..." and go in depth on what your dream job is (hopefully your major factors in to this dream of yours).

12. My hidden talents are...

Angelina Jolie is a knife thrower. Kendall Jenner can produce bird noises. Amanda Seyfried can crochet and knit. Is there anything special you can do? Some people have rare and unique talents, maybe you can think of some hidden talents of your own!

13. My guilty pleasure is...

I will say it a million times: don't be shy when introducing yourself to new people! I'll start by divulging my guilty pleasure: Youtube's family vlogging channel, "OKBaby"!

Check them out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvUCbnwzySKgbKiB_...



14. Some activities on my bucket list are...


This is an easy way to grab people's attention and find others with similar desires as you. Be an adventurer! Go out of your comfort zone!

15. Talk about your best friend...

How would your best friend describe you? What do you love to do with your best friend?

16. Talk about an accomplishment of yours...

You are incredible and have achieved so much! Reveal something that you are proud of — show off a little!

17. This one time at my job...

Bosses breathing down your neck. Curious coworkers asking personal questions. Cursing customers who never leave you alone. Your job can be filled with tons of hilarious situations that can easily entertain a crowd.

18. During the summer...

Any scars with stories? Any summer flings? Any lessons learned from the tanning too long? Now that summer is over, disclose memories that can leave positive impressions on others.

19. I volunteer at...

Do you do any community service? Share a funny moment while you were volunteering. What did you learn while there? Would you continue?

20. [blank] is meaningful to me because...



What do you appreciate in life? What brightens your day? What makes you fall in love? What does someone have to do to make you smile?

Finally, remember to be outgoing! Reveal that three-mile smile and open your arms to learning about others. Spread smiles, love, and happiness.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The GMU Sororities That Decided Disabilities Are Disqualifying, Be Better

A GMU student with Down Syndrome applied to to all eight sororities on campus. She was rejected from each one.

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AnnCatherine Heigl attends George Mason University and is a part of its Mason LIFE program. AnnCatherine is 19 years old and recently went through sorority recruitment. She also has Down Syndrome, and for that, her family believes, she was released from every sorority on campus.

This may seem trivial to some, but the entire Heigl family has been involved in Greek life and used it to find a home away from home in their college times. In a Twitter post on September 16th, Lillie Heigl, AnnCatherine's old sister, asks GMU Panhellenic to do better.

lil_heigl / Twitter

The post consists of Lillie Heigl stating that she believes, along with many of AnnCatherine's friends and family, that AnnCatherine was rejected by the sororities purely because she has Down Syndrome. Later in the post, Heigl mentions that she believes any other D1 cheerleader that had gone through rush would have been selected. AnnCatherine's sister says that she is the nationally the first D1 cheerleader with an intellectual disability. Lillie Heigl lists many other reasons that she believes AnnCatherine would fit into at least one of the sororities on the GMU campus.

University of Tennessee students involved in Greek life heard about this and were less than pleased by the idea that sororities would dismiss a potential sister on the basis of disability. One young woman says that it can be hard to hear about these kinds of things happening at other universities because she believes UT does an amazing job making sure girls with disabilities are not discounted based on their disability. Another young woman was able to serve UT Panhellenic and help with the recruitment process this semester and she had a lot to say about this situation.

"I love my chapter, I love Greek life as a whole because it has given me so so much in terms of opportunities and friendships. However, recruitment is a horrible process. I don't know how to make it better. It makes me horribly sad that this sweet woman, who I am sure is amazing and incredibly deserving, slipped through the cracks. If it is true that she was discriminated against due to her disability, these chapters and the women in them should be ashamed of themselves."

In a later conversation with the student, she said, "I hope Greek life can change how recruitment is done so that it will empower young women and help them empower others since that is what sororities were made to be."

Overall it seems there is a theme here: Do better. From a personal perspective, this breaks my heart if it was truly disability discrimination. While I am in a non-Panhellenic sorority and cannot speak to Panhellenic recruitment, I have heard it is awful and to go through that entire process and not receive a bid has to be devastating.

So I challenge you to do better. GMU Panhellenic, do better. We all need to do better supporting each other, not discriminating, and standing up for students when they are discriminated against.

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