The Mother-Daughter Greek Experience

The Mother-Daughter Greek Experience

My Inspiration Behind Going Greek
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My mom is my idol. She inspires me and is probably a better role model than any celebrity or female politician I can think of. She is the reason I wanted to go Greek.

I grew up begging her to sing her sorority songs for me before I went to bed and for as long as I can remember I’ve been drawing and doodling her sorority’s symbol in my notebooks and sketch pads. She even taught me how to “throw what I know,” and over the years, I have continuously forced her to do it with me in pictures.

Over the years, I’ve traveled with her to different chapters in her region that she’s in charge of, and I’ve heard the numerous conference calls she’s been on, working on how to make the chapter an even better chapter than it was before.

She taught me what being a sorority woman is really about; it isn’t about the cute fraternity boys or the crazy parties on "Greek Street." Being a sorority woman is about sharing your values with other women, and empowering each other to change the community for the better.

Not to mention, she’s shown me how being involved is important. From the day she accepted her bid in 1986 to now, she’s been involved in her sorority. She’s shown me that being a part of a sorority isn’t just for four years; it’s for life.

She never forced me to want to join her sorority. When I went through recruitment, she made me promise to keep an open mind and choose the house where I truly felt I belonged. But after years of tagging along on her trips to different chapters of her sorority, I couldn’t see myself being anything different.

When I arrived at her sorority’s house on Drake’s campus, I was filled with excitement. Not a single second did my heart waver on its decision, and I knew when I saw the tiny anchor drawn on the envelope of my bid day card that I had become what I always wanted. And when I called her to tell her she was not only my mother, but my sister as well, she burst into tears (the perfect reaction that I was going for).

Being legacy doesn’t mean I had to be what she is. But it gave me the opportunity to see Greek life without its stereotypes, and now I’m even closer with my mom. We’re going to our National Convention together in June, and I texted her the other night begging her to get matching baseball caps with our Greek letters on them (how many of you can say you and your mom/dad do that?).

She’s my best friend, my inspiration to change the world, my kick-ass mom, and, last but not least, my sister.

So to all the moms out there who have inspired their daughters to become sorority women, thank you. Without you here to inspire us and support us along the way, we wouldn’t have followed our hearts, or would have been sucked into the stereotypes presented in the media on Greek life. We love you, and we love being your legacy.

Cover Image Credit: Larsen Hodges

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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You Might Love Being A CNA, But That Compassion Won't Show Up In Your Paycheck

A big heart means nothing if you're struggling to make ends meet.

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To the ones who love their job and doing what they do but is on the fence about leaving their job, I was in your shoes, too.

I knew when I started my job as a CNA (certified nurse's assistant), it would be a hard one. If you know anything about the job duties of a CNA, you'll quickly understand that for all of the work that we do, we're ridiculously underpaid and overworked.

I'll start by saying I loved my job.

Though the days were long and I was on my feet more than I sat down during the day, I loved being able to help people. I loved being able to make people smile and hear a simple "Thank you" and sometimes, that's all I needed for my day to do a full 360. I could be having the worst day in the world and covered in random bodily fluids, but walking out of a resident's room and hearing them quietly tell you that they appreciate what you've done for them, that's truly the one thing that can change my entire day, knowing that my hard work doesn't go unnoticed.

But compassion doesn't pay mine or anyone else's bills.

Someone could love their job and be happy to be there every single shift, but when you're overworked but so underpaid, your compassion may not leave, but your bills begin to pile up and you're stuck with not knowing what to do. If you're anything like me, you'll be so conflicted about leaving your job to find something better financially, but you know that you're leaving a job you enjoy doing and you may not find that enjoyment elsewhere.

At the end of the day, you have to realize what would be best for you. You can be the most compassionate about your job, but that compassion means nothing if you're struggling to make ends meet. I know from experience that if you're in a field like mine, it's hard to leave because you know people will need you, but you have to do what's best for you and only you.

Compassion doesn't pay the bills.

You may have to leave a job that you love, but there are so many opportunities out there and, who knows, you might find one you enjoy just as equally.

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