What does it really feel like to be a sorority girl?

What does it really feel like to be a sorority girl?

Let me tell you my experience.
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I am in my last year of college (YAY) and as I look onwards to the finish line I like to take a moment to recollect on my experience years. The biggest being that I became a sorority girl.

My experiences are broken down in four ways: how I felt before joining, how I felt/feel now that I am in one, and how it has changed my life.

BEFORE JOINING

I remember, graduating from high school, declaring whole-heartedly to my parents and my boyfriend that I did not want to join anything. I have always been in some type of organization or activity since elementary. I’d been in orchestra since the fifth grade to the day I graduated from high school, did track from seventh to eighth, was in Student Council and Theatre since my freshman year and then joined the cheerleading/dance team my sophomore year. I was committed to all of my high school organizations until I graduated, so now I sport a beautiful “B” on my Letterman with several little details proclaiming that I did not quit anything and even earned bars for my years of dedication.

But ultimately I felt burnt out. I was tired and for once, I just wanted to focus on school.

As you can obviously tell, life decided that this was not going to happen.

You see, I moved to San Antonio, Texas on my own. My only friends from high school that close either went to the University of Texas at Austin or Saint Mary’s (spoiler alert, I never saw them). I felt lonely and wanted to make friends. So I headed out to a random event that UTSA was hosting that day. That is where I was introduced to a variety of sororities.

UTSA hosts four councils of Greek life. I won’t get into the specs, but I awkwardly found my way to two sororities that I never knew even existed: Latina based sororities.

You see, I had only ever seen the sororities you see on TV or in movies. And they were rarely ever painted in a pretty picture and mainly consisted of white women.

Now, I’d like to say that UTSA is much more diverse in all its councils and they do not only consist of white women. But at the time, that is all I really knew. So seeing these two sororities really spoke to me. To me, I was seeing women that looked like me that had the same values and goals that I have. These sororities were Sigma Lambda Alpha and Kappa Delta Chi. Although I admit, I requested information for both these organizations, I ended up falling in love with Kappa Delta Chi.

You see, although both organizations are beautiful and encompass a sisterhood that is unique, I just found my home in Kappa Delta Chi (the nickname being KDChi).

I managed to make a friend that was also interested in KDChi and she encouraged me to go to every rush event with her.

(This was us before)

(This was us after she moved away and joined KDChi at another University)

After the second rush event—mind you these were about two hours or so long and they had many prospective ladies at each event—the sisters managed to remember my name.

I know, it sounds ridiculous, but it meant a lot to me. Not only did they say my name, they said it right. I am a rather quiet person by nature, and back then I was way shyer then I am today and rarely corrected anyone on how to say my name. I doubted they would remember me, but the moment I walked into their informational, they welcomed me with smiles, hugs, and “Hey Marisa! How are you? How was that class today?”

They were invested in me. A shy, sun city girl that had nothing to offer to the organization but my desire to make friends.

(The first rush event I attended)

I remember calling my parents that night and telling them I was going to apply for KDChi and giving them the summary of their presentations. Then came the first reaction my dad had. He told me: “No mijha. Sororities are for elitist people that party. You don’t want to surround yourself with that.”

And that stuck with me. Because yeah, I saw that in the movies and TV shows. My parents both went to college and they saw that. But, I’d also hear girls saying things like: “oh yeah, she’s my bridesmaid/maid of honor”, “my relationship with my big/little(s) is amazing”, etc., etc. and I wanted that. I wanted someone to be my sister. My adopted (not really, but practically) sister was not in San Antonio. I had no friends, and the one I did make was about to jump into the sorority boat with, or without me. And honestly, what did I have to lose in applying?

NOW THAT I’M IN

The rest is honestly a beautiful history. I may not have got along with every sister in my organization, but that never stopped the feeling of being in a sisterhood. I admired—and still do—the wonderful women that have created and continued to grow my sorority. And we all agreed, even if we didn’t get along all the time, we still love and respected each other. And that is what it means to be sisters.


(I event got to be a Maid of Honor)

Most of the women that have joined my sorority that are first generation women, and even if they weren’t or aren’t, they still have this ambition and drive to be successful that many first generation students have. They are courageous leaders. They are kind and intelligent. And they are each unique. I mean, some of these girls were in multiple organizations, taking honor courses, and had more than one job. They would make it to community service every Saturday morning, on time, with great attitudes, ready to work, bright-eyed and bushy tailed. You'd never know they had been partying till the 3, 4, even 5 am.

Now that I’m in I do want to share these opportunities that KDChi has given me. Because being in a sorority can be a beautiful experience. My class sister, Ashley Cano, said in her mini graduation speech during our grad farewell: “You get out what you put in.”

I live by that phrase. Being in a sorority—in any organization—that is completely true. If you make the effort to build those relationships, put effort into the events and activities, you will reap the benefits.

HOW IT CHANGED MY LIFE

This organization, Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, Inc., has influenced me substantially and I’d like to say for the better. My parents have even noticed. My mom always comments that my confidence and my feistiness has grown and I am appearing to be a more empowered woman every day.

And I know I can count of my sisters. Heck, when I applied for jobs recently the first people I thought to ask to be a reference are my sorority sisters. Although they are our University, District, and National advisers, I knew I could count on them to provide an accurate description of me and my ability to work for whatever company I was applying to.

(My little sister, her little sister, my second little, and my second little and grand little's class sister)

(My sister and I got to go to Chicago for our sorority's National Conference a year ago. Got matching shirts while we were there.)

I have had my ups and downs with my sorority, just as any one person does with any organization or school activity, but I am so thankful for every experience I have had. And of course for the amazing friends I call sisters. I do will always relish in all the moments I’ve shared with so many of my sisters. The 2 am baking sessions, the drives down winding roads, the talks under a blanket fort, the midnight pep talks, the retreat in the woods with no power, or even the long nights making cake pops talking about Disney characters.

I encourage every girl to take a look at Greek life in their University. And truly look into each one because once you find that one that clicks for you, you won’t regret it.

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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.

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Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi

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Poetry On Odyssey: The Foundations Of Family

A shape poem that illistrates the liminal relationship between friendship, family, and home.

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Original Poem By Melanie Krug

There is great distinction between the words House and Home. A House is a building, a place to stay, to hold all of your belongings. Home is a feeling, an idea, a concept. We don't say that we feel at house, or that something is housey, instead, we say that something feels homey, we feel at Home.

In a perfect world, we grow up with our families. In a great big house with a white picket fence living 'The American Dream.'

House.

As kids, we introduce the place where we reside to other kids in the manner, "This is my House." Our introductions of the place that we come back to every night, they're just statements of facts. There's no subliminal meaning, no emotion, no individuality. Our House is just the place in which we live.

The chorus of the song, "Strangers" by Passenger go as follows, "Though you're in a house, don't mean it's a home..."

As we get older, we learn to understand the distinction between the two words and begin to use them accordingly. We come to understand the idea that someone else's house, a place of work, any given room can be your Home. Even if you continue to pay a monthly payment for your House.

What makes a Home different than a House is a Home has love and comfort. There a people, memories, ideas, and rituals that partake in your Home that a House just can't seem to grasp.

When we are all grown up and have created the Home that we want, the one that consists of all the people and things that you love and enjoy, that is when we begin to say, "Welcome." "Welcome to my HOME."

We have desire to invite people into that place that we have made our own. We want to extend the family that resides in the home, with our own people that we have found. Because, there is no greater joy than sharing a place that you love with the people that you love.

Cover Image Credit:

www.livehappy.com

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