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I Changed When I Joined A Sorority

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None of us are immune to the fact that people pass a lot of judgment when you decide to join a sorority. Whether it was from a friend who passed snide remarks after she stalked your freshman year Facebook album, a fling who felt uneasy about your newly packed schedule, or a professor who critiqued Greek Life upon seeing you dawn your new letters. If you’re anything like me, you initially shrugged off the passive-aggressiveness. Everything was fine until someone came to you with the “you changed so much when you joined a sorority.”

Flashback to the spring of my sophomore year after a semester-long rush period, a tiresome recruitment weekend, and a six-week new-member education process, I finally was able to call myself a sister. I was overjoyed at the prospect of living out my childhood dream of being a real-life Barbie and was equally pumped to actually have friends who didn’t just use me for my stats homework. Yet as undeniably excited as I was to enter this new chapter of my life, I couldn’t help but feel an immense turmoil which stemmed from the incessant reminders of how much I had changed. I constantly felt as though I was battling to be two different identities. The girl whom I used to be before I became my “sorority self” was a perfectionist, a Dean’s List student, a congressional intern, an advocate for women’s rights, a future Harvard doctoral candidate. The sorority version of me became the complete and utter opposite of her. I was turning into an academic trainwreck, a party girl, and a frat basement flirt.

I got a bit distracted by all of the recreational activities made available to me, and ultimately neglected the real reason why I was in college. My usual study sessions with professors became replaced with Chipotle dates and craft-store runs with my sisters. Suddenly I was no longer interested in becoming the next prodigy of Sociology, yet I gained a newfound obsession with perfecting recruitment outfits and Pinterest searching mixer themes.

Then one night, my dear friend vodka cranberry made a holy appearance and led me to salvation in my time of need. Upon finishing my low-cal beverage of choice, I hopped into a cab and in typical white girl wasted fashion began to strike up a conversation with my friendly middle-aged cab driver. Naturally, I told him my entire life story in which I obviously noted my lack of post-grad plans and ongoing identity crisis. Much to my surprise, instead of hardcore judging my situation like most semi-real adults, he said, “people only tell you that you’ve changed when you stop including them in your plans and start doing what you want.” I sobbed as I took in his somber and sober revelation for my future.

In the days that followed, I recovered from my hangover and tried to piece together my memories of the previous night. I recalled what he said, and began repeating it aloud. Much like how it is in the case of most of my inebriated hookups, I couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment it happened, but something in me snapped. For the first time in my life, I decided that I didn’t give a shit about what I was supposed to do. With that came the realization that I did, in fact, change when I joined my sorority. My personality changed, my perspective changed, my priorities changed, and my life changed because my sisters and my overall Greek experience finally gave me the chance to be my real self.

I’ll always admire the nerdy, ambitious, and overtly serious girl I was before I got my letters. She’s still there. Now she just likes to go out with her sisters too.

This featured image is a stock photo from our database. The people photographed are not in any way associated with the story.

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Kristen Simonelli is a Monmouth University Student, Writer, Advocate, and Sorority Woman. As a frequently featured columnist on various contemporary online media platforms, Kristen's philosophy of raising awareness for neglected social issues is personified through her written work with the intention of cultivating a voice for individuals who are unable to speak up for themselves. Feedback and professional inquiries for Kristen may be fowarded to her directly via email at kristen.e.simonelli@gmail.com

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