Wise Fools: The Sorority Life of Christy Le

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Hello all! I’m Christy Le, an enthusiastic but slightly sarcastic goofball who will be your second-year blogger for Wise Fools. Follow me on my tumultuous journey as I awkwardly stumble through my Sophomore year and courageously battle the vicious beast best known as “the Sophomore Slump.”

Hey guys! It’s everyone’s favourite time of day again (i.e. the time at which a new Wise Fools blog post comes out)!

As you can infer from the title of this article, I joined a sorority this week, and if you were one of my various Facebook friends who was ridiculously confused when you saw a photo of me sorority-girl-squatting last week, then read on as this post is for you! (In regards to the crappy title photo, this is my composite photo for my sorority and I obviously don’t care enough about you guys to actually buy the digital version of this photo, so you’re stuck with this ridiculous proof.) Jk, love my readers. ❤

Sophomore Slump Survival Update:

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The minute the photo above hit Facebook, I was bombarded with people texting and messaging me to confirm whether or not I had just joined a sorority. I got asked countless times why I had decided to join, and everyone felt the need to tell me how shocked they were that I was in a sorority now. “You totally don’t seem like the sorority type!” “Why did you join?! You already have friends!” and my personal favourite: “Oh my god, that’s so funny! I can’t wait to see you do the sorority-girl squat in all of your pictures!” Yes, because being in a sorority does in fact restrict me to posing in one stance in all of my photos for the rest of my existence. And while these all were said (hopefully) in a playful manner by well-intentioned friends, I can’t help but feel weirdly rejected by my friends as a result of my decision to join a sorority.

I find the entire thing a bit humourous. Greek life at Brown has this weird cloud of stigma surrounding it. If I were to tell my friends that I joined a club where I hate on Keeshonden puppies (Awful, I know), people would have found this only remotely interesting. However, the minute I mention that I’m now in a sorority, calamity ensues. Brown is a pretty open and accepting place, but weirdly enough, it’s also a place where even your closest friends get a little weird about you being involved in Greek life. The minute I tell someone that I’m in a sorority, I can see them take a second to re-look at me and they get this look on their face as if noticing something they haven’t seen before.

The phrase I’ve heard most often in response to me joining is “Well, I guess that you just don’t really seem like a sorority girl…” And while this is a legitimate claim at most other universities, I don’t think this claim holds any validity at Brown. The students involved in Greek life at Brown cannot be categorized to fit a certain type or mold. The fraternities and sororities here are not as homogeneous as they are at other universities. Brown’s Greek life is pretty tame and laid-back. And the sorority that I decided to join, in my eyes, holds a wonderfully varied group of girls whom all have their own personalities. There’s an eclectic group of different concentrations in the house, and everyone is studying something that they’re truly passionate about. Everyone has their own projects, interests, and clubs outside of sorority life. And everyone is their own individual person. But why do people still see us as one homogeneous stereotype when this is so clearly not the case at Brown?

This entire week, I have been teased by my friends about me being in a sorority. Being the jokester that I am, I just laughed these off and even lightheartedly joined in with them, but then, last night, I actually had an interesting experience with my friends regarding my involvement in Greek life. When someone isn’t on a Varsity team or involved in Greek life, they’re called an “independent.” Sometimes, some independents take immense pride in being independent and try to make you feel as if you have insufficient social skills since you had to join a social program to make friends (I know, Leland, I know. I’m a hypocrite. My apologies).

Last night, when one of my good male friends asked everyone in the room if he should rush a frat in the spring, one of my other good friends took it upon herself to scoff incredulously at such a ridiculous notion. She then went on to make a bold claim where she insinuated that everyone in that room was obviously above needing to recruit friends through Greek life as they’re independents and Greek life is below them. It was a slight at me for being involved in a sorority and resulted in a pretty weird moment. There I was, standing in a room with all of my closest friends, and for the first time ever, I felt alienated and lesser than them for needing to “resort” to joining Greek life. I felt incompetent, I felt different, and I felt uncomfortable. And the funny thing is that it’s only been one week of the sorority life for me. I mean, if my friends are already starting to slight me for joining a sorority when I’m not even a full-fledged sister yet, what does the future hold for our friendships? Greek life is something from which I used to distance myself. I felt no need to join a sorority because I loved my close friend group dearly and was able to successfully meet new people all of the time. I, like this female independent, thought of greek life as a sign of desperation for the socially awkward who were incapable of finding friends outside of a forced social environment.

So why did I join a sorority? Well, honestly, to force myself to grow as a person. I’m a second year now, and I’ve established a very steady group of friends. We stay inside their suites on weekends and we hang out. Once we get hungry, we walk down the street to eat and then we go to bed afterwards. The night ends here. Now, I don’t want to discredit the fun of these nights at all. Some nights, it’s really nice to have a solid friend group that I can bond with and be myself with, but now that Freshman year is over, I’m rarely ever meeting new people. And as a Biomed Engineering/Pre-Med concentrator, it is simply too easy for me to lock myself in the library and refuse the company of anyone other than my textbooks. I joined a sorority because I think it gives me an opportunity to meet people that I wouldn’t normally get to meet. It forces me to go out of my comfort zone and really put myself out there as I look for deeper friendships. Furthermore, the group of girls in the sorority that I joined all seem like very cool, intriguing people that I would try to get to know even if I weren’t in their sorority, so why not just join to make it easier? Unlike at other universities, being involved in Greek life at Brown doesn’t raise your social standing at all. Thus, those who are involved in Greek life at Brown are actually those whom are in search of deeper friendships. WEIRD, RIGHT? At Brown, sisterhood ACTUALLY means forming close bonds within your sorority and not just joining to meet your future husband from the fellow brother fraternity. *mindblown*

Lessons Learned:

1). People will probably judge you and ridicule you for some of the choices you make in your life.  These people are not only unworthy of a response from you but should probably leave you to your Greek-life-joining ways and go sort out their deep-rooted insecurity issues. I don’t regret my decision to join a sorority at all despite some of my friends’ responses. I’m actually even a little grateful that I joined a sorority and ruffled their feathers. It keeps life interesting, ya know?

2). After knowing you for a while, I think it’s only natural that people categorize your personality into a box in their mind. And when you act outside of this box, chaos will probably erupt in your friend group. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It actually is a pretty interesting thing as this tests your college friendships in all of the right ways. You end up learning a lot about the people you surround yourself with and just how accepting they actually are as opposed to how accepting they claim to be.

3). These days, it’s raining a lot so take your time going up and down the stairs around campus. Otherwise, you’ll end up like me and slip down an entire flight of concrete stairs on one of the main quads. Why does my life resemble a Youtube parody video of a real life?

4). Eat as much seasonally-limited foods right now as you can. It’s about to be mid-October, (WHERE IS THE SEMESTER GOING??) and I am disappointed in myself for the lack of Blue Room pumpkin muffins that I’ve consumed. It’s incredibly tragic. I need to get my priorities straight and my life in order.

So thanks so much for reading once again! Check back next Sunday for another update on my life as a SORORITYYYYYY GIRLLLLLLL  sophomore just trying to survive the slump at Brown.

If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or suggestions, feel free to email me at christy_le@brown.edu! Thanks so much for reading and have a splendid day!

Until next week,

Christy

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