I Have a Choice.

October 24, 2013

(first photo taken after receiving my bid; me on Bid Day)
 

Today marks the 111th Founders Day for my sorority. To try to explain what that means in words would be almost impossible, but I wrote this post a while back that attempts to do so. This week also happens to mark “iHave a Choice” week, which brings alcohol awareness to college campuses. I started thinking about my sorority experience and how alcohol played a role.

I joined my sorority after only being in school for a couple of weeks; I was only 18. I knew that going to college would bring new experiences, but I didn’t prepare myself on how exactly I would handle my first interaction with alcohol. A few of us were over at an older sister’s house one night and they started playing this weird game that involved red cups and ping-pong balls. I was offered a beer and politely declined, but when I told the girls that I had never had it before, they insisted that I at least try it. I did, and it was probably the most disgusting thing I had ever tasted. I thought to myself, how could anyone ever enjoy drinking this? Thankfully, my sister laughed at the face I made when I tried it and didn’t push me anymore to try it. I was lucky.

Over the years, my closest friends would go out and drink while I stayed in with Nick. He and I hung out with an older crowd who enjoyed alcohol in a (mostly) responsible way. They were over the college phase and didn’t need to get blitzed every night, Thursday to Saturday. I got picked on a little bit about it, but I was always able to say no.

Why did I so often decline? Honestly, I really don’t know. My parents didn’t drink much growing up. None of my friends in high school did. The taste didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t want to be out-of-control of my own body. I was underage, and the thought of getting caught terrified me.

Finally, my 21st birthday arrived. No worries anymore about getting caught, right? I had only one drink on my 21st birthday, just to say I did. But I still didn’t see the appeal. But that’s the point: it was my choice.

Now, I’m 24 years old. I mentioned in my vlog a couple of weeks ago that I have never been drunk. Part of me thinks, am I missing out on one of the essential experiences of growing up? My friends pick on me whenever they hear that I’ve never experienced this. But to be honest? I’m proud of it.

A few months ago, I was on retreat with the sorority chapter that I help advise and corrected another adviser when she implied that I had regrets in college due to alcohol. “No,” I said. “I’ve never been drunk.” The girls looked at me like I was crazy, some of them even gasped or snickered. But I’m proud that I can be a role model to the women that believe that A) joining a sorority means that you have to drink or B) you don’t have to live up to society’s expectations.*

Whenever you see sororities portrayed on TV, they are all about
partying. Heck, I’ve even seen sorority girls that I personally know
posting on Twitter about “total sorority moments” that involve alcohol.
There are countless women on Twitter who are constantly tweeting about their weekend antics. But for me? That’s definitely not what our founders had in mind all those
years ago. 

You DO have a choice. No one, and I mean no one, should ever feel pressured to drink in college, whether they are a member of a Greek organization or not. It shouldn’t be expected of those joining those organizations. I don’t judge my friends that decided to partake during our college years. But I’m so proud to be a part of an organization that supports my ability to have a choice on the matter and not be forced into doing something I didn’t want to do. Edited to add: The best part? My sorority experience wasn’t any less amazing because of my choice to not partake. I still served as vice president, I still gave my all to it, and it’s still a huge part of my life.

Today, 111 years ago, those six women joined together for the purpose stated below. As you can see, alcohol wasn’t a part of it. It definitely doesn’t have to be a necessary part of the college experience. Call me a prude, call me whatever: I’ll never stop fighting for the right for our young women to be able to make their own decisions.

*Please don’t think by any means that I’m implying that by enjoying
alcohol you aren’t a good role model. That’s not what I intend at all. I
just don’t ever want anyone to feel pressured to do something they
don’t want to do.

How do you deal with peer pressure?
If you weren’t a part of a sorority, what do you think of them? 

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