Dealing With Rejection and Being a REAL ADULT

Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been doing basically nothing with my life over the past couple of months. Remember back when I was writing about applying to grad school? Well, that was a bust. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t actually expect to get into any of my programs. All but one were Clinical Ph.D. programs, and I just didn’t make the cut. I think in the end it was my GPA that brought me down the most, and that’s unfortunately not something I can easily fix.

I’m trying not to whine about it, I really, really am. But when I find myself curled up on the couch, bawling my eyes out because I feel like a worthless pile of nothing, I figure it’s time to write about it. The poor Significant Other hasn’t known me long enough to quite know how to deal with my occasional emotional outbursts, so I feel bad dumping all this rejection crap on him. So you lucky readers get to enjoy it instead!

I never thought I’d say that I missed school, but I really, REALLY do. Miss it so much, I’ve been looking over old class notes and textbooks when I’m bored. That’s a sad state of affairs to be sure. My boyfriend is going back to school in the fall (online, so slightly different from what I’m used to) and I honestly can’t wait to help him with his work. Except for Chemistry of Hazardous Materials. I feel like a derpasaurus even thinking about the technical knowledge that might entail. But I AM excited about helping him edit his papers, of all things.

I’m afraid that if I don’t keep myself immersed in academia, I’m going to go back to school one day and completely forget all the things I know about studying and being a decent student. I’m moderately good at researching, but that is a skill that can be lost without practice. Believe me, there’s not much researching going on in my life (unless it involves cats).

It doesn’t help that I’m feeling pressure to really DO something with my time spent out of school. My whole life I’ve been in school, been pressured to work, work, study, sleep, study, work, panic, work, cry. College life is constantly GO GO GO, much more than high school, which for me was all about getting into a good university. College came and it was still GO GO GO, but with even more serious consequences behind it, because it eventually must end with a job. Preferably a “good” job, one that’s salaried and with benefits (my dad always called this “being comfortable”). But I’m not in school right now and I don’t have that job. It’s twisting my image of adult life that’s been engrained in me since I could listen to adults talk.

Speaking of being an adult… what is a goddamn adult? I still view myself as a student, so therefore not a REAL ADULT. The Significant Other is a REAL ADULT (which is why I feel uncomfortable calling him “The Boy,” as I have others in the past). I find this incredibly sexy, but also terribly intimidating. He knows what he’s doing with his life, has known what he wanted to do since he was a kid, and does that. Going back to school is just a logical step to make just in case he does one day have to change careers. Maybe it’s that “career” thing. Will I feel like a REAL ADULT when I have one of those?

I’m so sick of being in limbo, of being stuck on a giant hamster wheel, plodding along and going nowhere. When will it end? How can I make it end? I know this sounds terribly childish, but I just don’t know the answer. Anybody out there feel this way too? Anybody got some advice for this struggling wanna-go-back-to-school not-REAL ADULT? Throw me a bone here!

Senioritis And The Quest To Find Fun

I started writing this post in class, which really should be testament to how severe my Senioritis already is. I even like the class and it’s difficult to focus. Maybe that’s because Buddhism has absolutely nothing to do with graduate school applications, except for that they both remind me that life is a continuous cycle of suffering.

I have one semester left at my university, as I’m graduating early. Come December, my undergraduate career will be over and I will have at least 6-7 months in which to do not much of anything… Yeah I’ll have a job, maybe even two, but will that be fun? Not really, unless I get involved with some research project, which would be cool, but unlikely.

I have only a dozen or so weeks left, and since my class schedule isn’t particularly demanding (in addition to Intro Buddhism I’m taking judo), my duties as my sorority Treasurer are dying down, recruitment is largely over, and I can only work at my job but so much, I don’t have much to occupy my time.

Here, freshmen who are often used to being the big fish in a little pond back in high school, get thrown into an only slightly bigger pond with about 6,000 other big fish. Academics are the priority here, but having a high grade point average or SAT scores will not have the admissions committee swooning. Extracurriculars increase you chances of admission significantly; the more the merrier. It’s actually a little ridiculous. However, after admitting all of these eggheaded, highly competitive, and often socially awkward 18-year-olds, the school has to give us things to DO. Because, ya know, we’d be “bored” otherwise. And also probably go out and get fake IDs to drink away our academic sorrows at the three (now four) bars in walking distance. Hence the Activities Fair (which I’m sure all universities have in some capacity or another), which is held in our basketball arena (capacity approx. 8,000). Now you may be wondering why I’m telling this long, drawn out story about college life, but just bear with me.

At the Activities Fair, there are rows of tables laid out into many aisles, with each student organization getting its own table. As an upperclassman I’ve manned a few of these tables. It’s deafeningly loud, and there’s often a crush of bodies around you save for in the upper tiers where the less popular clubs (read: too lazy to get their reservation paperwork in on time) are sequestered. We claim to have over 400 clubs and student-run organizations on this campus – though I have to admit the “Collegiate Tea Drinkers’ Society” is pushing it a bit in terms of legitimacy. Freshmen idle and push their way up and down the looong rows of tables, entranced by the myriad possibilities in front of them. And so, as you may suspect, everyone signs up for everything. I think at my first Activities Fair I put my email on the listservs of upwards of 20 or so organizations. Science Fiction and Fantasy, Voices for Planned Parenthood, Pep Band, Society for Paranormal Investigation, multiple AIDS awareness and relief service trip programs, Amnesty International, Habitat for Humanity, our LGBTIQ advocacy group, Bhangra, Beledi, Japanese Cultural Association… I think you get the point. I had BIG plans.

Two weeks later I’m pulling my hair out in frustration because I get emails multiple times a week from every organization I even had a remote interest in. I’d never had this many emails in my life! And so, I learned how to remove myself from the listservs and pared my campus involvements down to about two. For three years, I had no problems with that, but now…

What am I supposed to do with my time that’s running out? I’ll never have an undergrad experience again, and I feel like I’m missing out on so much! I’ll never get a chance to help put together a magazine focused on promoting and destigmatizing female sexuality. I’ll never get to hand out cupcakes to promote awareness of starvation in Africa (Irony? I could never really tell). The clock is ticking and I feel like I have so much left to do.

And so, in an attempt to get involved with new and fun organizations on campus, another senior friend and I decided we would go to a club meeting for a group called Cypher. It was supposed to be a gathering of slam poetry, break dancing, free styling, as well as other forms of spoken word performers. My friend and I both love slam poetry, so we figured we’d go, listen, maybe learn a few things, then decide if we wanted to really get involved. So we show up (to the outdoor meeting place, sketch as fuck) and there’s literally three dudes standing there. Thankfully I knew one of them and we stopped to chat, see what was up. He told us that he and his crew were apparently supposed to perform (break dancing), but he didn’t know where they were, or if there was even a set of speakers available. Yeah. Super legit, amirite?

So we left. My friend and I were both embarrassed together, but also pretty disheartened. We wanted to get involved, but honestly, finding and meeting new people who have already established friend circles is pretty daunting. Seniors don’t really mix well with freshmen – it’s just a fact. We have totally different college impressions at this point in the semester. Seniors are generally jaded, and any advice we give to freshmen has to be taken with a grain of salt. And with that jaded outlook, we make it hard to open ourselves to new experiences again. We’re so afraid of graduation, of the “real world,” that we forget to appreciate the time we still have to live it up in college.

I’m not really scared of graduation so much as I am of missing out, and I’m not really sure where to turn except inward and focus on myself and my own academic pursuits. I guess that’s just going to have to be enough. So…

This is just gonna have to be the motto.

Pink Is Not My Favorite Color

Once upon a time, as a little freshman trying to find her niche in college life, I decided to attend an informal recruitment event for an all-women’s organization on campus. Yes, I am the member of a National Panhellenic Council sorority. Does it surprise you? Did you expect to see a blonde, baby blue-eyed sorority girl in a pink, low-cut cashmere sweater sitting behind the words on your screen?

Well if you did, shame on you, because I’m not any of those things (and I don’t even own anything cashmere). For the last 3+ years I’ve been an active member and leader of my sorority, holding two separate Exec Board positions and having experience on the campus Panhellenic Council. Believe me when I say that this bitch has beenĀ involved.

Perhaps you’re wondering how in the world a nerdy, shy, nonathletic, nonsmoking and nondrinking, former band-geek got wrapped up in the Greek system – which is infamous for bitchiness, alcohol poisoning, and general catty skankity (and that applies to both the men and women). The only one of those criteria I had down-pat was the bitchiness, which I was trying to quell for the sake of making new friends. I won’t lie and say that I was lured to the initial event by the promise of sisterhood and manicure parties. Rather, I was tempted into going by this kinda-sorta-maybe gigantic crush on a femme bisexual girl who had announced the event at several of the introductory meetings of clubs I was trying to join (among them the Science Fiction/Fantasy Club, and our campus LGBT advocacy group). Not to mention, at least 1/3 of my female hallmates (including my roommate) had gone through the formal recruitment (rush) process and most had accepted invitations to join (bids). I was jealous, I’ll admit. My roommate was ecstatic about her new sisters and when she started hanging up her chapter’s letters on the wall, I was even more determined to see what the fuss was all about.

I still remember exactly what I wore to the sorority house that night. Draped purple shirt, skinny jeans (which was a huge step for me, as I hadn’t ever had the courage to wear them before college, too afraid I’d look like a land whale), and bright red flats. At the recruitment party, I was greeted by a 5-foot-nothing black girl with a huge, bright, and genuine smile who bounced a little when she introduced herself as the Recruitment Director. I didn’t have the slightest clue what that meant, but I smiled and nodded all the same.

I talked to a lot of women that night (one of whom would eventually become my Big Sister), though if you’d asked me their names I’d only be able to rattle off a few. I went home excited and more happy than I’d been in a long time. It was honestly the most I’d ever talked to people I barely knew for such a long period of time. Was it awkward? Yeah, a couple of times when the conversation lulled, but as long as someone brought up Twilight (which was just getting really huge at the time) there was always something to talk about.

I received a bid the next evening and accepted immediately. I’d already discussed the possibility of joining with my parents mom and it was established that I’d have to pay my own way. When I accepted my bid, I really honestly had no idea what I was getting into…

I had no idea that my sorority’s colors were pink and white.

I had no idea how much it would cost.

I had no idea that my chapter was unpopular on campus.

I had no idea what “sisterhood” meant.

I had no idea that it would be the best decision of my life.

No, I’m not kidding. Being a sorority girl has been the most influential part of my development as a young woman. I’ve learned how to speak in front of large groups, how to plan social events, how to mediate problems, how to manage and construct an organization’s budget, not to mention I’ve found a large pool of women from which to pick my bridesmaids one day…

My mom once said, “Of all of my daughters, you are the last one I would have expected to join a sorority.” I really think that’s a testament to how lucky I was to find a chapter where I felt at home.

Being a “sorority girl” doesn’t mean I go out to frat parties and get schwastey-faced until I end up in some dude’s bed. It also definitely doesn’t mean that I judge everyone by their appearance and the brand name of their shoes. I did not pay to have these friends (being Treasurer really opens your eyes to just how much money is essential to running any organization). Some of the stereotypes of sororities can be entirely true, but I firmly believe you can’t judge us until you’ve spent some time around us, maybe even living with us. My chapter, though small and struggling a bit in terms of membership, is full of vibrant and beautiful women who put their heart and soul into loving and supporting one another. I’m proud to be a part of an organization that will love me for life, no matter where I go or what I end up doing. I’m still me, just me as a part of something interconnected and special.

And my favorite color is still green.

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