A Story of Vulnerability

The Story: I hope this story is one that makes you care, because it is a subject matter that has had a lot of negative connotations in recent years. Regardless, it is a story that allowed me to grow the fraction of myself which I was consciously aware of. Similarly to Brené Brown, I not only like, but need my life to be organized. Any “messiness” or lack of clarity causes anxiety. I don’t mean in the sense that my room is perfectly organized or I have a different color pen for each class in my calendar… that is only sometimes true. Rather, in the sense that I like to have my head and my thoughts mapped out; I don’t like for anything to go wrong or make for complications in my planned out life. Change is okay for me only when it is warranted.

Then: Coming in to freshman year at CU, being from the South and approximately fifteen thousand miles away from home, I pondered the idea of rushing in the University’s Greek system. Almost all of my friends from high school were rushing at their own schools, many of them already excepting bids before I had even started class. But, uncertainty arose from knowing that I would be going through this experience by myself, without my friends from home or my mom. It was solely my own experience. Unlike my friends at UGA or Alabama or South Carolina, I was rushing at a school were the percent of Greek life was much smaller in the student body. It didn’t have the reputation that it did in those other schools, being both good and bad I presumed. I had heard that rush at CU was supposed to be more inclusive and not so “cut throat.” Yet, people had gotten so “politically correct” with all of it I wasn’t sure if it was something I even wanted to be a part of. I didn’t like how people made comments about “paying for your friends,” or the exclusivity of the whole system. But, I had also seen so many people go through it and rave that it had been one of the best decisions they had made thus far in their life. So, I decided to take a chance and sign up.

How: In the days leading up to rush, everyone just told me the same cliche things: “Just be yourself,” and “Don’t worry everyone ends up where they are supposed to be.” Neither of these advisories gave me any comfort. I don’t think I really even understood what “being yourself” meant yet, and was so scared that I would be asked questions I didn’t know the answer to. Or worse, they would see a part of me that they didn’t like, something I didn’t even realize about myself, and kick me to the curb. Now, due to the amount of stress I was facing during the experience, it all kind of seems like a blur when I look back on it. All the days and details mixing together. I was putting myself out in front of hundreds of girls who I had never met, and would probably never get to know. This was my first, and possibly last, impression. Yet, I knew that for their to be any hope of this going well, I had to let my guard down. All I can remember is feeling so vulnerable and exposed. 10635793_10205016959008206_2553903917898866018_nExcept for one day, the last day, when I opened an envelope I had been anxiously waiting to open for five days (see photo for proof of happiness).

Now: When Brené Brown said that happiness is found in the willingness to do something with no guarantee, I can look back on my own experiences and say with truthfulness, that I believe this to be true. I now serve as Sisterhood Chair in my sorority, Chi Omega. I hate the phrase “life changing” because isn’t every moment life changing if you think about it? Nevertheless, this experience brought forth a whole new element to my life that has given me such joy, made me more hole-hearted and allowed me to feel connections I did not realize I had been missing.



3 thoughts on “A Story of Vulnerability

  1. Nina,

    That’s so great that you are in Chi O, some of my best friends are in it. Rushing can be so scary because of having all those people judging you so intensely and I’m so happy you had such a positive experience! I’ve heard many stories from my friends who go to school in the South and they all talk about how insane rushing is there. I know people who have actually changed schools because they did not get into the sorority they wanted!


  2. Nina,

    Great to hear you have had such a positive Greek experience. I also experienced uncertainty before rushing as I was sort of the odd man out being two years older than most guys rushing. Transferring in my Junior year I found it difficult to meet people who I clicked with on multiple levels. I found myself meeting say one person who was outdoorsy but didn’t go out much or vice versa. Joining a Fraternity introduced me to “my people”.


    1. Life gets better once you find “your people”, and “your people” can be anywhere, but you’ll never find that out until you put yourself out there. Nina, Drew, it sounds like you were both able to do that through the Greek system. Coming to CU also put me a long way from home. Ultimately, I was able to find “my people” in both NROTC and the triathlon. Spending time with people who share your values and interests makes life more fulfilling.

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