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  #1  
Old 05-01-2019, 03:15 PM
littlegidding littlegidding is offline
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advice for a student

Hi all,

I'm an academic services professional staff member at a public university in the Northeast. We've got a small but growing number of sororities and fraternities, and quite a few of my students are involved in Greek life. I, however, went to a very small liberal arts college with no Greek life, and so it's, well, a mystery to me. I've been lurking here for a little while to get a better sense of Greek life as a whole. (So please bear with me if my terminology is sometimes wrong - I keep stopping my students and making them define terms for me.)

In any case! I have a student who is an NPC sorority, and recently she's been talking to me about dropping out - disaffiliating? I'm getting the correct term? She feels left out, ignored and belittled by her big, and disrespected as a whole. She's also regretting not joining a multicultural sorority instead (as she's Latina). We've talked a bit a bit about how it's supposed to be a lifelong thing, and a commitment, but I think she just feels overly frustrated at this point. She keeps saying that part of her doesn't want to quit, but she feels out of place.

I suggested that she talk to the leadership in her sorority, and maybe the Greek Life staff member in the Dean's office. But she does come and talk to me a lot, so I was wondering if there's any advice any of you might have for her -- and me, as I'd like to help her navigate this situation.
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  #2  
Old 05-01-2019, 04:49 PM
Tom Earp Tom Earp is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlegidding View Post
Hi all,

I'm an academic services professional staff member at a public university in the Northeast. We've got a small but growing number of sororities and fraternities, and quite a few of my students are involved in Greek life. I, however, went to a very small liberal arts college with no Greek life, and so it's, well, a mystery to me. I've been lurking here for a little while to get a better sense of Greek life as a whole. (So please bear with me if my terminology is sometimes wrong - I keep stopping my students and making them define terms for me.)

In any case! I have a student who is an NPC sorority, and recently she's been talking to me about dropping out - disaffiliating? I'm getting the correct term? She feels left out, ignored and belittled by her big, and disrespected as a whole. She's also regretting not joining a multicultural sorority instead (as she's Latina). We've talked a bit a bit about how it's supposed to be a lifelong thing, and a commitment, but I think she just feels overly frustrated at this point. She keeps saying that part of her doesn't want to quit, but she feels out of place.

I suggested that she talk to the leadership in her sorority, and maybe the Greek Life staff member in the Dean's office. But she does come and talk to me a lot, so I was wondering if there's any advice any of you might have for her -- and me, as I'd like to help her navigate this situation.
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  #3  
Old 05-01-2019, 05:37 PM
Titchou Titchou is offline
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First of all, she will be an alum far longer than the 4 years she's in college. She'll findwomen of all races,religions,colors, etc in the alum groups. Think the rest of her life not just today. Second, she should talk with her chapter's Exec Board or chapter adviser about her situation and options open to her in the particular group. And third, if she's thinking of trying for a multi cultural group, they may have rules about former NPC members. Assuming will get her in a bind.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:56 AM
littlegidding littlegidding is offline
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Thanks, Titchou. I think part of the issue is that she's so overwhelmed with negative feelings about "right now" that "rest of her life as an alum" is not in the picture. I will make sure she looks into the rules about the multicultural groups as well.
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  #5  
Old 05-02-2019, 10:15 AM
AZTheta AZTheta is offline
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Ah, yes, the late spring drama/ugliness surfaces like clockwork. I say this as a long-standing advisor. First time I witnessed it was way back in college. By this point in the academic year, everyone is sick and tired of each other. Iím serious. Tempers are short and fuses even shorter. Takes nothing for sisters to get ugly.

Offering this as another perspective on the situation that you have in front of you. Agree with Titchouís advice. I would encourage the member to step back from the drama, and not make any decisions until things have cooled. If this is a campus with fall recruitment, that may change this memberís feelings a lot. The activities surrounding recruitment bring members closer. So does living together in the facility (donít know the specifics of your campus and donít need to know).

Yes, of course there are other group dynamics that may be at play here. Sometimes there is one member who does draw the ire of the group. This isnít exclusive to NPC sororities. Iím just saying that late Spring is when everyone is just burned out with school, and each other. I kind of still get that way myself. Time for a vacation!
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  #6  
Old 05-02-2019, 02:36 PM
littlegidding littlegidding is offline
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This time of year is stressful for everyone! I get more of the academic drama (e.g., "I'm failing this class!") in my office, but life stuff affects school stuff, so I also get to hear about students' lives in general.


I do think she needs to step back (good advice for drama generally). I believe recruitment just ended on our campus, which may be a good thing for her - new people, new atmosphere, etc. And we all definitely need a vacation.
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  #7  
Old 05-04-2019, 02:43 AM
SigmaCat SigmaCat is offline
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Ah, yes, the late spring drama/ugliness surfaces like clockwork. I say this as a long-standing advisor. First time I witnessed it was way back in college. By this point in the academic year, everyone is sick and tired of each other. Iím serious. Tempers are short and fuses even shorter. Takes nothing for sisters to get ugly.

Seconded, and the grass will probably not be greener elsewhere. She needs to seriously analyze the trouble and where it's coming from. If it's seniors (and in my experience, it often is - people acting out because they're afraid of the future), their days are numbered and they won't be back.

Either way, the chapter/sorority can't address the matter if she fails to make her concerns known to those who are designated to help solve these problems. She should discuss the matter with an advisor and, if she's comfortable enough with them, members who are officially tasked with chapter relations matters (whether it's a specific officer or committee member). In our sorority, we had a small committee including elected non-officers, a CR officer, and an advisor that was available to privately meet with members to discuss this type of thing. It worked well in most instances.

The student should also consider what her contribution to the situation might be. I get the feeling that she's still pretty new, what with the big sister drama and all, and may be having trouble adjusting to the reality that not everybody's going to be best friends.

If recruitment just ended (was in informal? This seems like a weird time, but I'll accept it at face value), that might have something to do with the tension. Sometimes group activities have a bonding effect, other times the stress brings out the worst in people. If numbers are low and there's constant pressure to recruit, then it's natural to expect that everybody's on edge.

And, if she's not living in yet, or is so busy that she's often begging out of chapter activities, then of course she's not going to feel like she's a central part of the chapter...because she isn't. Depending on the circumstances, some members might be justifiably annoyed if they feel like she's never around.
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  #8  
Old 05-04-2019, 05:03 AM
33girl 33girl is offline
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Originally Posted by littlegidding View Post
She's also regretting not joining a multicultural sorority instead (as she's Latina).
I would also ask if this is coming from her internally (ie grass is greener) or if thereís someone new in her life - friend, boyfriend - putting this in her ear.
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Old 05-06-2019, 11:15 AM
littlegidding littlegidding is offline
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Originally Posted by SigmaCat View Post
If recruitment just ended (was in informal? This seems like a weird time, but I'll accept it at face value), that might have something to do with the tension. Sometimes group activities have a bonding effect, other times the stress brings out the worst in people. If numbers are low and there's constant pressure to recruit, then it's natural to expect that everybody's on edge.
Not sure it was formal or informal -- I saw a lot of advertisements for "Greek Week" around campus, but it's not in my (professional) lane, so I don't really know much other than that and what my students tell me.

I know that my student did say that her sorority's numbers will be low next year because they have a lot of seniors graduating. One thing we did talk about was whether that could be a good thing for her.

There are no sorority houses, so it's not a matter of living there. I do think part of it is a cycle - she feels left out, so she doesn't go to activities, which makes her feel more left out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 33girl
I would also ask if this is coming from her internally (ie grass is greener) or if thereís someone new in her life - friend, boyfriend - putting this in her ear.
It seems mostly internal, but then again, there may be external pressure that I don't know about.
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  #10  
Old 05-06-2019, 05:28 PM
ASTalumna06 ASTalumna06 is offline
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I know that my student did say that her sorority's numbers will be low next year because they have a lot of seniors graduating. One thing we did talk about was whether that could be a good thing for her.
Then she should definitely stick it out at least until the fall. With numerous seniors graduating and room for many new sisters, the entire chapter could change. She'll have an opportunity to welcome members into the group and could create new friendships.
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  #11  
Old 05-06-2019, 06:23 PM
FSUZeta FSUZeta is online now
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Greek week ordinarily is a series of friendly competitions between Greek orgs. They work together to raise money for a specific charity/scholarship fund. Maybe Greek Week is the same at your school? Recruitment is usually referred to as recruitment.
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  #12  
Old 05-07-2019, 10:03 AM
GreekOne GreekOne is offline
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I would suggest to her that she accept a position of some sort. The Greek experience, as well as most in life, will mean more if she puts more of herself into it. You can't be a passive bystander and develop the love of an organization that most of us on this forum have. We have grown to love our chapters through shared experiences with our sisters/brothers. The more she puts in, the more of a connection she will feel.

If she is a newer member, and hasn't been attending much, she probably has not bonded with her pledge class. Some of my closest friends were women who pledged the year after me. Encourage her to recognize that she can be a great big sister and create the sort of friendships that she wants with the women who will join the chapter in the fall.

If she is uncomfortable and attends fewer and fewer activities, as a result, she will feel even more isolated. However, if she finds even just one or two sisters who she likes and puts the effort into getting together with them, she will begin to feel more committed and want to attend more often. Encourage her to name a few that she has started to connect with and have her focus on building those relationships by asking to get together for dinner or lunch, etc. just one on one. It is a great place to start.

Unfortunately, women see pictures of chapter members and they appear to be super close. When they pledge they expect this feeling to overwhelm them from the first day. When that doesn't happen, they are disappointed. Remind her that things worth having take time and effort. It doesn't happen overnight. I told my daughters to think about a sports team that they were on. They didn't feel the same way about the women on the team the very first day of practice freshman year as they did during the last game of senior year. Recognizing that it doesn't miraculously happen without effort will take some pressure off of the expectations she is placing on herself.
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  #13  
Old 05-08-2019, 12:21 PM
littlegidding littlegidding is offline
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If she is uncomfortable and attends fewer and fewer activities, as a result, she will feel even more isolated. However, if she finds even just one or two sisters who she likes and puts the effort into getting together with them, she will begin to feel more committed and want to attend more often. Encourage her to name a few that she has started to connect with and have her focus on building those relationships by asking to get together for dinner or lunch, etc. just one on one. It is a great place to start.

Unfortunately, women see pictures of chapter members and they appear to be super close. When they pledge they expect this feeling to overwhelm them from the first day. When that doesn't happen, they are disappointed. Remind her that things worth having take time and effort. It doesn't happen overnight. I told my daughters to think about a sports team that they were on. They didn't feel the same way about the women on the team the very first day of practice freshman year as they did during the last game of senior year. Recognizing that it doesn't miraculously happen without effort will take some pressure off of the expectations she is placing on herself.
She said that she was closer to her g-big (am I getting that term right?), but that her g-big is graduating. I asked her about other members, but she didn't really give me a straight answer.


I like the sports team analogy - I have been part of teams that have been close, but it took time and commitment to get there. I just don't know if my student is willing to put in the time and commitment, given the way she's feeling right now.
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