‘Nonanswers’: Are you speeding?

Impressed by the questions we ask in day by day dialog however by no means discover a comfortable conclusion for, Nonanswers explores the emotions, confusions and tribulations of Stanford college students. Each essay on this column will probably be centered round a well timed query, and will probably be structured round private experiences, conversations and tales from my time on campus. Be happy to submit a query for me to dissect, or ship me a solution (or nonanswer) for one which I ask.

Disclaimer: This essay isn’t an announcement on whether or not or to not be a part of Greek life, neither is it one on the morals and ethics of that call. Each of these matters are far past my space of information and I’m writing solely about my private expertise. My story is certainly one of making peace.

Standing in line outdoors of Cowell Cluster, I fidget with my identify tag and take sluggish, deep breaths as women flitter round in flashes of pastel patterns and flowy materials. Coming into school, I didn’t think about myself as a sorority woman — I went to a highschool that was solely two % Asian and had by no means felt fairly or cool sufficient to satisfy the expectations of that picture. I’m additionally a bit bit awkward and simply excited by area of interest conversations about chicken calls and phrase origins, so regardless of having superb mates and an general constructive expertise rising up, there’s all the time been this sense of “otherness,” of being only a fraction too bizarre to slot in. Nevertheless, throughout my first two quarters at Stanford, I met individuals who appreciated the identical unusual enjoyable information that I did and made me really feel like possibly I could possibly be concurrently a nerd and well-liked. I additionally had conversations with ladies in Greek life who described their experiences as constructive and completely different from the stereotypes related to the establishment. They spoke of how numerous and inclusive their respective sororities have been, and the way being in Greek life had opened up alternatives for them all through their Stanford experiences. When the portal opened in March, I discovered myself signing up for recruitment, hoping to discover a group of ladies the place I could possibly be myself, develop as an individual, and really feel at house.

Though neither of them had been in a fraternity or sorority, my mother and father have been supportive of my resolution, and when my mother came around me in February, we went purchasing for outfits collectively. I informed her I used to be nervous and anxious about rejection, and he or she responded, “Should you settle for your self, no person else can reject you.” Earlier than she left to fly house to New York, she, as soon as once more, reassured me that if I used to be true to myself, everyone would love me. I knew she was talking with a mom’s bias, but it surely was comforting to know that it doesn’t matter what, there was one particular person on the earth who actually believed that about me.

Impulsively, the door flies open and music begins blaring. Ladies are screaming and leaping in entrance of me, and earlier than I can regain my stability, I’m whisked away to a nook, one-on-one with a chapter member. She’s smiling at me, asking how I’m feeling and telling me there’s completely nothing to fret about. Then come the questions.

“Inform me about your self!”

“How have you ever been adjusting to varsity?”

“What are you concerned in on campus?”

“Should you might do something you needed for the day, what would you do?”

“Should you have been a fruit, which one would you be?”

We bounce off of one another’s solutions, looking for widespread floor and sharing tales and laughs. I ask her about Stanford and her sorority, and I form of overlook that I’m presupposed to be speaking about me and presenting myself as a invaluable potential new member (PNM). Quickly, she will get swapped in with a brand new woman and we undergo the questions and solutions once more. This continues time and again, home after home, and by the tip of the day, I’m exhausted and sick of myself, praying to by no means should share the place I’m from and what dorm I’m in ever once more. On the similar time, although, I really feel energized and excited, having met so many new folks from a aspect of Stanford that I’d by no means seen earlier than. From hustling to make it to the following home on time to standing in line, ready to be let in, I understand that everyone is simply as nervous and energetic as I’m, and it feels good to be in the identical boat. I’ve gathered a lot info via my numerous conversations, and I knock out as quickly as my head hits my pillow, hoping that tomorrow and the day after will as soon as once more go properly for me.

To get straight to the purpose, it doesn’t go properly — or a minimum of not how I hoped it will. On the second day, I’m shocked and elated to get again homes that I’m enthusiastic about, regardless of being minimize from others that I appreciated. The cycle repeats of talking to new folks and studying about every group’s values and philanthropies. I don’t have any adverse interactions, however by my final get together, I do know that there’s just one home that seems like house, the place the conversations really feel easy and the place I see myself becoming in and thriving. I can’t sleep in any respect, as a result of my thoughts received’t shut up. The subsequent morning, I’m going to brunch with my good friend and check out my very hardest to abdomen some meals and quell my anxiousness. After I lastly get my schedule for desire spherical, the house I believed I’d discovered isn’t on the checklist. The acquainted sensation of “otherness” is again.

In school, I’ve struggled in courses, fumbled in social conditions and handled craving, mind-numbing homesickness. Nonetheless, that is the primary time I’ve really cried for the reason that begin of the college 12 months. Discovering that your intestine feeling is mistaken, that one thing you needed so badly doesn’t need you again, makes you query your actuality, your belonging and your high quality as a human being. I name my mother and converse to her as finest I can in my state of being a moist, foolish mess. She does a superb job of not saying something, simply listening with unhappy eyes. Ultimately, I dangle up and spend the remainder of the day combing via easy methods to recuperate from misaligned expectations and actuality.

I might attempt to blame the illusive “algorithm,” or blame the sorority I needed, or blame myself for not being adequate. My first few hours have been spent on the latter possibility. However I don’t wish to really feel anger in regards to the state of affairs, or any entitlement that I ought to all the time get what I need. Nothing about me as an individual modified from going via the recruitment course of. I answered each query I used to be requested actually, and regardless of how the end result modified my notion of the conversations I had, they nonetheless had worth and taught me new classes. I’ve nice mates, who made my first two quarters at Stanford such a constructive expertise, and so they haven’t disappeared from my life. There may be nonetheless the worry that I’ll be lacking out, and there nonetheless is lingering insecurity, however I selected to undergo recruitment as a result of I needed to seek out individuals who mutually assist and uplift each other. That chance can actually exist via Greek life, however isn’t unique to it both. 

When it comes to discovering the suitable group for me, I’m not in any rush (no pun meant).

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