After COVID-19 sent a shock wave through college campuses across the nation in early March, forcing thousands of students to return home and finish their spring semester virtually, I found myself scrambling to plan for the upcoming summer in quarantine. I had originally planned to live in Berkeley during the summer months and work as a Campus Ambassador, but the complications of the recent pandemic forced me to consider other options. How could I stay productive while trapped at home? What could I do with my time that would be beneficial to me in the long run?
Before beginning my education at Berkeley, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to pursue in life. I was certain about my eagerness to enter into the field of politics following my college years, and in order to do so, I committed myself to majoring in Political Science starting my first semester at Berkeley to put me on track toward a political career. I was so adamant about the fact that I was destined to pursue Political Science that I didn’t stop for a second to think about how my 17-year-old self could possibly know anything about who I would be and what I wanted to do five, ten, or even fifteen years down the line.
Growing up without siblings meant the only people I interacted with around my house were my parents. For the most part, I was used to having my own room, a place that served as my personal sanctuary after a long and tiring day, and I cherished the ability to come back to an empty space and decompress by myself. When deciding to attend a fairly large public school such as Berkeley, I knew I had to embrace the idea of living with multiple people, potentially up to six or seven if I was placed in a suite. At first, this adjustment seemed intimidating and overwhelming to me; I was used to having a very strong sense of who I shared my space with, and felt nervous that a brand new environment with random roommates would be deeply overwhelming.
Before starting college this past fall, I spend the entirety of my summer perusing the dark web of Youtube, watching hours upon hours of sorority “bid day” and “recruitment” videos, eventually convincing myself that I could never be apart of Greek life. Even on an intellectually-motivated and diverse campus like Berkeley, I still felt that I wouldn’t quite fit into the Greek system, as I wasn’t always the most extroverted and outgoing person during high school. I was under the false assumption that these personality characteristics were pre-requisites of joining a social community such as Greek life, and also didn’t see myself as fitting the image of the stereotypical “sorority girl” that is portrayed across social media, causing me to think I would feel isolated or outcasted if I didn’t “look” like everybody else. As a result of my misperceptions, I became close-minded to the possibility of ever joining a sorority or being involved in the Greek system.