I’ve never considered myself to be a social person. Until the age of 11, I couldn’t order from the cashier at McDonald’s because I was so afraid. As time went on I could talk to adults, but I was never able to easily communicate with my peers. It made me uncomfortable and anxious. The words always came out wrong. I wasn’t afraid of embarrassing myself, or that people would judge me, it was just that I couldn’t talk.
You’d think I’d be past this at 17 years of age, but I’m not. I went back to counseling this Spring. I go every other week because I have Social Anxiety. Being in crowds can give me panic attacks or make me sick if I feel uncomfortable enough. But I don’t want to be that way, so I choose not to be.
Joining Theta was something I hadn’t anticipated – ever. Sororities “weren’t my scene”. Heaven forbid I would have to…speak to people. I didn’t go through formal recruitment. But when I saw how happy my roommate was in her sorority, I questioned why it would be so awful for me to join. I mentioned my regrets to a girl on the hall, and she asked me if I wanted to try for KAT. I hadn’t heard too much talk about it before, but I had an instant gut feeling. This was my challenge. This was something good. I went through the interview, and now I’m here.
For most people, joining a sorority isn’t such a challenge. But for me to speak to girls I’ve never met on a constant basis is hard. When my mom found out I had gotten in she was so excited because she knew that it took a lot of effort on my part. And it did. I am so proud and happy that I took that step for myself. But now the real challenge begins: making friends out of my sisters.
I’ve been to Coffee with KAT four times now and I am also in the Sisterhood Committee. There are days where I stay silent and just listen, and there are days when I speak up as much as possible. The first day I went to coffee I just sat there because I was so afraid. Someone asked me my name and all eyes turned towards me. I didn’t want to go back. But my counselor and I talked about going again. She told me to sit up straight, act confident, and speak loudly. I tried going again and it worked! I’m making friends and doing so much better.
The reason that I’m quiet sometimes is certainly not because I don’t like any other Thetas. I love my sisters to death. It’s just that it’s hard some days. Tonight we learned about being a leader during New Member Meeting. And so I just ask that all of you leaders out there talk to a sister who isn’t speaking up. Ask her what she thinks, because she’s thinking a lot. She’ll appreciate that you are pushing her to be better, as well as inviting her to be your friend. Remember that it’s the little things that can make a huge difference in someone’s life.