Feeling foreign: Non-Greek survival

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    “You’re not rushing? Why not? You’re the only person I’ve met that isn’t going Greek.”As I attempted to socialize with the girls at my Frog Camp this summer, the shock and awe of my disinterest in the “so amazing” Greek cult of TCU left me feeling like I had picked the wrong university to attend.

    I obviously didn’t fit in, and the fact that I drove an 8-year-old Dodge Avenger and didn’t live off daddy’s credit card didn’t exactly help. People would unwillingly shake my hand and introduce themselves, but soon walk away and join the “cool kid” group.

    I had a lot of friends in high school and was very involved, so never have I felt so unwelcome, alone or just invisible. All this because I don’t come from money, and I didn’t join a sorority.

    I picked TCU because of the big-school feel on a small campus, the amazing journalism school and the distance away from home. I didn’t base my decision on how many friends I would make or what sorority I would join, but after my experience through three long days of Frog Camp, I discovered that these were the exact reasons why most of the other campers were attending this school.

    The next weekend I attended orientation, and my hope of making non-Greek friends was renewed. I actually knew some people already and even stayed up late talking to new friends I had made.

    During Howdy Week, my roommate and a friend of ours searched for anyone belonging to the minority of non-Greek students who weren’t wearing the infamous purple pin on their shirts. We made every effort to be their friends, and they were happy to meet us and shared our pain of being the outcasts of the school.

    But I didn’t want to be an outcast; I wanted to be like everyone else and fit in.

    After seeing cute, decorated bricks holding dorm room doors open, I decided to try this technique. My roommate didn’t believe that it would help us socialize, but soon enough, after leaving the door open for 30 minutes, people stopped by to compliment our decorating style.

    However, they never introduced themselves or stayed long to talk. For a few minutes, I felt like I was back at Frog Camp.

    I don’t drink, and I want to study and make good grades, so parties don’t seem that appealing to me. But, when I’m alone in my dorm room on a Thursday night, and girls are going in groups to have fun at 11 p.m., I feel left out and alone.

    I even start to feel like I should have rushed, but then my senses catch up to me, and I think logically again.

    After making a few acquaintances in my classes and through other friends, I’ve gained hope that I can make it through TCU for four years without going Greek. There isn’t anything wrong with the system, it just isn’t for me.

    I still regret letting a few of the “snobby” kids get to me and make me feel like I chose the wrong college, when really TCU is the only school for me.

    I’m not in a sorority, and I’m doing just fine socially, so I can say that I am surviving a private university without having to “pay for my friends.”

    Besides, having a few good friends is better than having a lot of fake ones who won’t appreciate me for who I really am.

    Jordan Armstrong is a freshman news-editorial journalism major from Grand Prairie.

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