Why I Decided to “Go Greek”

I have always loved conversation. I love meeting new people, I love reconnecting with old friends, and I love feeling the satisfaction that can come from a positive conversation. There is so much that can be learned from a proper conversation, but the possibility of one blossoming into a new relationship makes it that much more thrilling. 

It has become recently clear that the community on this campus has not been engaged in a unified conversation in quite some time, and it is long overdue. Despite potential perceptions, this article is in no way, shape or form, a “response” to the posters which consisted of resentful comments made towards the Panhellenic community. Simply think of it as a Panhellenic community member, joining the conversation. I am choosing to do so with a brief explanation as to why I, Lily Nikias, decided to take part in the formal recruitment process and the great importance of my Panhellenic family

    As someone from a close knit suburban town in Northern Jersey, where everyone knows where they want to go to college from the day they are born, where most people’s best friends are the ones they met before they could talk, and a place where several of my teachers were the mother’s and father’s of kids sitting in the classroom, college was my chance for a brief escape. It was a fresh start, a clean slate, a completely new opportunity to present who I was without: how my ex boyfriends were doing, what my dad did for a living, or how my brother’s baseball career was coming along was asked before my name and grade were established. I have always been someone who craved to know what was beyond the bubble of my high school, home city, and state because in such an isolated and dense community it was easy to feel like I didn’t belong. People seemed to “know” things about me that I didn’t even “know” about me, and I began to lose any ability to prove what made me, me, because it had already been decided for me the previous 17 years I had lived there. 

While I know my hometown had a lot to offer, such as a great education, community, and friends, there were often times I felt like an established outsider. I switched schools twice because of it, and I became involved in a variety of extra curriculars from the drama club to athletics in hopes that forcefully putting myself out there may expose me to larger, different communities of people, and help me to feel just a little bit safer. 

    For a little while, it worked. I became very involved and was constantly busy juggling relationships with a variety of people involved in a variety of different things. And while this was great, it also meant that by creating so many of these new relationships, they ended up being nearly surface level, as I could only spend so much time with so many different people.

I held out for my college experience in hopes of finding a community of people who loved and supported all of me, and an environment where I wasn’t going to be frantically searching near and far to attain it.

So when I found GW, and I knew it was my dream school, in my dream city these hopes started to feel like a possible reality. It was a place overwhelmed with achieving students, opportunity, and new beginnings. And while my freshman year it proved to be a place that was just that, it also proved to be a place that was so much more. It was a perfect balance between what I once knew, and a reality check into the real world. GW is an overwhelming amount of people in one place and suddenly my oasis of opportunity to be myself in a brand new place was starting to look really damn intimidating. 

I essentially went from one spectrum to the other. I went from “small town secret outsider” who was drained by the same old routine, gossip, and sheltered world, to a really really really tiny fish, who was overwhelmed by the level of opportunity to reinvent myself to an extreme amount of people. I suddenly had the ability to be whoever I wanted, and in addition to an entire campus at my disposal to introduce myself too, I also had a whole new city. In a place so overwhelming, the once suffocating bubble of Northern Jersey seemed like comfort once again. 

But then I went through formal recruitment. I was able to spend a significant amount of time defining who I was to a bunch of people I had never met before, and who knew nothing about me or my brother’s baseball career. I became excited by the people I was meeting in the process, and looked forward to a future in a community that needed me just as much as I needed them. 

I am not saying that every story of every student on this campus is remotely close to my experience. I’m simply offering a portion of mine, as to why I, Lily Nikias, needed the Panhellenic community. The reason doesn’t need to be thought out, it doesn’t need to be elaborate, it can be as simple as you wanting to be represented on this campus. The Panhellenic Association gave me a safe, inclusive, and respectful community that was interested in JUST me, when I didn’t have one. And on a campus of 12,546 undergraduates, 1,479 graduate students, and a population of 9,530 living in foggy bottom, that can sometimes be all you need.