Put Your Best Foot Forward

Walk Like A Celebrity

Every time I open my mouth
The world is ready to criticize--
They call me a role model,
Say I represent my generation
That I inspire others
For better or worse,
And my actions are reflected in the masses.
What I say and do echoes
Reverberates around the campus
Comes back tenfold
For better or worse.
A constant reminder 
That my actions are not invisible--
I have the power to make a difference
For better or worse
To effect change
In myself,
In the community.
If I think before I act.
Image from +IndependentFashionBloggers

Becoming an Unofficial Spokesperson for All Members

Right before I made the transition from non-Greek to Greek, my prophyte[1] warned me that once I was introduced to the campus as a member of my organization, I would no longer be identified as myself but as the organization. When people said "do you know Shiree?" the point of reference was always my organization. If the person knew me, the response was "yeah she's a <insert my organization>"[2] and if the person didn't know me, the asker would say "you know the <insert my organization>." Since returning to my alma mater for graduate school, I've met people who already know me, solely because I was a member of my organization and they often remember specific things about me they'd observed while I was here. People associate me with my organization and they associate my organization with me.

Realizing the Ramifications of Your Actions

In a way, it's like being a celebrity. You learn quickly that if you are in the wrong, people will take note; they will talk, tweet, and instagram your missteps with a vengeance. In some cases, maybe the misstep you took isn't something you even consider a misstep (like wearing something that's out of season), but as I said earlier, the association goes both ways. Everything you do, post, tweet, and say, is associated with your organization and its members. There's nothing I hate more than a soror that appears in public shaming my letters, be it with ratchet behavior, inappropriate attire, poor attitude, or the like. People will associate her with me, and assume those traits are traits of my organization. On the surface, it seems like a negative but it's actually a very compelling way to hold each member accountable for his/her actions. When everyone in your organization is putting the pressure on you to behave in a manner exemplifying what the organization stands for, it's called positive peer pressure, and it can be very effective. (Yes I know that some chapters have strayed from their founding principles and employ negative peer pressure, however it is up to you to choose a chapter and organization that is upholding beliefs and ideals you agree with). 

A Personal Example

When I joined my organization, I was pretty much a loner. I came and went without paying any attention to trends in fashion, language, music, events... Little did I know, many people thought I was unfriendly because I was disengaged with the community. I didn't always attend events and if I did, I wasn't going to be the one talking to every person in the room. When I wasn't Greek, people shrugged it off and assumed I was unfriendly, but once I was crossed people were always watching. If I didn't seem friendly, it wasn't Shiree is unfriendly, it was <insert my organization> are unfriendly, especially at our events; it was rude for me to be unsociable. As an introvert, I don't instinctively have a desire to speak to people, but as a member of my organization, I was obligated make people feel welcome at our events. It was my responsibility to ensure the organization was seen as friendly to potential new members, fellow greeks, and other members of the community. While I still prefer to be in my own bubble, this was an adjustment that made networking in professional settings a breeze. Most people I meet now have no idea I'm an introvert and everyone describes me as friendly. I didn't change as a person, but due to my sorors' urging and the scrutiny of the campus, I was able to identify the disconnect between how others saw me and how I saw myself. This is a very useful skill, because people often see a different portrait of you than you think you are painting.

References

  1. A prophyte is someone who has been through a membership intake process as a member of the organization.
  2. In an effort to remain non-biased in this series, I will refrain from revealing my affiliation

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Author Image Author Image I love reading the Word of God. With prayer God's Word reveals so much: from comfort to temperance, from perspective to affirmation. Digging into the depths of the Word, cross-referencing history, language and time differences, is a passion of mine. In March of 2015 I decided to go back through the Bible doing an in depth study on each section I read. Eventually I decided to share my journal of notes as I partake in this journey. I hope you are blessed by God and inspired to pursue a deeper relationship with Him. I love reading and learning about God, nature, and science. I am interested in how it all connects. The Creator's fingerprints are all over his creation. We can learn so much about Him and how we came to be by exploring the world around us. Join me as I explore the world and draw closer to the One who created it all.
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