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I Found Myself On My Way to Joining a Sorority | Pinay.com

I Found Myself on My Way to Joining a Sorority
Jenny Serfino shares her thoughts on joining a sorority.

“May good come out of this tragedy.” This is a line from a text message sent to the media by Antonio Cesar Servando, the uncle of one of my young kababayans, who died two months ago because all he wanted was to belong to a fraternity, like I once did. These words serve as an inspiration for the story I’m about to tell.

Before I went to college, my parents forbade me to join sororities but it was one of the first things I did. Behind my parents’ backs I joined a sorority—or at least attempted to.

Pinay, Filipina, Sorority, Sisterhood, Fraternity, Identity, Fitting In, Reflections

Photo Credit via www.hdwallpapers.in

Like any other college kid who thinks she is in invisible in a university filled with smart and diverse students, I found it hard to know myself and fit in. And with my roommates recruited in sororities on our second year in college, I felt the need of belonging all the more. I wanted to be an important part of something big; something greater than me. I wanted more than just to fit in. I wanted to have an identity—to be a step higher on the social ladder. I figured that joining a sorority was what I needed to do. And lucky enough, I was referred to a sorority that I was interested in beforehand.

Soon enough I discovered that fitting in and being a part of the sisterhood is not a walk in the park. As a neophyte, I had to do a list of things a month before my initiation proper. I followed orders and tagged along with my sisters wherever they went. I was treated as an inferior. That was acceptable, even though it was hurtful, because it made me closer to my goal of belonging.

I passed an obligatory essay on why I wanted to join the sisterhood. I faked lengthy heartwarming explanations just to make them accept me. Then came the night of my much-awaited initiation. I was humiliated. Everything I did seemed wrong to everyone. I was, again, emotionally and physically hurt. My eyes were blindfolded the whole time during the initiation rite. I lost my self-esteem.

I thought that joining a sorority would restore me and boost my self-esteem. That did not happen because in the end the sisterhood rejected me. There was a rumor about me (it is a long story so I’ll skip that part) that spread and prevented me from proceeding to the last phase of the initiation. I was shattered. I explained the real story but it did not do any good. The sisters said I was to clean my tarnished name and start all over again if I wanted to get in. That hurt because I was so close…too close.

The experience made me realize that God was actually saving me from my own act of foolishness, and was telling me: “No, this isn’t for you.”

I quit because it dawned on me that I am not an inferior being. I should always be myself and not fall under the shadow of a ‘greater’ group of individuals. Why should I join a sorority?  I have my own true-to-life brother and sister, plus I have lots of good friends to begin with. Why would I need to risk a lot just to get more of what I already have?

In the Philippines alone, there are over a hundred registered fraternities and sororities, all of them living by different sets of principles and resorting to various kinds of initiation rites. I learned my lessons. If you want to join one it won’t hurt examining your intentions. Will joining guarantee that the sorority will get you to the right path? Will it make you genuinely happy? Will it do you good?

Remember you do not need to depend on another person’s connections, success, or popularity in order to be who you are. Pinay, you have got to believe that you can shine on your own. Don’t let the fame and glamour of a group you think is greater than you, overshadow what you have inside.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not, in any way, trying to stereotype or put fraternities and sororities in a bad light. All I’m saying is joining one may not be the right choice for you and me. As Dr. Seuss says, “Why fit in when you’re born to stand out?”

Pinay, Filipina, Sorority, Sisterhood, Fraternity, Identity, Fitting In, Reflections

From left, sororities and sisterhoods in the Philippines fare differently from those outside the country (photo courtesy of bowsnshoes.tumblr.com); Unfortunately, most sororities still use paddles in their initiation rites (photo courtesy of: img0.etsystatic.com); it feels great fitting in—so does standing out! (photo courtesy of thewellbeingrevolution.com).

Jenny Serfino, 19, is from Bacolod City, Philippines. As of this writing, she is a senior college student from the University of the Philippines Visayas, taking up BA Communication and Media Studies. In her spare time she likes to write, paint, draw and watch make-up tutorials on YouTube. Get to know her in her blog herashtrayofthoughts.blogspot.com.

 

Jenny Serfino

Administration Assistant at Pathcutters Philippines, Inc.
Jenny, 22, hails from Bacolod City in the province of Negros Occidental. For her, writing is a venue for limitless self-expression and a therapeutic kind of pastime. She currently works as an administration assistant for a pest control company based in Queensland, Australia.

Comments

  1. Jenny, thank you for sharing this story. Having your self-esteem shattered by an institution in this manner and then regaining it by being connected to something bigger—God—is something that others can take courage from. Mabuhay—LifeLightLove, Perla.

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