Don't let organizational differences divide, isolate you

I am what one may call a mutt, a hybrid, a crossbreed. I am a mix of two distinctly separate definitions of a University student.

More so, I am a member of a subset on campus that is far too small.

I am greek, but I am also a loyal and dedicated staff member of The Crimson White.

When I arrived to The University of Alabama campus in the Fall of 2010, I, like most freshman, became overwhelmed by the possibilities that college life had to offer me.

Based on hometown and high school tradition, I signed myself up for sorority recruitment - a decision I almost immediately questioned. I had an idea in my head of the “typical” sorority girl, all dolled up, arm-in-arm with a fraternity boy on the way to a Crimson Tide football game. I saw the pictures on Facebook of high school friends past. There was a Greek Life look. It was an image I both admired and feared.

But I trusted my mom’s advice: “You’ll never know what it’s like until you try it.”

She was right. I joined Chi Omega sorority.

Although I did not enjoy every minute of getting there and believe some of the traditions to be out of date, I still value what the opportunity gave me. I was encouraged to keep my grades up and not to fall into the college slump. I have made the most incredible friends I could have asked for. I learned to value the characteristics in others that I myself do not hold. And most importantly, I discovered the most successful person is a well-rounded one.

However, as I began to see my future in journalism, I leaned on the University’s student newspaper. The Crimson White caused a similar sensation to that of my sorority recruitment: admiration and fear.

In fact, much of the two processes of becoming a member in both organizations were oddly similar. Although I questioned my motives of joining the CW at first, I discovered real-life applications to what I learned in class, became great friends with a tight knit group, realized the value in others’ differences and focused on creating a well-rounded skill set.

The University of Alabama — and human nature in general, I think - vigorously attempts to define and classify people. It is a method of forming connections and handling truths. However, we often fail to see the overpowering unity between the opposing classifications. Often, it seems as though our definitions are mere stretches to impose limitations.

I do not believe my connection to The Crimson White impedes my sorority membership, and I do not believe my greek affiliation impedes my dedication to finding and exposing the truth.

The only way The University of Alabama will make any headway towards progressive and meaningful change is if we stop dividing ourselves, forcing organizational or political boundaries onto our identities. We are individual people, and our affiliations do not control our beliefs. We must never forget to think outside our limitations.

Mazie Bryant is a junior majoring in journalism. She has been chosen as the editor-in-chief of The Crimson White for the 2013-2014 school year.

 

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