Frat Culture: The Bane of College Existence

Let me first start off by saying, I currently have about 6 other assignments I should and could be working on right now. So yeah, I am writing this post to get my mind off of Court Hearings and Edgar Allan Poe.

I want to discuss something that I just can’t seem to escape from. Every time I think I’ve been released from its grasp I’m snatched, wrestled to the ground, and ultimately end up surrendering to it like some type of coward. I’ve tried over and over to make peace with it but it doesn’t mesh well with my personality so it is difficult. I am an introvert, and as an introvert I do introvert things like minding my own business, and hiding away from people and social functions. so imagine my dismay as an introverted high schooler being thrust-ed right into college life’s very reason for existing, and an introverts social hell: Fraternities.

Ah yes, frat parties, where you drink the cheapest beer on the face of the earth and the most water down “sangria/grape juice with old fruit floating in it” known to man. Where you end up always getting sick from the stifling stale and pungently ripe air of weed, booze, and ball sweat. Where the brothers pants are loose before they even have time to pop some drugs in your “sangria”, and where your morals go to be laid to rest every Friday and Saturday night. And if that isn’t enough to make you want to harass people you barely know to get you signed up on the “list” of people honorable enough to attend this gathering, keep in mind that all of this is taking place in an old building with no windows, barely any fire exits, and thats so claustrophobic that it should come with a trigger warning on the front door. Frat parties are an extroverts dream because it has everything they want people, attention, and distraction from the loneliness in their lives that can’t emotionally deal with. While introverts like myself, think of frat parties as a necessary evil on their journey to fool the world into thinking that they are “normal” and “just like everyone else.”

So in hindsight, unless you are someone who has really no friends or friends that are down to being socially outcasted, you will have to at some point attend a frat party during your college experience. When you do you will be undoubtedly fall within the boundaries of the two types of college students at said frat parties. You’ll either be the one that loves every second of it, drinks all night long, makes out with anything that has a heart  beat, and talks about how much fun you had during your weekly “hangover breakfast” the next day. ORRRRR you might be like me, the person who goes to this party because it is socially unacceptable to not go, you haven’t left your room or talked to people in 12 days, and you feel like you might be missing out. So despite your agony of dressing up and pretending to enjoy yourself, you go and you try to make the best of it ..(while secretly watching the time to figure out when is the earliest but still latest time for you to acceptably leave the party.)

But why? Why do college students, specifically young women in college like myself feel that they must go to frat parties?

I have come to the conclusion that frat culture has become so much of what society has constructed the “average” college experience to be that if we don’t participate, we feel “below average.” College is synonymous with with drinking and partying, so much so that we almost feel that thats what we are supposed to do in College. Movies, TV shows, and social media depict college to be “the best time of your life.” Now while this may be true, there is more to college life than becoming blindly drunk, stupid, and sexually ravenous during a frat party. In fact, college is also supposed to be about building lasting friendships and connections but fraternaties are the last place to look for anything that isn’t for face value. There is no depth, meaning, no loyalty at a frat party. it is a dim and skimming the surface of what we are really looking for, and that is interaction.

College’s rigorous academics and millennials very short attention span have been a in a way attributing to the frat culture epidemic. College students are told that college is supposed be fun but then find out that it is fucking hard, and anything but fun for 95% of the time. So, when there is time for play, College students aren’t picky and they don’t give a fuck they just want to go harder than a motherfucker because fuck it thats why. Combine this with the fact that my generation are so use to the instant gratification that social media has allotted us our whole lives, and the fact that we have no money, we want fun now… like right now, and we want it as cheap as possible.

Hence the birth of frat culture. The beginning of a new era of students desperately wanting that fun and those connections but don’t or CAN’T put in the effort to do what  past generations did. we don’t have money for the bar or the movies every Friday night. We don’t have the time between all of the 800 assignments due tomorrow to spend hours just leisuring it up in coffee shops, or skate parks, or museums in search of like minded people. We just don’t and so we do what we know best: fake it. We’ve all been living fake lives online for years so all of this pretending means nothing to us. Frat culture is like the Facebook of social events, everyone is there but nobody really cares about the thoughts and opinions of others. Everyone there is faking their coolness and just wants to fit in or run away from their problems.

Even frat brothers that I have had a chance to chat it up with don’t even seem to be having that much fun. Yet, they pay ridiculous dues and put on a mask for the sake of popularity? importance? an identity? That I honestly couldn’t tell you. What I do know is frat parties have allowed college students to have the cloud 9 feeling of fun and friendship without the work having to be put in.

As an introvert, and someone who does not like frat parties, I always reflect on my experiences at them because self reflection is a huge part of my coping with social anxiety. I’ve come to the conclusion that even though Frats are the bane of college existence, they do give that which we have a difficult time achieving on our own, and that is a real fucking break. Like I said, college is fucking hard and college students need a break from that every once in a while. I don’t personally like or support frats but if you find joy and meaning in your lived experiences with them, who the fuck am I to judge.

 

Michelle, randomvoicesblog

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College is Fucking Hard

Sooooo… I’ve taken a little hiatus from blogging as you may have noticed. I stopped posting in late June and then the rest of the summer just got away from me. I enjoyed my summer break but I was happy to come back to school, and try my best to get an education. I have only like 6 weeks or something left in the semester, but I figured I’d start blogging again to maintain my sanity. A lot has changed since the last time I wrote an entry and I’d like to share it with you. First of all, I decided to change my major. For those of you who know me in real life, your reaction might be “again?” because this is not the first time I’ve done this. When I started my undergraduate I was a Education major with a concentration in English. Then I went to being just an English major but started working towards a minor in Diversity and Social Justice. THEN, I changed my minor to Sociology, and NOW I am officially a Sociology major with a minor in English. I decided that since I had so many English credits from countless English classes, I figured it’d be pretty stupid of me to not do something with them.

Now I know some of you might be wondering what made me change my mind about English. The truth is, I love English and everything about it, but I could not stand the English classes I had to take for my degree. Even looking at the classes that I still needed for my degree made me cringe so I thought to myself – “Shouldn’t you love this? … Shouldn’t this make you happy?… You’re getting a degree in this for fucks sake.” Truth is, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I did, the reading material and the lack of expression put a damper on my vibe, ya feel? I never liked how the English degree, while considered very liberal and free spirited, felt so constricting. I wanted to be able to choose my own path and the classes I wanted to take for my undergrad. Essentially, I just wanted to be happy, and I was NOT happy as an English major.

I felt trapped in my degree because, “you’ve come so far! you can’t back out now!” I really believed that to be true. I kept it going like a trooper until I realized that I had a say in my education. I found myself loving my Sociology classes and my Sociology professors, and questioned what was stopping me from perusing it to then find out that I was the only thing standing in my way. I mean, truth be told I do have to stay an extra semester, possibly even an extra year here on campus but so what. My happiness and mental health mean more to me than a degree that says “2019” instead of “2020.” I’m doing it and that is all that matters.

So among a major change I am also experiencing a lot personally and mentally. I wish I could say that college wasn’t the catalyst linking the two but you can’t always get what you want. Life and College are fucking hard. Mentally I feel drained and exhausted, and physically I feel like shit. My semester has been an interested roller coaster of highs and lows but the worst is still to come because ********* F I N A L S ********** That word alone is enough to give you nightmares. I have 4 papers, two presentations, two exams, and 10 hours of field work due in the next 38 days. I am stressed about stress before there is anything to stress about.

I’ll make it through though. I will persevere through it with the light at the end of the tunnel that is my new life guiding me (New major, who dis?). I am so looking forward to taking classes that I actually WANT to take instead of feeling like I’m settling in nearly all my classes.

Lastly, I am here to say that my blog is going to change a little bit more. I am planning on doing more sociological based posts, and look forward to people’s feed back. I am going to  keep my old posts up and active for now but I might get rid of them down the road. I will still write about myself but want to venture out to some other stuff too. You’ll see what I mean when the time comes.

 

Michelle, RandomVoicesBlog

 

 

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We’ll always have Scrabble.

So my last two posts weren’t… you know, the happiest entries ever and I feel bad about that. I want to make it up to you by breaking up the sadness with a little bit of happiness as well.

Well as you know if you’ve read my “Blog Introduction” entry you’d know that I am currently on summer break from college staying with my grandparents. This hasn’t been the greatest couple of days or month really because I am desperately trying to find a job and it’s been ridiculously hard. However, there has been one thing that has been really nice about staying at my grandparents and that is being able to play scrabble with my grandmother.

Now listen, I know that sounds lame as fuck and guess what, I know it is. Playing scrabble with your grandmother on Friday night is not exactly what most would call fun or a wild night out. In fact staying at home is enough to make someone be like what the fuck? But here’s the thing. In 20 years, if I’m lucky enough to still have my Nonna around- or even if I don’t, these will be some of the greatest memories I’ll have. Because when I’m 31 married with children and possibly Nonnaless (i.e. Without a Nonna) it won’t matter if I went to the fucking club or movies or whatever. I won’t remember any of that, I’ll say things like “oh, I wish I would have spent more time with her.”

I’ll be mourning more than just the lack of her presence, I’ll also mourn all the moments I didn’t spend with her. I love playing scrabble with her because it allows me to spend time with her, laugh with her, and just enjoy her presence, and that’s better than any other bullshit I could be doing. Especially since I’m a student who doesn’t live close, this summer has given me the amazing opportunity to make up for the time lost.

So whatever, it’s “uncool” now that I love playing scrabble with my Nonna, but in just a few years I will look back at those moments and thank God for them.

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“Happy Father’s Day, Jackie”

Today, June 17th, 2017 was my 3rd Father’s Day celebrating my step mother Jackie. Technically I guess you can argue that I should have been celebrating her for the last 13 years of my life because that’s how long she’s been really playing both mommy and daddy roles but prior to 2014, my father was still in my life. So instead of celebrating my dead beat dad for absolutely no reason, I decided to start celebrating Jackie 3 years ago because to me it made more sense. Jackie and her family has done everything for my sister and I and even though her and my dad are split up now, Jackie will always be in my life and will always be like a mom to me. She even has a new boyfriend and a little boy named Joseph who calls me sissy and it completely melts my heart. She’s been there through everything and I can’t imagine my life without her and I’ll never be able to thank her for everything she’s done and sacrifice for me, so the absolute least I can do is give her some regonition.

My writing this post however is not to trash my dad because well, I think my last blog post can speak for itself but instead- this is to talk about the importance of recognizing the people who matter in your life. Recently my younger sister has been completely trying to seperate herself from the family and the vibe we’re all getting is she doesn’t want to be a part of any family anymore. As sad as this is I can’t say it hasn’t helped me in a way. My sister’s lack of interest has made me realize how truly lucky I am. Why? Because my sister ignores, is rude, and disrespects my family all the time and you know what? They still fucking love and adore her. And this includes Jackie.

I feel like days like this should be about celebrating the ones who you love and my sister doesn’t get that. She probably called my father today even though he’s an asshole and completely forgot about Jackie. Which is so sad to me because Jackie is the one who actually cares not my dad.

i just feel like there is no reason to feel compelled to tell your dad happy Father’s Day when he doesn’t give a shit. Say it your mom, or sister, or grandfather or anyone else who you love and appreciate. No matter who it is just tell that person and let them know you recognize the stuff they do for you, it’s so important.

Michelle, Randomvoicesblog

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No it is not “sad” I don’t talk to my parents.

So I need to address something and just vent my feelings off my chest. Over the last year and a half I have worked on completely removing my parents from my life. I mean, not like they were there much anyhow but they were still “there” without actually being there. Does that make sense? They were still somehow involved in my life without doing anything. So I decided that it was time to rid myself of the hurt, the anger, the doubt, the frustration, the betrayal, but most importantly, the toxicity. Yeah, that’s right, I didn’t grow up with that white picket fence life that you read about in literature and the “all American family” thing is a joke and a half. I grew up with very toxic set of parents and it seems like as I’ve gotten older it’s only gotten worse.

Let’s start from the beginning though, so we’re all on the same page before I go on my rant. So long story short, my mother’s first husband passed away and my father was kind of like a rebound. I know, insane right? Anyway, so she gets with my father has me and my younger sister (on top of my older siblings she has from her first marriage) and they basically were a flop. So much so that their relationship turned into drug abuse because let’s be honest, what else would make them like each other? So now they’re drug addicts and maybe 6 months after my sister was born they split. My dad went back to New York and we stayed with our mother in Virginia.

My mother never really got over her first husband and her life started spiraling out of control. She became an alcoholic, drug addict, prostitute, and a child abuser. She beat us and she didn’t care because she was too drugged up to care about anything let alone us. The only thing that mattered to her was her next fix and her pimp. We were taken from her and given to our father who played daddy for about a year or two and then became mentally ill and started losing track of his life. He became dependent on prescription drugs like nobody’s business and my sister and I were now out two parents. He was mean, and a father who did nothing but sleep all day. His girlfriend became our full time caregiver because he was basically useless.

Now fast forward a couple of years- I’m an adult. I’ve don’t everything in my power to try to give them chances after chances and see if they can handle a relationship with me. My instincts kept telling me to give them the chances because well, they’re my parents. Despite all the bullshit they put me through for 19 years they were my parents! And I’m not some cold hearted bitch, I know that people are living without parents. However, I might as well be and that is meant with no disrespect it’s just the truth.

My mother told me on my 17th birthday that she wishes she would have gotten a abortion, my father stole my identity and destroyed my credit score, my dad blames me for all his problems, and my mother blames my dad. I mean, I can go on all day with their shit but quite frankly I don’t have the time. The point is, I’ve tried ok? I’ve really tried. Despite all of this I’ve still tried. I’ve called, texted, messaged, and went to see. I’ve sat at awkward dinner tables, in AAU Meetings (more than once unfortunately) and in court, jail, and church (don’t ask.) I’ve cried, yelled, lost sleep, and prayed for a change. I’ve hoped and wished that things could be different and they never were.

I’ve been through a mourning period too. I had a hard time coming to terms with the idea of really losing my parents even though they’ve been some of the most toxic people in my life. Isn’t that fucked up? That I still cared after everything and they never cared to begin with. People say that addicts are people too and that they deserve the help and to not be judged. But where does that leave their children? The children that they don’t take care of, that they don’t pay for, that they don’t love? People are so busy caring about addicts that they forget that the addicts might be the reason for all of someone’s pain and suffering.

I get it, trust me. I understand that they have problems and that those problems are not necessarily their fault. I get that they can’t help their addictions and they can’t help the paths that they’ve lead. But you know what, mother is apparently clean and doing great running a food truck in Virginia. Did she call me for Christmas? My birthday? Random sundays? Nope. So I don’t care what anyone says, sometimes addicts are just parents who don’t give a fuck and just happen to like dope. It’s that simple.

So, let’s address that comment shall we? “You’re parents aren’t in your life… wow, that’s so sad” followed by a pathetic look at me like you heartless wretch you’re purposely disowning your parents!? These are people who know absolutely nothing about me or more parents by the way, these are usually just people who love to be in someone’s business.

I cannot stand this comment because it is the most frustrating thing. It’s like no matter what I can’t win. People condemn me for keeping them and then people condemn me for getting rid of them. And before you say, I know it doesn’t matter what people think, but just once in my life I’d like people to be on my side. I hate that people automatically assume that because my parents aren’t in my life it’s because I’ve done something wrong. I hate that so fucking much. It’s like we live in a society that is so use to excusing the parents and their behavior that the kids are always to blame.

No, I don’t think it’s sad that my parents aren’t in my life. I think it’s sad that my parents never went to any of my award ceremonies or softball games, I think it’s sad that my parents never call me for any holiday, I think it’s sad that they didn’t go to my high school graduation, I think it’s sad that they didn’t drop me off at college, and I think it’s sad that they don’t WANT to be in my life. Regardless of what people think I’ve turned out to be amazing even though I should be scum of the earth because of them.

I have made my life’s goal to always be better than them. Now that’s sad! That a life achievement when I die would be “well she didn’t sell her ass on the corner or do lines of molly in her bathroom, she must have been great!” So no there is absolutely nothing “sad” about leaving my parents behind in my past as I venture into what I hope to be a very bright future. I’m happy with my decision. I’m happy that I have made a decision that is right for me and at the end of the day, nothing else matters, including your opinion.

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The Blog Introduction

So here I am, sitting in my grandparents living room on a 98 degree day in New York. All I hear surrounding me now is the sound of a huge AC pumping on the highest setting and a the noises of Wheel of Fortune. It is summer time and I am home from college, trying to maintain my sanity by looking for a summer job, dealing the troubles FAFSA puts me through every year, and dealing with inevitable boredom that a stagnate and monotonous daily routine brings.  I’ve been home for about two weeks and I am not miserable because I am home on break, or that I miss school, or that I’m disliking staying with my grandparents. On the contrary, I am so happy to have a break from the hell that the last two years of my undergraduate has put me through, I don’t so much miss school as I do my school friends, and i love my grandparents. My intense feeling of despair comes strictly from my depression. I call her Debbie. I feel as though giving her an identity can help me separate her from stealing mine.

Debbie is a strange one, and viciously persist one, that doesn’t allow me to make my own mind up no matter how much I’d like too. The last couple of days I have done nothing other than lay in bed and wish that I was different. Once Debbie comes she brings in her other friends and they have the most bad ass rave you’ve ever seen. their names are self doubt and anxiety- they don’t have their own names yet because I’m still working on that. They and Debbie come sweeping in like they own the joint and basically take over until Michelle can find her way to the control center after a few bowls of ice cream, a couple of good cries, and a handful of panic attacks later. Once I feel like myself again there is no stopping me, but for that period of time when Debbie is in control I am fairly useless to be honest.

What does this have to do with my Nonna and Wheel of Fortune? Nothing. I just needed to give that little introduction to Debbie and her friends before continuing this post or even continuing this blog. Debbie isn’t going to be the star of my blogs and neither will anxiety or self doubt, but they are the reason I decided to make this space for myself to begin with. I was bored so it originally was just going to be for my poetry and stupid shit I thought would be cool but then I thought I could make this into something actually important. So here I am and the birth of Random Voices Blog was sure to follow.

I don’t know what else to say other than what I’ve put in my about me and that I’m serious when I say that this blog is going to be about basically anything that i want to talk about. Maybe in the future there will be a more set direction I’m going to follow but for right now I am leaving the creative flood gate wide open.

Thanks for reading.

Michelle, randomovicesblog

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