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  As I sit here typing, I am just exhausted beyond belief. This past week has been hectic – I’ve had classes all day every day, on top of that it was also Panhellenic Recruitment, which meant that I was running straight from a long day of classes to chat up dozens of girls in order to find the right group of women to invite into our sisterhood (more on that later). After days of smiling, singing and making small talk, the last thing on my mind was my blog entry for class. Now I have been pondering over the subject of the post for a while now and am struggling severely. I’m not sure if it’s because we’ve really only met for one lecture so far and haven’t covered specific topics in depth or that my brain is just slowly shutting down in exhaustion from the week’s events. Either way, I’ve settled on the topic of standardized tests – more specifically, the GSP.

  Growing up, we accepted standardized tests as part of our annual routine. Each year, our student council, teachers, faculties, and principals would go all out to rally us and get us excited for the STAR tests. We were constantly reminded that it was extremely important that we perform well on said tests so that the state could assess our educational progress. We were constantly reminded that it was crucial we tried our best in order to accurately present the knowledge that we have gained and yet, we were also constantly reminded that the scores we received would not reflect our grades. That was the part that never made any sense to me. If this was a test that was so crucial in our education, why is it that we cannot study for it nor does it affect our grades or student standings? As I got older, the truth dawned on me – these standardized tests are not about the students, they were for the schools, to make sure they were doing their jobs in educating us.

  When my dreadful STAR testing days came to an end, I came face to face with even more important standardized tests: SAT’s and ACT’s. Again, these were tests that are supposed to be a proper assessment of my intelligence but will not be reflected in my grades. Instead, these tests were going to determine where I would be able to pursue my higher education, tests that would determine where I would be able to start the rest of my life. With the SAT’s I learned another thing about standardized tests: when all subjects are compressed into a single-day, time constrained test, I fail miserably. I have been an A’s and B’s student all my life with a GPA of 3.9 and yet, when it came to the SAT’s, I received a less than desirable 1730 out of 2400. A 1730 out of 2400 results in a 72%, deeming me as a student whose intellectual performance fares at the lower end of most average students. After many disappointments in my failed SAT attempts, I opted for the ACT’s which in turn better reflected my actual performance as a student.

  Now after suffering 12 years of standardized testing, that never truly reflected my talents, I finally breathe a sigh of relief thinking my score of 32 on the ACT’s has landed me in the perfect university where I can focus solely on my career path to becoming a public relations specialist. But wait – I was wrong. The Journalism and Media Studies Department slaps the GSP (Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation) test in my face and I have unknowingly walked into what would be the most challenging standardized test of my life. The name itself sounds so simple – grammar, spelling and punctuation – all elementary things that I have been practicing in my writing (or so I thought) until I actually came face to face with the exam. I realized a little too late that it has been years since I had been taught the fundamentals of grammar, spelling and punctuation. As I sat with that blue booklet in front of me, I found myself reading and re-reading sentences over and over again, attempting to pick out the correct answer whilst reminding myself not to over-edit (something I am frequently guilty of). When the results came out, I was terrified and then, my fear was realized: a 75, just 5 points short of passing the exam. What does this mean for me? Well, I have 2 more tries to triumph over this test (which just so happens to have a pass rate of 20% or less), and if I don’t pass I will have to change my major completely (which means for me, changing my entire life). You see, writing’s always been my passion, the one thing I’ve always been good at (or so I’ve been told) and now, I am being told that my 10 year plan, which I constructed my freshman year of high school, may quite well be flushed down the toilet. At this point, I am sick of being the victim of standardized tests. The GSP by no means assesses my capabilities as a writer nor does it actually correlate to my GSP skills. My writing is not free of errors by any means, but it’s nothing that minor edits cannot fix. My point being that in the entirety of our lives, learning abilities and testing have always been lumped into the same group and yet, these tests are not individualized to fit every student’s testing needs (like my inability to keep from over-editing). It is utterly frustrating to know that my future lies in the hands of a test booklet, rather than my actual abilities as a writer.

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Just to preface this little  ”blog post”, I am a staff writer at HerCampus SDSU so some of my many posts may be exact replicas of my articles.

So you’ve decided to go Greek, or at the very least, give it a shot – good for you! As a member of a Panhellenic (that means sororities for you non-Greeks) organization, I cannot stress enough how everyone should give Greek life a chance, even if you “think” it’s something that’s maybe not right for you.

Now that you’ve decided, you probably yourself worried about recruitment – I definitely did when I went through it. It’s a stressful time, both for you and the girls in the different sororities. Well, luckily for you, I’m here to make your life a little easier.

Let me start off with what I know is on everybody’s minds – what the heck do I wear?! Simple. Here at SDSU, recruitment is broken up into different days with different names. The first two days are what as known as “Letter Days”. These days will seems somewhat repetitive as they serve as a chance for you to meet as many different girls in the different houses as you can and for them to meet as many of you as they can. My advice for this day is something cute and casual. Go with a cute top paired with shorts (not too short!), nice jeans, or a skirt. Whatever is the most comfortable for you. Quick side advice, if you’re not really feeling it the first two days, still stick it out! Since the first two days are so repetitive, it’s hard to get a feel of the different girls and the different houses in that short amount of time.

The third day is “Community Service Day”. Today is the day that the houses will be introducing you to their beneficiaries and what they do for their philanthropy. If you were unaware before, ALL sororities and all sorority women must participate in community service. If you were in it to just “get fratty” maybe this really isn’t something for you – something to think about. The attire is the same as “Letter Days”, casual and cute.

On “House Tours”, you will be getting tours of each house and learn a little more about what it’s like to live in a sorority house. I highly recommend living in to anyone who wants to get a full sorority experience. Living in allows you to feel closer to your sisters and you’ll create bonds with girls you maybe wouldn’t have otherwise. Recommended attire for this day would include sundresses, cute rompers and wedges if you wish or even just cute flats if that’s what you prefer.

“Preference” is a very special day – it is the day when you will be invited back to houses that really see you as a potential sister. This is a more serious day, as you will learn more about the traditions that each sorority is founded on. A nice cocktail dress and heels are best for this day, however, be sure to keep it classy. If you wouldn’t wear it to meet your boyfriend’s grandmother or if you would wear it to a frat party, it is not appropriate for this occasion. Try to steer away from black if you can as all the houses will be wearing black cocktail dresses on this day and we don’t want you getting lost in the crowd.

Last few tips: smile! Be confident! If you are nervous, know that you are not alone. Recruitment is an anxious time for those going through it and for those who are already in sororities. We are trying to impress you just as much as you’re trying to impress us. So relax, and keep the conversations comfortable and natural. Don’t try to be someone who you really aren’t – embrace yourself, otherwise, you may end up in a sorority where you will later find you don’t really belong.

Why Go Greek?

Just to preface this little  “blog post”, I am a staff writer at HerCampus SDSU so some of my many posts may be exact replicas of my articles 🙂

A new school year means a chance for a fresh start. Whether you’re an incoming freshman or you have a year (or two!) under your belt, the beginning of fall semester is a time to make new friends and get involved. But with the excitement of new faces, new classes and all the campus-happenings, you may find yourself drowning in a sea of fliers from campus clubs and organizations, leaving you unsure of which one is right for you. And while I’m not a guru who can pinpoint you to the exact organization “where you belong”, I can give one solid piece of advice: don’t knock it until you try it. Now what exactly does this apply to? Well, everything – but more specifically in this case, Greek Life.

Yes, Greek Life may not be for everybody but I am a firm believer that until you have talked to the Greek organizations and acquainted yourself with what they’re all about, you will not TRULY know if it is something for you. The words fraternities and sororities seem to be automatically attached to negative connotations, which have been generated by society to create a form of entertainment. What people should realize is that what they see in movies or on TV or have heard about is unrealistic to what Greek Life actually entails. So the big question – why go Greek?

Fact number one, students who get involved in the Greek community have an overall higher GPA than those who do not. Contrary to popular belief, being in a sorority or fraternity isn’t all just fun and games. SDSU requires students to maintain at least a 2.0 in order to be in a Greek organization.  In addition, many of these organizations require an even higher GPA than a 2.0 based off of their national standards. Greek organizations also provide networking opportunities to help you find better jobs in the future. Overall, Greeks tend to stay in school longer than non-Greeks.

Going Greek is also the easiest way to get involved in a variety of activities. All Greek organizations have social aspects for those who want to have fun but also involve lots of community service, with different beneficiaries for each house. Greek organizations also play in intramural sports and compete with one another in philanthropy events.

Like any other organizations, what you get out of going Greek will depend on what you put into it. The more you get involved in your organization, the more likely you will have a positive experience. Being Greek opens the doors to new opportunities and new friendships and you will realize that SDSU is not that big after all.

(For more information about Greek life in general, check out the SDSU Student Life and Leadership Page. For more information about Panhellenic [sorority] recruitment, check out http://www.sdsuphc.com/recruitment or register for recruitment at http://www.sa.sdsu.edu/cfsl/greekregistration/index.html )