In a recent submission in Letter to the Editor, student Ryan Berry revealed his heart wrenching story regarding his experiences at the Annual Mizzou Blood Drive this year. I am currently a senior at Mizzou, and being the warm hearted person that I am, I decided to give a few words of advice to Ryan and those with similar feelings and attitudes.
I’m sorry to hear about your terrible experience at this year’s blood drive. No one should have to feel invisible, or unwanted. But, there are a few things that you should know if you want to prevent further social rejection.
First off, not everyone is going to ostracize you for the simple fact that you are not Greek. Not being in a Fraternity/Sorority doesn’t mean that you have to be cast out like a leper. Speaking from personal experience, in order to make new friends you have to actually socialize (shocking I know). This includes actually looking receptive to social interaction, i.e. not being glued to the screen of your cell phone, or maybe actually striking up a conversation with someone. There is no reason you should expect everyone but you to initiate some sort of gesture of kindness.
Next, you preach about how you were treated differently because of the way you dressed or looked. Newsflash, we live in a shallow day and age, and unfortunately this means that you have to make yourself look halfway presentable in order to become approachable. When was the last time you wanted to strike up a conversation with a Hobo? That’s what I thought. If you want to make a connection with someone, make an effort to look like you did not just roll out of bed. No one is going to want to talk to a kid that looks like he just wants to go back to sleep in his sweatpants.
Third, just because you think others view you as a lowly GDI doesn’t mean that you can’t be friends with someone that is Greek. How do I know this? Because I have friends that are Greek, and get this….I’m not in a Fraternity GASP. It turns out that if you are a genuine person, that makes an effort to be friendly you don’t need letters on your chest to make friends.
Finally, if you are going to donate blood, try not to whine and complain when the staff doesn’t meet your high expectations to glorify you for your good deed. If you are going to do something as selfless as donate blood to complete strangers, I would think you could go without needing to be the center of attention at the blood drive. And for what it’s worth, the four consecutive years I have donated blood, the staff has never failed to make me feel welcome despite the fact that I’m not Greek. But I also guarantee that I was never seen sulking around the Hearnes Center crying “woe as me” either.
—Derrick J. Price, firstname.lastname@example.org
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