During my first year at a university, I lived in a single room in the dorm. The girls on my hall were fun, but at the end of the day I needed my own space where I could do my homework and play my Frank Sinatra albums.
Still, when the opportunity came to pledge a sorority, I seized it. I thought it was a chance to change my shy, serious self into one of those popular girls—the ones who were gregarious and social and attractive to boys. My friends thought I was crazy.
But I ignored their warnings and moved into the sorority house where I had two lively roommates who stayed up late every night. I was up late, too, but not at parties. I couldn’t sleep, consumed by anxiety and afraid of flunking out. How could I have made such a terrible mistake?
I thought I could change myself by some kind of osmosis, as if by being adjacent to people who were different than I was, I could become them. It didn’t work, of course. I eventually made a place for myself in the sorority house, but I’m still that same shy, serious person who was never one of the popular girls.
And it’s okay, really. Most of the time.