Fear of the Mainland
Coming from the Big Island of Hawai'i, I was both terrified and excited as to what college had to offer. Spending a good chunk of my high school years on the big "next step" solidified that I was ready to leave the nest. Attending the University of Washington was a dream of mine since I was in middle school. Not really knowing what I wanted to study or truly pursue in life, this was one thing I knew for sure. I wanted the typical college experience as seen on TV: huge game days, endless partying and a sisterhood. Greek life seemed so excitingly stereotypical that I felt like it was something I wanted. I was already set with an amazing roommate and secured with a spot in the dorms. I wasn't about to leave a girl hanging and we decided that not living directly on Greek Row was the move.
Finding Out About PNI
During the first week of classes the university hosts a giant club fair in the middle of the campus. Clubs of anything and everything were hosting and looking for new member to send newsletters to (I'm still on the a cappella club's email list and have no idea how to cancel). Everything seemed so exciting until I saw giant wooden greek letters from a far. I was exposed to the multi-cultural greek system. My mind was blown. Greek life for people who look like me? Specifically being introduced to the Sisterhood of Pi Nu Iota had me revisioning the college foundation that I wanted to build for myself. In mind, at this time I wasn't exposed to dissecting the greek system itself and all the systematic problems that are enforced throughout society (yes, we will talk on this in the near future). At the time I saw this as an opportunity to be a part of something that embraces my Filipino culture with strong empowering womxn. I saw an opportunity for growth in myself, my community and culture. You already know I had to take it.
The Identity Crisis
You already know I can't be going into detail about the whole pledge process and what not, but it really took the first quarter of my freshmen year for me to start questioning my cultural identity. Having the opportunity to be raised in Hawai'i also comes with soaking up the amazing culture and language. Growing up Filipino in Hawai'i is automatically different than growing up in Seattle, or anywhere else. Honestly coming to college made me feel both not Filipino enough and not Hawaiian enough (no I do not have Hawaiian blood, but the tita energy runs through me periodt). I was just brown and unclaimed. This is probably why I was seeking a home and validation from a greek system that wasn't even built for me. Anyways, throughout pledge and in my time in the Sisterhood, I was able to have a space where I can both embrace and enhance all aspects of me. There is no reason to hide or pretend, especially with people encourage you to grow.
Who I Am Today
As of right now, I am a senior going on my second to last quarter at the University of Washington. Crazy. I have learned so much and continue to value the idea of fostering growth. I like to say I am way more knowledgeable and aware. I understand that not everyone will have the opportunity to seek high education or find the same sense of community. As the idea of Tita Bun Collective was still in its hanabatah days, I saw the vision of creating a space for our youth to grow and embrace their roots.