In my first semester as a naive, freshman, joining social groups was not the first thing on my mind. In the midst of the chaos and excitement that college initiated, I was not eager to engage in social organizations and was definitely not even looking at any one group in particular. Thanks to my suite-mates in my Jester dorm, I was urged to attend an info session. I was lucky enough to catch the very last one of the semester.

I entered alone and was quite nervous to be surrounded by unfamiliar faces. Not before long, however, several girls approached me and introduced themselves. From there on, I had full-blown conversations and began to feel at ease. Little did I know that these acquaintances would quickly become friends. I continued to attend recruitment events and extend my network of current and potential members of Royals. I realized what a unique and diverse group of girls I had happened to stumble upon. There are so many people of different places, backgrounds, and majors. Observing and learning about the assortment of people that make up Royals comforted me. There is no specific way I have to act or be to "fit in."

I initially hesitated to sign up because I did not want an abundance of distractions. However, I have come to find that Royals has offered me a lot more than I expected, and honestly, learning to balance all the social aspects with academics is a major part of college. Looking back, I understand that joining Royals emphasized what I value most: it surrounded me with diversity, presented opportunities to become closer with people in the UT community, and encouraged me to give back to society as a whole through raising awareness about our philanthropy and participating in philanthropic events. As much as I thought I may not have needed to be part of a social group, I now realize what a positive impact joining has made on my life and how much solace I gained in having a solid group of supportive people around me.

Meena Pyatt || Fall 2017 Jewel Class