Sorority Part 2

I came to be in another sorority. Yes. Again.

This time, it was in Montreal. I went back to University in a program that I loved. I still had that same problem of trying to find friends. To be honest, I felt old. That feeling was pretty strong in the way that I don't think it helped me connect with other students in my program. 

I did have one or two friends, but again that wasn't enough for me. I have come to learn that it is not the quantity of friends that matter but the quality. 




Again, I thought about joining a sorority. Come to think of it, this time, I did not only wanted to join something that was bigger than me but I wanted the prestige of being in a sorority. I know, right?

After rush (the period where sisters get to know you), I got a bid (invitation to join the sorority). I was assigned to the most wonderful Big (mentor) and it was a go.




Pledging was hard. This is the part where you prove to the sorority that you want to be a part of it. I don't care what anyone says but I got hazed. Some sororities and fraternities haze their pledges to "create a better cohesion between us". Excuse my words, but bull*. There's a thing called Hell Week and like the word implies, it is hell. I can talk about all of it here because I need to respect the privacy of the sorority. Let's just say I was at the wishes and whims of the sorority. Most demands were not too bad but, living an hour away from most sisters, I was not about to make an 8 o'clock breakfast run. You get the idea.




Meanwhile, I was starting a manic episode. My meds were not completely regulated and I would intentionally miss appointments with my psychiatrist. I had mentioned previously to my Big that I was bipolar.

I was on such a high that I asked to live with my Big and her roommates. It made absolutely no sense for me to do so because my work was closer to my actual home.

I started getting a bad rep for flirting with fraternity brothers that my sisters had their eye on. That is a big no-no in the realm of girls in general. I got in trouble for that. I came to be stressed out about school and flipped out at a sister who was pressuring me for an answer for an activity she was doing. Needless to say, I was quickly losing popularity and becoming an outsider.

I started confiding in a brother who had also previously been a good friend of mine. I reread my messages to him and they make no sense at all. Being manic does that to me. 




My sisters got wind of this and chastised me for talking about private “sorority” problems to an outsider. I actually received a letter suggesting I become a passive member until further notice, meaning I lose my voting rights, etc. 




Worst of all, I was accused of not letting my sisters know I had a mental illness. Not warning them or something. 

It makes me wonder if they would have accepted me if they knew I was bipolar? 

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If anyone treats you differently because you have a mental illness, don’t take it. 

Having a mental illness does not define you.

You are worthy. 

- Catherine 








Sorority Part 1




Unbeknownst to you, I was a part of two sororities that shall remain nameless.

When I first started studying in Ottawa, I wanted to fit in. Starting off in Political Science classes with around 75 students was overbearing and made it hard for me to make friends.

I went to the quad during Frosh Week, and saw Fraternities and Sororities tabled around. I had an image of wanting to be in one particular sorority that I had researched before coming to Ottawa. I rushed it (attended activities and informal gatherings to get to know the sisters). I was then invited to the Pref Party (this is where sisters get to know if you will be a good fit). I wasn’t able to attend and didn’t get in. I actually rushed for them twice. I did not get in the second time either because it was my mother’s birthday and I was celebrating it with my family in Montreal. The sisters told me it didn’t matter if I couldn’t attend the Pref Party. I was later told that the sisters took the decision of who got in right after the Pref Party. This is probably a big reason why I didn’t get in.


Meanwhile, I made two friends. They weren’t always available. I wanted to be a part of something like I had been in Cégep (University Prep? We have a different schooling system in Québec) and being in a Sorority seemed like a good idea. 

After not getting in the first Sorority, I rushed for an International Sorority. Their philosophy and the way they perceived sisterhood really resonated within me. I have many good memories from this Sorority. I felt like I was doing something good on campus. We participated in and organized philanthropy activities. We got to know other Fraternities and Sororities in a non-party way. We had high standards, we loved each other and we were classy.


However, I became depressed. 

School wasn't going too well. I started skipping classes and spending days in bed. My roommate had no idea this was happening because she was away on a trip. 

I stopped going to Chapter. Chapter is the weekly meeting you have with your sisterhood to discuss official business. I did not attend and got fined 10$ each time. I also lost financial aid because I didn't give a payment on time.

So much for sisterhood, right?

I can't say that no one reached out to see if I was truly okay. One sister asked me a few times. I believe her concern was genuine.

I moved to Montreal and did not transfer Chapters because Montreal didn't have one. I did have to give back my letters (any shirt/sweatshirt with the Sorority's greek letters) and my pin. I understand that I couldn't keep them because I was no longer part of the organization, but those items cost around 300$ all together. 

All I wanted was to be part of a group of women who would be there for each other. 

Guess that didn't happen...

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My experience taught me that Sororities aren't for everyone. I just didn't fit in. I tried so hard to, but turns out it wasn't for me. During my most painful moments, when I needed my sisters, I was ignored. I don't think any of it was done on purpose. Maybe, they never had a sister with a mental illness. 

I kept contact with one sister. She helped me a lot through hard times. When I talked to her again, after all this debacle, she apologized for how things ended. She also apologized that I was treated unfairly. 

Unfortunately, I still had the idea that being in a sorority would make me special and would give me a certain title. 

So, it didn't end there. Another sorority. Another post coming up.

- Catherine

2012: Student Protest



2012. The year that proved to me that students can change the face of politics.

It all started in 2007. It was my first year of College. I got involved in my student association and became Club's Coordinator. Until then, I had been living in my happy bubble. My parents were struggling financially but they were paying for my tuition and all of my textbooks. I didn't realize how lucky I was...

Slowly but surely, I came to know how the Canadian government was spending more money on its armed forces than on its population's education. I couldn't understand why educating future leaders that could potentially change the world in any field was any less important. 

I started helping stage protests. I picketed the school when our General Assembly voted to strike. All this because I believed in free if not accessible education for all.

And then came 2012, the biggest student protest in the history of Quebec and of Canada. It was also the longest. It began the 13th of February 2012 and ended the 7th of September 2012.

Why was there a protest? The government of Quebec had decided to increase the tuition 325$ over 3 years for a total of 1625$. You might say, Quebec has the lowest tuition in Canada caping at around 3500$ per year with the rest of the country at 7500$ in average.


Yes, but... We fought for that. Every time an increase was announced we fought. Sometimes, it worked. Sometimes, it didn't. However, we fought because we believed everyone should have access to education. 

Students from across the province voted to strike. Some voted for a day and others for weeks until the government would back down. At the height of the student strike, on March 22nd 2012, 200 000 people marched in downtown Montreal. At this point, a quarter million of students in Quebec had voted to strike. 

There started to be nightly protests that turned to violence. I remember being terrorized running away from policemen all clad in anti-riot gear. I was running away with some friends as we heard flash-bang grenades not far from us. I could barely breathe or see through the smoke bombs thrown at us but I kept coming back to protest. 

Still, the government wouldn't listen.

One of those nights, I got arrested. I was getting out of the National Library with my laptop in bag and I decided to join the nightly protest. The city had just passed a law dictating that any protest that was not sanctioned by the police would be deemed illegal. This is why, as soon as we started, the anti-riot squad started charging, hitting, pepper-spraying, throwing gas bombs and arresting. Three police officers charged into me so hard that my bicycle helmet cracked. My hands were tie-wrapped and I was moved in a truck with other arrestees. When I got there, I got mug shots taken. I removed all of my laces (hoodie and shoes) and signed a paper with all the items they were keeping during my detention. We were four in our cell. There was a toilet with no toilet paper. A guard would not even provide a sanitary napkin for a girl on her period. As time passed, the women who came in were more bruised and beaten up. I was scared.


 More than 400 people got arrested that night. Some had to spend more than 8 hours in public buses because all holding cells were full. My parents got a call from me from the detention center where I spent the night. When they heard my voice, they said: "We saw what happened in tv. You got arrested didn't you?"  I was lucky to not have been fined because I remembered the phone number of a pro bono lawyer. Others were not as lucky. 


Then came the pots and pans movement! Every evening students and families came out with their ladle and pot. They banged them through the streets of their neighbourhoods as another way to make their voices heard. This was inspired by the pots and pans movement in Chile.


It came to a point where the government had to do something. Because of all our actions, the province was in turmoil. Day after day, students were getting their voices heard. Opposing political parties rallied with us. 

Finally, the government did cede. The political party was not reelected. The former Premier resigned from politics but most of all tuition froze.

We never gave up. We kept going fighting for our rights and beliefs. Yes, it was hard. Yes, it might have been scary. All this was done for future generations. I wanted my children to have access to College education. 

That’s why I did it. That’s why we all did it. For our future. 

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I was inspired to write this post because of the students of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. You are rallying people from all walks of life to finally change gun regulation in the US. 

When we were fighting against the tuition hike, we were told we were young, idealistic and didn't really know about the real world. 

No one can say that you know nothing of the real world. Sadly, you experienced it first hand. 

You are a true inspiration. Keep fighting the fight. Keep informing others and, most of all, never back down. 

Everyday, every moment possible make your voices heard. Don’t let this be another “fleeting movement”, another media sensation. Because lives are affected and things need to change.

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I encourage you to  inform your political leaders about your stance on necessary gun control. 

I also encourage you to join the March for our Lives on March 24th. Bring your friends and families, it's time to make a change. 


- Catherine 

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For your eyes, a glimpse of the 2012 student protest.








School and Insecurity



I thought I could finish my degree in time. I won’t be able to. It's not because I skipped school for the fun of it. I wasn't in class because every morning I woke up defeated. I just did not want to go. Imagine waking up early and telling yourself: "ugh, not today" then imagine that feeling tenthfold.

I was clearly starting to be depressed.

I tried to justify myself when it came to the classes I missed. There’s a rule at my college that you must attend 80% of your classes or it is an automatic fail. I frequently told myself, I can miss because I haven’t reached the limit.

In one class I missed assignments because they were only worth 2% or 3%. Not a big deal. Turns out it was. My final portfolio was entirely based on those assignments and without them I would fail. I eventually got a doctor’s note for all my missed classes. It didn’t and couldn’t make a difference in one class because of that portfolio. 

I tried to explain to my teacher that I had a note but there was nothing she could do. I needed those in-class assignments...

Now, I have to stay an extra year. Because of one class.

I admit, when I had to retake it, I was devastated. I’m already 10 years older than my cohort and now I have to work with even younger students?! Cliques had been established and I felt lonely. I was lucky to find some friends.

That was last semester. This semester is the hardest because half of my classes are with my friends the other ones are with the younger cohort.

What hurts the most right now is that my friends will all be graduating this semester. 

At the beginning of classes, I was all over the place. I came home crying feeling alone. I didn't feel included with the other cohort. I even thought the girls I met from last semester didn't want to be with me. 

My best friends outside of school said to talk with said girls. It turns out they were just happy to reunite with their friends and didn't notice how I felt. Nothing was done maliciously.

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Everyone has their own path. You may be attending college or you may believe it is not for you. We all have different aspirations and that's perfectly fine. There is not a set rule.

I mean, I'm 28 and I'm in college. I go to school with 19 year-olds. Yes, I feel old sometimes. Yes, I feel annoyed. I'm pursuing my studies for me and not to please others.

It still hurts to be held back. But I'll be ok. Two more semesters to go and then, my dream job.

All your hardships are worth it. 

"Sometimes, when you lose, you win." - A Walk to Remember

- Catherine

Buying Books




My weakness is buying books.

I have a serious problem.

For example, today I knew I needed to go to the bookstore to get one magazine for my art class. Granted, it was not necessary for me to have said magazine, since I found some clippings the other day.

The grand total should have been $7. 

My Bipolar Story Part 3



This is a hard one because it deals with two of my earliest manic episodes.

When you are manic, there is absolutely no reasoning with you. You can’t make the difference between what is rational and irrational. You do “crazy” things and you are out. of. control. The worst is that when you get out of a manic episode, you remember everything.

Two of my numerous stays at the Institution included manic episodes. As all of my episodes, they are embarrassing to recount.

I’m sharing my episodes because I want to inform people that, when you are mentally ill, you don’t necessarily know what you are doing. I want you to know that it is not your fault. Nobody chooses to be mentally ill.

See, I’m getting carried away because I’m scared and embarrassed to recount what I did.