Saturday, June 18, 2016

DJC Querencia: the first year as a year club [sorority/fraternity]

Months ago I wrote an article to introduce to you my year club, DJC Querencia (you can read it here). For those who are unfamiliar with the year club-concept, let me explain it real quick: at my sorority/fraternity (N.S.V. Ovum Novum), all new members are divided into smaller groups (around 10 people each), and these groups are called "year clubs". Your year club is your group of friends that you see every week, at least once a week on Wednesdays when you have dinner together before going to the association building / club house, where a party takes place, but sometimes you see each other more often since there are other activities as well during the week. These people are the people that you'll most regularly hang out with during your time in college and they will supposingly be your friends long after college is over.

My year club, DJC Querencia, happens to be especially fun! ;-) I wrote about our adventures before (here and here, and they were featured in this post as well), and I thought it would be fun to give you guys an update on what all we've done during this past college year :-) I'm already on my summer break - hell yeah! - so I think this post pretty much summarizes all that we did during our first year as a year club. Here are some highlights.

These photos were taken at the 'opening party' for the 'Dies-week'. "Dies" is the Latin word for "Birthday", and the Dies-week is basically the week in which we celebrate the day that our sorority/fraternity was founded (in 2016, Ovum Novum celebrated its 26th birthday. In contrast to many other sororities/fraternities throughout the country, Ovum Novum is quite a young association, but nevertheless the biggest one in Nijmegen. This may be because Ovum Novum provides everything you'd want from a sorority/fraternity, while at the same time it does not stick to some of the more disadvantageous traditions of the more traditional sororities/fraternities - like high contribution prices, hierarchical culture and obligations, like attendance). This year's 'opening party' took place at an actual ZOO (the zoo's restaurant type of building) so we got to walk past many of the animals before the party started.

These 4 photos were taken at Marieke's 19th birthday party, when a few of us went out in town to celebrate her birthday. Even though we go to our association's club house most of the time to have a party, also in order to hang with the other members (and have drinks that are way cheaper than they are in town), we like to go out and dance in our town's clubs and pubs as well (and sometimes even better).

Next photo on the left was taken when our year club-mate Caroline joined our year club. Most commonly, you are exclusively able to join a sorority/fraternity at the beginning of a college year, but at our sorority/fraternity, students get a second chance to join a few weeks after the beginning of another college year. This means the students that join later, have to join a year club that had been founded by first year-members a few weeks earlier. This means that after a few weeks after the foundation of DJC Querencia, Caroline joined our club as the 11th and final member.

The photo on the right shows Caroline, Lise and me at Ovum Novum's annual "Parents' Day", and it's as good as it sounds :-). At this day, members are allowed to bring one or both parents, so the parents can see where their child spends most of his college time. I brought my mom, as my mom wishes she was still a student herself every day, as, according to herself, being a student was the best time of her life (I suppose she means, besides the time after my birth). Besides showing the parents the club house, they also got a city tour (which was a bit useless to my own mom as she used to go to college in Nijmegen as well) together with a small 'pub crawl', and then we had dinner at a pancake boat, that sailed over the Waal-river while we ate.

Picture below, left: Merith, Naomi and me on a regular Wednesday night at someone's home before going to the club house. Like most Wednesdays, we had dinner together with another year club. This way you get to know more members of the sorority/fraternity besides your own year club members (and you learn how to cook dinner for 15 to 20 people at once while using a gross college students' home kitchen).

One on the right: Lise, me and Naomi as cooks at Mitchell's 21-Dinner. Together with my high school-friend Noa, they helped me out cooking a 7-courses dinner for Mitchell's 21st birthday! I'm so blessed with such wonderful friends!!

All these black and white pictures above were taken by Noa van de Graaf, my high school friend who does now a photography major in Antwerp. She asked if she could take some photographs for a school project for which she had to illustrate college life. These pictures that she took show perfectly well what a regular Wednesday night dinner might look like when two year clubs have dinner together.

These two rows of photos showing us at our "Seven Sins"-themed party. Like I said before, every Wednesday there's a members-party at the club house, and every wednesday another year club (or two) prepares the party according to their self-chosen theme. We did this party together with DJC Ziva, another female year club, and it was pretty fun to decorate the entire club house in preparation for the party (we did a corner for each sin, and wore devil's costumes). Throwing a party also means that you have to manage the bar. This is the reason why basically every Ovum Novum-member is an excellent bartender. It's hard work but really fun to do! Next year, I hope we will throw a Harry Potter-themed party - at least I'm pleading for it, because wouldn't that be the most amazing thing?

Next 6 photos were taken at an intern beach volleyball contest (at an indoor beach!), in which 5 of us participated. We weren't very good at it so we were out quickly, but we enjoyed the barbecue and after party just as much. I may even like these kind of activities way more than the regular Wednesdays' nights somehow. Perhaps because I'm not much of a (binge) drinker ;-)

The following 2 rows contain 6 pictures of 2 different events: the first being a trip to Amsterdam, were we had dinner at a (students') restaurant before meeting up with members of an Amsterdam sorority/fraternity (our own sorority/fraternity encourages first years to meet up with members of befriended sororities/fraternities, by means of awarding points for doing so, just like they award points for other activities and contributions to the association, and the first years' year club that owns the most points in the end of the year, is named "year club of the year" for that year. Can I just say 'year' one more time? Year.) So we met up with a male dispute (a dispute is somewhat like a year club, the difference is that a year club consists out of members who joined the sorority/fraternity in the same year, while a dispute welcomes new members every year so it consists out of a few members from each year) at their regular pub, before going out in Amsterdam together.

The second event was a "girls-only night" at our own club house, that was organized by what we call a 'vertical', an association between multiple year clubs, one from every year. Not every year club is involved in a 'vertical', only the very eager ones who want to be more active at the sorority/fraternity join one. The "ladies night" was one of my favorite events this year. During this event, every floor in the club house had a different theme. The first one was the "party floor", with an 'Arabian Nights' theme, where you could chill, dance, have your future predicted by a fortune teller, get a henna tattoo, or smoke water pipe. The second floor's theme was basically "dicks" and you could play dick-related games (no actual dicks involved!!! Lol) (I am going to try to translate these Dutch-named games into English, but I can't assure you it will cover what the game involves entirely: dick-prick, dick-shaped-cookie-biting-game, dick-pooping, penis pinata, condom contest, and last but not least, decorating a pussy cake) This was probably my favorite floor (hilariousness guaranteed.) Finally, at the third floor, the theme was "relaxing and beauty", and you could get massages and a make-up contouring workshop. In short, it was all very girly and I think we all enjoyed a night without the guys.

Upper two photos that follow: one of me and Kim Phi, seeing each other again at the club house and caught hugging :-), then a group pictures at a party that Ovum Novum throws 5 times a year and that's open for any student in Nijmegen, so they can see what a sorority/fraternity is like and consider if they'd want to join as well, or maybe just enjoy a party selling beer for cheap.

The two pictures under the 'hugging picture' of me and Kim Phi, were taken during an event that we prepared: 'year club dinner at the club house'. When a year club chooses to do this event, it means that this year club prepares dinner for around 50 hungry mouths!!! But that's what we managed! As you may have noticed, our year club name "Querencia" is a Spanish word, so our 'year club dinner at the club house' had a Spanish theme, and all three courses were Spanish AND started with a Q, just like Querencia: A Spanish Quiche, Quesedillas, and finally Querencia-y-tres parfait (which contained Querente-y-tres liquor). In the upper picture, me and Sofie are holding a banner saying "Restaurant de la Querencia". In the picture below: a group picture (which may be only the second one in which we are complete as a year club!) It was terribly stressful to cook for that many people but we had so much fun and the food was so good!

Next to the lower picture that I just talked about, you see two pictures: one of me and Kim Phi, the other of me and Eva. Eva and I are wearing our yellow Ovum Novum-shirts, that we usually were during a party at which every student in town is welcome. Yellow, together with purple, is our sorority/fraternity's club color, so that's why you can see all members wearing bright yellow during an open party.

A picture of Kim Phi, Merith and I, then a picture of Sofie and Caroline, and first picture, next row a picture of Merith and I, all taken during dinner at a Wednesday night.

Next to the picture of Merith and I, a group picture of 8 of us, one of the only ones that were taken at a regular party that I liked ;-)

Last three pictures were taken at last party that I attended, a beach-themed party, that we liked a lot! :-) #PINEAPPLE

I know this must be a lot to take in ;-) I'm only sharing this much information to you because I hope people will get a more realistic image of sororities/fraternities in The Netherlands. I know there's a lot of prejudice against sororities/fraternities and I can certainly see where that comes from: once I stated that I would never join an association like that. But here's the thing: when you, like me, have lectures with 450-something people all at once for your college major, it's pretty hard to create the social life that one would expect from a college student's one! Of course at the beginning of each college year, first years get the chance to meet each other before classes start during an 'introduction week', and you're certainly lucky if during this week you make plenty of true friends, but this is not always (often not) the case, and this may lead to a boring and fucking lonely life. There are two things that you can do to boost your social life: either live in an house from which its inhabitants like to hang together a lot, or get actively involved into either your major's students' association, or a sorority/fraternity or something alike. Since I like my privacy and alone-time when I'm at home, and since I preferred meeting students from different majors as well, the last option was the best one for me. At first I had some prejudices against sororities/fraternities that were mainly based on what I had heard about the more traditional sororities/fraternities (traditions I talked about earlier in this article), but then I found out there was a sorority/fraternity that had ditched those disadvantages, but kept all the fun stuff, and since I did want to experience my college life all the way, I thought it was worth a shot. I decided that I would join N.S.V. Ovum Novum, and just go through the introduction time to see what it was like, and if it didn't appeal to me, I'd just leave, but the more and more I got involved the more I liked it :-) 

What I like best about being a sorority/fraternity member is my YEAR CLUB because those girls have certainly made my first year in college totally AWESOME!!! So I would recommend you new freshmen to join a sorority/fraternity (not so much the traditional ones, but even more the modern ones, especially those having a year clubs-structure) if you want your college time to be fantastic! And last but not least: you'll never know if you never try....and during these college years you get the only chance in your life to experience an association like this - which is, great life experience :-)

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