Pennie Theodorou, 2nd-year Behaviroral Sciences and Health Education Student
If you are Greek, have any Greek friends, or have seen the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you know that being Greek isn’t just an ethnicity, it is a way of life. I grew up in a big, loud Greek family in Tucson, Arizona and participated in traditional Greek activities. As a child I spent my Sundays in church and Sunday school, attended Greek language school every Wednesday, Greek dance practice every Thursday, and church choir practice squeezed somewhere in the middle of the week. Every holiday was spent with at least 40 of our closest friends eating amazing food and Greek dancing around the house. This was my life growing up and I wouldn’t change it for anything. The Tucson Greek Orthodox community was my second home and the center of my life. So when it came time to move to Atlanta, I was nervous about leaving this part of my life behind.
When I decided to attend the Rollins School of Public Health, the first thing my parents did was look up the Atlanta Greek Orthodox Church. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that it was only 1.5 miles from Emory University and on the same street as my new condo! In August 2013, I made my big move to Atlanta with the help of my parents. Before my bedroom was even fully setup, my parents had contacted the church and arranged for us to attend service that Sunday. I was nervous about so many things that week: moving to a new city, starting a new school, making new friends and finding a job, but when I walked into the Greek church that Sunday, I felt like I was home. The community embraced me immediately and I became involved with the various college outreach organizations that day. I’m pretty sure my mom was scoping out all the cute Greek boys for me (not complaining) while I was signing up for these various groups. A year and a half later I am still active in the Greek community and have met some of my closest friends.
ADVICE: Find an organization outside of Rollins to become involved with. It is too easy to get sucked into the Emory bubble so having an outside support system to reach out to is important. I found that support in the Greek community, but find what works for you!
Be sure to check out the Atlanta Greek Festival next year September 24th-27th!