Rita Totten

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This semester is my last active semester in my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. I have been an active member since fall 2005. Being a part of such an incredible group of women has showed me that I deserve great things in my life. With hard work and support from my family and friends I have gone from a lost, confused freshman at the U to a successful, well-known, accomplished senior.

As a freshman I only cared about one thing: partying. I lived in the dorms so I was in a constant party environment. Joining a sorority was a way for me to make friends outside of the ones I knew from high school but it also introduced me to Greek Row and a whole new party scene. Five days I week I would alternate between partying at the dorms and partying on Greek Row. I truly believed I was invincible. I never went to class so I never worried about how my decisions the night before would affect me in the morning.

I moved out of the dorms and onto Greek Row my second semester. Being so close to the “fun” was exciting for me. I could walk across the street and not worry about finding a way home from the party. I’m not going to lie, I had fun my freshman year. But I also made a lot of personal, academic and social mistakes that I am still dealing with now. I’ve had to retake a few classes because I did so poorly my first year. I burned a lot of bridges with former friends because I felt partying and hanging out was more important.

When I moved back to Park City for the summer I tried to continue my same habits at home. I worked two jobs full time but any spare moment I had I would drive back down to Salt Lake and hang out with my friends. This behavior didn’t fly with my parents who soon put a stop to it and set ground rules for me. I had never had rules before in my life! Never a curfew, never not been allowed to do something or go somewhere. For the first time, I had to play by someone else’s rules, not just my own.

I made a decision after that first summer home from school. I decided that I didn’t want to be known as the “party girl.” I wanted more respect from my peers and to get that I had to earn it. I moved back into my sorority house but this time I took advantage of the scholarship and mentor programs it had to offer, not just the social aspect. Being so close to campus (literally a three-minute walk) I went to class every single day for an entire semester and got the best grades I have ever had, a 3.5 GPA. With the help of older girls in the house and a study plan I was able to become eligible to hold an office.

As a senior I am the event chair of Kappa and will host our annual Fall Date Night on Nov. 14, 2008, at La Caille, a French restaurant in Sandy. I am so proud that I have developed into a confident person and am now able to guide the younger girls who are making some of the same mistakes I did. Everyone will mess up in their lives but it’s how you deal with and learn from those mistakes that dictate what happens in the future. I am thankful for the women in my life that saw that I was more than just a lost freshman that loved to party.  They saw in me the potential for greatness and I owe my success to them.

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT ME:

I grew up in the ski town of Park City, Utah, moving there when I was 9. Before Utah, I lived in Missouri in a fairly close-minded community. Thanks to my dad’s job, our family moved to Utah and into a better life. At first I was extremely upset about the move: I had to leave all my friends and I was sure I would never make any new ones. But looking back, moving to Park City was the best thing that could ever have happened to me. I quickly made friends with the kids in my neighborhood, some of whom I am still friends with today.

The schools in Park City are phenomenal and I was fortunate enough to receive the best education possible. Growing up I played a lot of sports and when I got to  high school I was able to letter in four varsity sports: soccer, track, basketball and softball. I was always active and also playing in the high school band, was year book editor and senior class president.

My family is very important to me and I have always been close with them. I am the oldest of three children. My sister, Grace, is 20 years old and a junior at the U. My brother, Sam, is 16 and a junior in high school. My parents, Joe and Morag, are both artists and have encouraged me to pursue what will make me happy in life. My dad is a writer and art director at an advertising firm downtown. He regularly contributes to Wasatch Journal. My mom is a glass and mixed media artist and has a studio in our home in Park City. She is featured in galleries across the country and continues to expand her client base.