Mostly college-bound girls come to New York City to find themselves, Ivana Rodrigues came to find a group and she did with New York University’s Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. As president of her sorority, Ivana Rodrigues, 20, has found a second family. She often stays up until dawn working for her sorority sisters. She powers through her days from the strength of chai lattes, twenty-minute naps, and most of all, her sorority sisters. A small town girl in the big city, Rodrigues, chose NYU for college because it was only two hours from her home in Naugatuck, Connecticut. Her decision for a major was a bit tougher. She considered urban design and architecture but she couldn’t leave her roots behind. Her Spanish mother told her to give herself a break. And so, Ivana decided to become a Spanish major and use her fluency to her advantage.

Rodrigues greets the world with a fresh smile.

Rodrigues greets the world with a bright smile.

Effects from High School: All of my friends pretty much stayed in the northeast. I went to a small, all-girl high school in a small town, near New Haven, Connecticut. I never go home. I miss it a lot. I have ten girlfriends that I keep close with. We make effort every summer to get together. And we do a secret Santa every December. But, I still never get to see them. Honestly, I should have gone to college out in California. It wouldn’t have made a difference.

Family: My parents divorced when I was 15. My dad owns a construction company that my grandpa started after he emigrated here from Portugal. And my mom is a court interpreter. She’s fluent in Portuguese and Spanish; I learned Spanish from my mom and Portuguese from my dad. She learned Portuguese from my dad. My dad once owned a nightclub in New Haven, Connecticut. Its one claim to fame is Nirvana played there once before they hit it big. For me, it’s where my parents met.

Sorority Life: I’ve been in Kappa Kappa Gamma since spring of freshman year. I didn’t intend on it at first, especially becoming the president. But, coming from an all-girl boarding school, I just decided I missed having girls who were like sisters. I’m an only child. My sisters are very important to me. There are 95 girls in the sorority. I’m not close with all of them, but there are a handful of girls who are future bridesmaids material. And sure, sororities at NYU are small, but they have great qualities. It’s not like that show “Greek” or the movie “Legally Blonde.” It isn’t a free-for-all like schools down south.

Rush Week: So, I’m up until 4 a.m. for the sorority. Rush week is four days. Over the nights, we all spend time with the potential pledges. As the nights progress, the length of the parties grow longer. And you see fewer girls. Every night, the sorority sisters and the pledges vote on each other. It’s a lot of work. I’m living on three hours of sleep right now.

Schooling: I live at NYU’s Second Street dorm. I have one of the bigger rooms in a studio apartment. But everything’s broke. Air-conditioning and the stove both don’t work. Although I’m a journalism major, I’m actually leaning more toward work in public relations and marketing. I figured out my whole public relations interest too late in the game, though. I love journalism and telling stories, but I don’t think it’s too realistic if I don’t plan on staying in the city. So, I work for a public relation and marketing firm offsite. I like the idea of studying buying patterns, when and why people purchase items.

Aspirations: I’d prefer to go to graduate school in California. But, honestly, I plan on going home for two years or so after school. I know a lot of people come to the city and they become obsessed. They talk about never leaving. That’s not me. I don’t plan on staying in the city after school. I feel like the city makes it really hard for a family. And that’s what I want. I want marriage and to have kids. I don’t want to settle down and raise my little ones in a big city. I usually won’t admit this, but I’d love to be a stay-at-home mom.


Written by James Legris