Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Feature: Nicole Jacob

Finding a “home” on campus can be hard, and when Nicole Jacob chose to attend Georgia State University, she struggled to feel like she belonged on a campus where the majority of students are commuters.

“In that first month at school, I had no idea how to meet people,” Nicole said. “Everyone just went home after classes.”

One of Nicole’s older friends, who was the President of another Panhellenic organization on campus, encouraged her to participate in Panhellenic recruitment. So she did.

“Signing up for recruitment and realizing ‘There are so many people that look like me here’—it just made me feel so much more comfortable,’” she said.

On the first day of Recruitment, Nicole was running late and ended up sitting next to another potential new member who was also a little behind. Turns out, nothing can bond a pair better than being a little tardy to the party!

“She was the first friend outside of my high school group that I made at [Georgia] State. We ended up talking all weekend, and we both ran home to ZTA. She still to this day is one of my best friends. Meeting her that first day made me realize this process was worth it,” Nicole said.

Nicole (left) and Naomi (right) met on the first night of Recruitment at Georgia State.

Nicole is the first person in her family to join a sorority or fraternity.

“I was very close-minded about it in the beginning because I never knew anyone that looked like me that was in Greek life. Once I got to State and saw how diverse it was, I realized it wasn’t this scary, closed-off space that I perceived it as.”

Nicole’s family is from the South Indian state of Kerala. Between August and September, they celebrate Onam, an annual harvest festival. She describes the celebration as a big vegetarian feast where they eat off of banana leaves and create beautiful Pookkalam, intricate arrangements of flowers laid out in patterns on the floor.

“It [the celebration of Onam] is very comforting to me because that’s what I grew up doing, and all throughout high school, I had never had a friend that I ever shared that experience with,” Nicole said. “In ZTA, I made my best friends and finally felt comfortable to invite some of those girls over to my house to share that with them, and it was so special to be able to show my best friends my culture.”

In her chapter, Nicole served as Vice President III/Membership Chair and Vice President I/Coordinator of Committees. As VP III, she continually ensured that every chapter member was heard and every PNM felt welcomed at ZTA.

“Across the board, we have always been a pretty diverse chapter. One thing I really appreciated was that I never was made to feel like a spokesperson for my race or for people of color,” Nicole said.

ZTA is lucky to have members like Nicole, who know what it’s like to find a place where they belong and can share their experiences and talents, during Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month and beyond, and we are thankful for the perspective each Zeta brings to our Fraternity.


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