A lot of students currently have a huge decision on their plate that can alter their college life and even their life after college. Do I want to pledge? And if so where do I want to pledge? These past two weeks, for those of you that don’t know, was rush weeks. That is when all of the Greek Organizations try to recruit new members for their respective organizations.
The advantages of going Greek are countless, from always having something to do, to boosting a resume, to potentially land a job in the future. I went through this process about a year ago and decided to pledge at a small local fraternity at my old college. I would gladly do everything over again, and I am proud to call my brothers and sisters my family. This is definitely a daunting choice that not only affects your next four years, but the rest of your life. I want to pass along this advice to you first timers in Greek Life so you can have a fun rush and pledging season.
While rushing, find your niche. You don’t want to pledge an organization that you don’t feel comfortable around, let alone call your brothers or sisters some day. Go to rush events on campus and just talk to Greek Organizations and see what they’re about. You will be able to tell very quickly where you are welcome and where you aren’t.
Respect is key. Most Greek houses are people’s homes that they either own or rent. Don’t steal or break their possessions just because you are drunk and feel like breaking things. Don’t start fights with anyone because you don’t know who they know and it ruins your chances of getting a bid. If they ask you to quiet down or leave the party, listen to them because it is their home. Also, don’t call it a “Frat.” This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Fraternity men have been trying to escape the Animal House label of “Frat Boys” ever since it came out.
Get to know the brothers and sisters. This is pretty simple if you want to call them your brother or sister. You should really get to know them before you commit to them. Also, if they invite you to an event that they are hosting or attending, really try to make it. It shows them that you really want to be a part of them. Obviously, if you have to study or work they will understand.
Pledge and find out. Greek Organizations have been secretive since their birth and they hold their traditions with pride. If you actually show the initiative to pledge they will reveal everything about the house in order that you should learn it. Don’t get mad if you get really vague answers to specific questions, or none at all.
Be honest. If they ask if you are looking at different houses, tell them. If they really want you that bad they will fight tooth and nail to get you to pledge.
While pledging, do projects early. If you know you have a big project that is due during or right after pledging, get it done or at least started early on during the pledging process of. Most pledge programs start out with less time commitment in the beginning and get really busy by the end.
Maintain your social life. Friends that aren’t pledging might give you a hard time for pledging, and some may even leave you completely. To the friends that still want to be called your friends, try to make plans to have lunch or study with them. The ones that don’t probably aren’t worth it in the first place.
Listen to what they have to say. Brothers and sisters will be stringent on information about future pledging events, but they may drop small hints to help you out if they are your big brother or sister. Know your stuff, too. You will be required to learn house history, the Greek alphabet and general information about Greek Life throughout pledging. If you know it, your life will be so much easier.
Work together. Pledging will teach you and your pledge brothers or sisters to work together as one. The quicker you get that through your heads, the easier it will be. Make sure you all know everything you are taught and try to avoid pledge class fights.
Sleep when you can, dose up on caffeine when you can’t. Nothing can replace sleep but coffee will come close. You will be tired. Get used to it.
Designate ”me time.” Set aside time, maybe 15-30 minutes, where you can just relax and unwind. Don’t think about school, pledging or anything that stresses you out. Your sanity will thank you.
Secrecy is key. As I said before, Greek Life is about secrecy. Don’t talk about an organization’s history and operations this can ruin it for the people that live for that organization. If you do decide to de-pledge for personal reasons (i.e. grades, family issues, ect.), don’t talk about pledging with other people; keep it to yourself.
Above all, just have fun with it. If you do go through with pledging, don’t kill yourself over it. It is about building a bond with your pledge class and the brothers or sisters of the house. You and your pledge brothers or sisters will look back on pledging fondly even if it was tough, because it made you a better person.