This past semester in college I finally decided to pledge to a fraternity to have more of a social life. I had heard so much about the Greek life on a college campus
that it seemed to be the right time to pledge to a fraternity. Now I have a lot of friends who decided to pledge to social fraternities like Delta Chi, or Sigma Sigma Pi and Alpha Eta Pi. These are just three of some of the most popular fraternities and sororties that are known and nationally recognized at almost every university throughout the nation. I decided that I wanted more than just the social aspect to it, I decided to pledge to Phi Alpha Delta, a pre law fraternity on my campus. Professional fraternities are a great way to meet people and have all of the social aspects of a social fraternity or sorority as well as learning about a profession or area. Other professional fraternities include a business fraternity and a pre-med frat.
Professional fraternities I have found are a great way to meet people who have the same future goals as you do when they get out of undergraduate school. In a business fraternity many people will want to go to business or finance school for accounting just as a pre law fraternity has many people going on to law school to become lawyers. In fact if anything, I strongly recommend joining a fraternity even if you are undecided about your future goals because they will help you make that giant decision regarding your future. When you join a pre-law or business frat you will learn more about yourself and if you really want to go to law school and put in all that hard work and money to become a lawyer. Sometimes you will find that you no longr want to be a lawyer and instead switch career paths. This has happened to many of the members in my pre-law fraternity.
One of the first things that people ask me about my fraternity is the pledging process. A couple of years ago in some college campuses hazing was really bad, especially among the social fraternities. However, no with new state hazing laws that impose tough criminal sentences for hazing, there is more hype and drama in the pledging process. If there is any type of event that your sorority or fraternity is making you feel uncomfortable tell them and if you still have to do the task at hand and are not comfortable doing it, then it really isn’t worth you joining it. Fraternities and sororities are supposed to be fun and if you aren’t having fun or your life is being made miserable, then you should chose a different fraternity or sorority to join.
The pledging process I have found can be broken down into two areas: mental and physical. For some fraternities there is a lot of information that ust be absorbed. For me pre-law fraternity I have to memorize the 16 year history of it at my school since it started its Binghamton chapter in 1990. In addition I have to memorize all of the family lines while is a family tree sheet of all of the mentors or “Bigs” in the fraternity. This takes quite a bit of time and effort to do and you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot of time, effort and sleep to get the job done. Members of the sorority or fraternity might also ask you to memorize personal information about them or other members.
The physical aspect of pledging is the tasks that you have to do. Many of them will be quite long and at any time of day or night, even when most people are usually asleep. However, as bad as the task might seem, in the end you will see that it really isn’t that bad. Of course you will have butterflies in your stomach, your palms will sweat, you will defintely feel nervous; but these are all things that occurr when you feel nervous which is perfectly normal.
One of the biggest aspects of a fraternity or sorority is the tradition that comes with it. Every single pledge class that has come before you has probably had to do the same exact tasks that has been asked of you so the task really isn’t impossible or as bad as it might initially seem. Every pledge class has a pledge master who you can talk to when you are having personal problems with friends, family or are doing badly in school classes. Members of the fraternity and your peldgemaster will understand that you have tests and have to attend classes and they will not ask you to miss them.
Throughout your pledging process you will definitely face an uphill battle. Pledging is not suppposed to be easy, nor should it be. Membership into a fraternity is a priveledge, something you must earn and work hard to get in. The benefits of a fraternity are great. For example, you will meet so many people and develop so many connections. I personally know a lot of people who have gotten internships at a District Attorney’s office because of who they knew through networking and relationships.
During the pledging process you will meet so many new people who have many of the same interests are you do. During pledging you may have to devote as much as 12 hours a day to go to pledging events and being with your pledge class and fraternity. The time you spend with your peldge class you will see leads to strong friendships with these strangers who will soon become your best friends for the rest of college. You will get to know every detail of their personal lives because you will be spending so much time with them. Even people who you think you might not get along with because they dress a certain way or listen to certain music you will see that they become your best friends. You might and probably even choose to live with them in college the next year because you will develop such a strong friendship.
Throughout the pledging process you will inevitably have people in your pledge class who “depledge” and decide they no longer want to go through with the pledging process. This is unfortunate but if you are really good friends with them and care about them, you should everything you can to presuade them to stick with it and to finish the pledging process. For some people, they have their own priorities and agenda and will decide that pledging is not for them.
Its unfortunate, but the sad part is that for some fraternities, especially the professional fraternities, some people only want to join because it looks good on a resume. They think that once they join they won’t go to any events and will loose all contact with their fraternity. The pledge process is designed to “weed” out these bad apples and make sure that the people who are pledging are willing to do what it takes to be influential and important parts of the fraternity and membership for years to come and carry on the rich legacy and traditions of the fraternity. These people who are joining for the resume will have sooner or later that they are weak willing and do not want to put in the huge effort and time that pledging requires as you move further and further into the pledging process.
Finally, as you may have heard, fraternities and sororities are huge financial expenses. You have to pay for membership dues as well as shirts, sweatshirts, and host events, plus traveling expenses, all of which costs a lot of money when you add it up. If you are tight with money, the fraternity will work with you to try and get you a paying job and work out a payment plan for you to meet the needs of your budget. You should also speak with your parents to see how much money they are willing to spend for your pledging process. This will help you figure out if you need an extra job on campus or at the mall to pay for the costs.
Also, your fraternity or sorority will host a variety of fundraising events such as bake sales, can drives, and various other activities to help you pay for costs.
I strongly recommend every college student to join a fraternity or sorority, no matter if its a social fraternity or a professional fraternity. It doesn’t matter your ethnicity, age, class, or lifestlye, you should join. I guarantee it will be one of the best experiences of your life!