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As the days roll by in our college careers and the sun sets on the good times, good friends, and binge drinking, we have time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished. Not academically, but socially. The friendships that will last a lifetime, and the stories that will endlessly get repeated; it’s the reason we went to college in the first place. The experience is why we do what we do.
Life starts out dark and mysterious, similar to your first lineup. You don’t know what is going to happen next. One moment you are standing in a dark basement, and the next moment you have lights flashing in your eyes and fifty drunk brothers screaming in your face telling you you’re a worthless piece of human excrement that doesn’t deserve the glory that is being in their fraternity. At that moment, all you can hear is doubt. Doubt that you will never be able to make it through the process, doubt that you’ll even be a good brother, doubt that these kids will actually want to hang out with you when it’s all said and done, when really it’s all just noise. Noise that isn’t real.
In life, these brothers won’t go away. Not literally, but figuratively. You will always have people telling you you can’t do it. Jobs will say they found another applicant that fits the position better, girls will break up with you for someone they claim is better in every way, friends will say they’ve outgrown you. But what did you do when you were on the line? You told yourself, “Fuck these guys; I’m not afraid of them. this is gonna suck, but I’ll survive.”
As life continues and a new chapter starts to present itself — like graduating college, for example — you need to have that same pledge mentality. Roll with the punches and always have that voice in the back of your head that screams, “I can do this. Fuck these guys” because that voice is what separates the great men from the average men. It’s easy to quit. They told you that the first day you got lined up in that cold, musty basement.
“We aren’t forcing you to be here. The door is right there. You can walk out at any time, and we won’t try to stop you or beg you to come back because we don’t want any quitters in our fraternity.”
Your pledge master, as terrible and relentless as he was, taught you a great life lesson that day. Average men quit because things get too hard. They’d rather take the easy way out and have their balls clipped from them than grit their teeth and put in work. Glory comes to those who work for it. Sure, some people fall into it, like the legacies that were automatically given a bid, but they don’t appreciate it like those who made the choice to try and be great on their own. The best men in this country brought themselves up from the basement and made something of themselves. Pure determination and effort. No help, no handouts. I can’t personally say I know what it’s like to have balls the size of George Washington’s or Abe Lincoln’s, but I can say that I’ve been put to the test and came out on top like the fucking animal I know I am. Every single one of you should have the same mentality.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, we can learn a lot about life through this beautiful fucking disaster that is fraternity and sorority culture. With all this talk about whether or not Greek life should be allowed at universities and all the rule changes that are basically making our Greek organizations just watered down social clubs that anyone can join, I wanted to reflect on the Greek life that I grew up in. The one that wasn’t afraid to go a little too far at times. The one that said “fuck you” to anyone who tried to stop us from doing what we wanted. The one that taught me, and thousands before me, that if no one is going to give you what you want, you man up and take it without remorse.
These values stay with a person. Even if you don’t get the same experience I did, don’t forget that you and you alone make the decision to be better than average; no one else. Make the jump, and at least try to come out on top instead of playing it safe. Our college careers will all come to an end — just like life — but the values we learned through our experiences, however tame or wild they may be, won’t.
If life doesn’t go your way, accept the bid to be something greater and haze the fuck out of yourself until you reach the promised land. Try new experiences, fake it ’til you make it, turn from prey to predator, and don’t stop fighting until you get what you want. That’s what I learned. Fraternity and sorority culture is changing whether we like it or not. Maybe the new generations of Greek brothers and sisters won’t have the same experiences as the ones that came before them, but I pray they learn the same values. If you wan’t to be great, you have to make your own destiny..
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