I hope this letter finds you well. At this point, your rush week should be a distant memory. Hopefully you signed a bid at your dream house and are starting to get settled in. By the way, did you have a good time at Pref Night? How nifty was it to have a party thrown in your honor even if one of the older brothers had to find a date for you at the last second. Don’t worry though; by spring formal you should be more acquainted with the fairer sex on campus and thus, capable of securing your own date.
At any rate, as you read this letter through blurry eyes, I just wanted to talk to you for a spell about the upcoming weeks. You see young sire, you are entering into the exciting time called the pledge period. Now I understand if that term sounds foreign to you as I am aware that many forward thinking fraternities now refer to this period as “candidacy”. However, make no mistake; despite the terminology, its all the same concept. Your goal is to prove to the elder members that you are worthy to become a full brother and carry on the tradition of the chapter through initiation.
So lets get the ugliness out of the way early. You have probably heard a good deal about the dreaded “H word”. There is a reason that many houses have gotten away from using the term “pledge”all together; because it is usually associated with the practice of hazing. And while hazing today is far less severe than it was in say your father’s day, there are still a few knucklehead chapters who insist on sustaining these barbaric rituals. You may be asking yourself, “Why do guys subject themselves to this type of embarrassment and ridicule?”In many cases, people let their desire to initiate blind them from commonsense. Don’t let this be you my friend! If asked to do anything you’re not comfortable with or that may cause you harm, walk! No organization is worth losing a limb or worse, your life. Well, maybe the Illuminati, but the hooded figure in the corner just said that the Illuminati doesn’t even exist, so…..
How about we switch gears and talk about what you SHOULD be doing during this period. For me, my pledge period was similar to the College 101 class the university forced me to take. It was a crash introduction course to the chapter and the fraternity as a whole. It is your pledge/candidate/new member educator’s job to teach you the crucial points of the fraternity. These lessons include, but are not limited, to the fraternity motto, history, key members, Greek alphabet, songs, chants and symbols. Your learning initiatives also need to extend to learning about your future brothers as well. Take the time to learn their names, majors, dreams, aspirations and favorite fraternity moments as you’re bound to hear a bounty of epic tellings. Here’s a tip; just as you do in your normal courses, be sure to take notes as there will be quizzes and probably a final right before initiation.
I think I’ll end this particular letter here as I don’t want to ruin this fun time for you. I’ll leave you with the words that were told to be by my pledge master, Mad Dog, all those years ago:
“The main thing to remember here, is that its all about fun. You could be the best pledge in the world by knowing your history, knowing all the brothers and winning the pledge class president position. You could date a girl in each sorority. Hell, you can even literally bleed the colors of the fraternity. But if you didn’t have fun…was any of it worth it?”
YOUR esteemed alumnus, JW.
P.S. Don’t get caught not wearing your pledge pin!