Realizing People Suck
I mean this in an endearing way. You get rushed hard by that dude who you thought was the dopest cat around, only to realize that his excessive flirtation renders him a serial cheater. Or, after worshipping that straight playa who seems all confident and hooks up with girls left and right, you realize that he could never possibly hold down a girlfriend, let alone a relatively stable relationship.
The unique commitments of a fraternal experience, combined with people “discovering themselves” as a result of being on their own for the first time, lends itself to some pretty interesting life takeaways. What I (think I) discovered is that we’re all flawed, and judgements are mad overrated. Cool people can easily be shitty, and people that you think suck are often secretly pretty cool.
Musical Palette Expansion
Frequent partying leads to frequent playlist making. The conflagration of 50 different music tastes will render some interesting playlists and frat anthems. By the end of your four years, it’s almost a given that you’ll still be jamming to your old stuff, but that old stuff will be nicely complemented by the collective influence of people not shutting the fuck up about how sick their music tastes are.
Free Pad Thai
Like a fair number people who graduate college, I moved to New York City. A little bit of this and that from a current Brother put me in contact with an older alumni, who was all like what’s good. So I was like what’s good back, and due to our mutual interest to start an initiative within the alumni base of our Fraternity, we met one day for lunch.
Since he’s all “successful” and I’m all writing words on this page, he paid for the lunch, deflecting my wallet grab with remarkable swiftness. The pad thai was that much better.
Sweatpants, hoodies, gym shorts, lax pinnies, beanies. If most people wanted to be, they could be walking advertisements of their fraternity. Of course, the effectiveness of said advertisement would likely be quite counter-intuitive, given that you’ve gotta be all kinds of toolbag to rock your frat gear with every public appearance.
There’s a certain ego boost that comes with being a member of a fraternity. For the first two years, you get to brag to wide-eyed innocents that you’re in a “frat.” (and puff out your chest in a way that indicates your contrived social worth really IS that impressive.)
But for the last two years, when girls realize that kissing your feet in hopes of attaining a sacred Natty light is ludicrous indeed, you actually get a more rewarding sort of ego boost. Namely, the younger freshman who think you’re the shit, and breathe in every single word you say as if you are The Prophet, and truly know the way. It's awesome.
(Sorta) Free Alcohol
Sure dues cost a pretty (or less attractive) penny, but it’s essentially the gift that keeps on giving. Play your cards right, and your one-time payment for alcohol (and friends) will power you through the entire semester. Particularly for those who are underage–and are therefore incapable of consuming beverages in arbitrary areas where other people consume beverages–this is a pretty foolproof system.
I half attribute landing this job to the existence of my fraternity list-serv, a vehicle which properly honed my skills in formulating lists about things that don’t ultimately matter, but seemingly matter a lot in the short-run. The other half was me writing an email to former editor AG, in which I claimed I had “Writing, Editing, and 1990's NBA Jersey-Wearing Experience.”
Similar to the Masters, Fraternity traditions are unlike any other. However, they are also hella dangerous.
I’ve always felt that the heightened intensity is a crucial component of strengthening the magnitude of the experience (and the resulting bonds), but of course, there are lines. Lines that can easily be crossed when caught up in the moment of #dudesbeingdudes, all trying to outdo each other with snowballingly heightened machismo.
For the people in charge of these sorts of things, such events are often slightly nightmarish. However, they require you to perform under pressure, and put your best shit forward. Failure not being an option in the truest sense. People's well beings are at stake, and it is your job to protect everyone from everything, including themselves. For this, you emerge SUCH a better person– and become someone who knows that the differences between right and wrong aren’t always as black and white as lengthy takeout articles that shit on fraternities lead you believe.
No Longer Need to Be a Tryhard
There is a person that exists in contemporary society called a tryhard. The name is self-explanatory, but this is a person who is so infuriating, it’s impossible not to view him with a deep sense of pity.
Frats, unlike most friend groups, require you to do shit you’d never do in a traditional group of friends. Meaning that because a quality fraternity experience will mandate that everything’s now out in the open, there are no longer any insecurities for you to hide behind. Thus, even if a person does suck, his status as a fraternity man will effectively remove the tryhard label–and for better or for worse, he’ll just be representing his unfortunate self.
No, not your stories, you self-important wad of d. The stories of others, told during chapter in a manner so casual, it’s nearly impossible to believe they're being spewed by a person you’ve become relatively associated with. You’re simultaneously jealous of their ability to hook up with X girl at Y venue while doing Z activity, followed by a late night trip that cascades into an entirely new, yet related to the previous adventure through some ridiculous motif (usually involving weed.)
Of course, this is under the assumption that at some point in your college career, you’ll have your own set of moments in the sun. Pressure’s on, dawg.