This past Friday I was initiated into the fraternity I have been pledging for most of this past semester, Alpha Sigma Phi. As anyone might indicate, becoming a part of a fraternity is no easy undertaking and consumes a good portion of your time. This is true. Finding a balance between my various responsibilities to class, friends, and school work was quite difficult. It was worth it though to join arguably one of the best fraternities on the Hill.
Alpha Sig is a social fraternity with a purpose: To better the man through an understanding of the core concepts of silence, honor, charity, purity, and patriotism. By publicly promoting this goal, which most fraternities only share with initiated brothers and pledges, the fraternity is held accountable by both itself and the community at large. This makes the fraternity a body of men, of whom are some of the best guys to know on campus, and of which it is an honor to be a part. Not to mention they’re some of the most enjoyable people to hang with.
Brotherhoods have two major stigmas: that they change perfectly nice guys into jerks, by robbing them of their beliefs and brainwashing them with new, conformist beliefs; the other is that it is essentially a way for losers to buy friends. It’s not one and it’s not the other, it might be called a mixture of both but I feel that neither statement can be taken in their fullest senses.This is me saying that this is not an accurate representation of Greek life at McDaniel in general, and is certainly not applicable to Alpha Sigma Phi.
I was not brainwashed in the process of pledging. However my mind was opened up to many new ideas about what it means to be a citizen of my community, this country, and in many ways the world as I was encouraged to question my goals and values. This with the intent of making me a gentleman, not to take away everything that is good in me. I did not buy friends, but I did gain 27 brothers who I have come to enjoy and love through the sharing of common values. They are friends, but they are so much more that. Though the true bond we share is revealed only through the secrecy of the initiation process, the result is the same: a band of brothers all committed to improving each other as gentlemen and humans.
Though I may look back on this experience as one of the more challenging of my lifetime, it was certainly one of the most valuable and I treasure this experience as it has put me in a place where I feel confident in the forward direction my life is heading, and in my peers as good influences in my life. I highly recommend Greek life, like most things it sounds scarier than it is, and when it’s over you get to wear letters!