I believe in sharing my deepest fears and desires with a group of true friends, a band of brothers that no amount of money can buy.
This fall, I decided to pledge a fraternity with a group of thirty-five other college freshmen making their first unsteady steps into adult life. Armed with only a vague concept of what I was getting myself into, I finally chose the fraternity that I felt most welcomed in. Even though I was aware of the negative stereotypes surrounding fraternities, I went with my gut and began pledging at the beginning of September. Little did I know that the following three months would be the most challenging, yet rewarding time of my life.
Since that fateful day we signed bids, my thirty-five pledge brothers and I have endured the rigorous tests of pledging, pushed to the limit physically, mentally, and emotionally by the pledging process. Yet, we continue to grow and thrive as a unit, awaiting hopefully the day we are initiated together, even though, to the outside observer, participating in these strenuous activities appears to be an unnecessary waste of time. My closest companions who chose not to pledge a fraternity, among them my older brother and some of my best friends from high school, constantly give me grief about the subject, wondering why I voluntarily put myself through such a difficult process when I already had many friends that would never ask such tasks of me.
The truth is that I continue to pledge because of the thirty-five new bonds I have formed within the past three months, some of which have already become tighter than ones I’ve shared with childhood friends. In any fraternity, the basis of the pledge program is to transform the pledge class from a group of strangers we were at the beginning of pledging into the dedicated pledge brothers we are today. The concept sounds cheesy, but the process is not; pledging puts our pledge class against older brothers, forcing us to take accountability for each other and sacrifice ourselves to help each other whenever possible. Essentially, the path thus far has been grueling and brutal, but more effective than I ever could have imagined before pledging began.
On my way home from break, I plan on spending the night at one of my pledge brothers houses in his home town. I look forward to celebrating the holidays with pledge brothers from my own city who I never would have had the chance to know were it not for pledging. These examples are only two of the many opportunities pledging has granted me, and the full extent of the friendships I have made are impossible to describe on paper. My family and friends can stereotype fraternities all they want, I will continue to enjoy the spectacular, priceless reward that pledging has given me: true brotherhood.
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