I am a member of The Sigma Chi Fraternity. I have been out of college for 3 years going on 4 and I still say “I am” a member of my fraternity.
Too often we hear about joining Greek Lettered organizations and the so called “benefits” of networking and career advancement that comes along with membership.
As an individual who pledged myself to a fraternal organization I can say that is true, but with a caveat.
The member has to put in the effort to take advantage of the network available to him.
Do you know the old saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink?”
That 100% applies to your undergraduate career.
I have encountered numerous brothers who have the resources at their fingertips but forget the crucial step of TRYING.
Call it entitlement, call it laziness, call it sheer stupidity or ignorance, but unless you put in the effort, the rewards and benefits are not going to be given to you.
During my 2.5 years as an undergraduate member of my local fraternity chapter, it was up to me to make the most of my membership and expand upon it.
I knew that I would be held to a higher standard academically and as a member of the college community.
I pushed myself to do better in my classes and I also pushed myself into taking on responsibilities I probably would have laughed at had I not joined a fraternity.
Student Government, Homecoming, Greek Council, Pre-Law Society, Hillel, and the list goes on and on of the places I spent my time volunteering, taking leadership positions not only to gain valuable life skills, but to network with those who shared similar goals, values and ambitions with me.
There were plenty of positions and opportunities I did not get because there were more qualified candidates and that was okay as well. It taught me to work harder and it also showed me to be an example to the other guys in my chapter.
The opportunities at my feet were presented to me because of my work ethic.
When I spoke to new potential members as they came through recruitment every semester, I proudly talked about the benefits of joining and the career advancement and network of brothers across this nation who would be willing to help them, as long as they helped themselves.
I know in my fraternity alone, there are bountiful opportunities for networking and job placements on the numerous Facebook career pages that have been set up by older alumni looking to hire from within, the within being the fraternal order we all took an oath for, that bonds us together for life.
The brothers both old and young who are looking for new careers, entry level jobs in fields they are trying to break into, it is all their at their fingertips.
I cringe every time I hear someone say that their Greek Lettered organization didn’t do anything for them in terms of their career because it means they did not try hard enough.
I recently was featured on the television show “Tomi” and when I was done and the clip became available to me to share, one of my fraternity brothers, not from my own chapter, but one who had been almost a mentor to me, asked if he could share my video with the larger brotherhood in the international page.
I was so blessed by the responses, both good and bad because I knew that would open up even more doors for me to further my job and career prospects.
The Greek Lettered organizations that are on college campuses across the country are regularly under fire for a small sample of people behaving poorly, and those members who are making positive strides on campus often get overshadowed.
Members of fraternities and sororities are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, they are Presidents of the United States of America, they are doctors and lawyers, activists and hometown heroes.
The only thing that separates them from their peers is that they took advantage of their connections and the networking skills that were afforded to them and made something of themselves.
I am so grateful that I decided to join a fraternity because it taught me to work for what I wanted and that hard work brings great reward contrary to popular belief.
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Cover Photo Credit: Evan Guest/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)