Don’t give in now, pledges.
For most of you, the semester-long pledge process will come to a close within the next few weeks. The finish line at the end of the race is in sight. You’ve rounded third, and you’re in the home stretch. But it’s not going to be a trot across home plate with your finger to the sky — it’s going to be an army crawl through cow pies with Brother Talbert’s duck butter-laced finger to your nose, and you better tell him it smells nice when he asks. Welcome to Hell Week, bitch.
For all intents and purposes, you will not be referring to the twilight days of your pledgeship as Hell Week. It’s Initiation Week (“Hell” would imply you’re not savoring every morsel of haze being smacked across your ass). But to anyone other than a member of the fraternity, this week is the same as any other. You’re falling asleep in class because you put off studying for three exams, you’re wearing a dirty blazer all week because you’re a member of the “Rowdy Gentleman’s Football Club,” and you wince every time you sit down because Chipotle.
Most importantly, you’re staying at the fraternity house in between classes and each night solely because you wish to spend time with the brothers, playing Yahtzee and telling spooky stories and planning out all the fun charities you’ll get to host once initiated.
But really, you’re fucked. You’re soooooo fucking fucked.
Hell Week is the culmination of a semester’s worth of education. Everything you’ve done up to this point was merely prep work. Now it’s time to see what you’ve learned about your fraternity, your brothers, and yourself. Now it’s time to see what you’re truly made of.
I can’t tell you exactly what will go down this week behind the closed doors of a designated chapter house (brothers, I recommend choosing a spot somewhere off campus -– rituals in the mansion are how my fraternity got boned), but I can give you an idea of what to expect.
On the first day of Initiation Week, you will receive a text from the pledge educator instructing you to come to the house in semi-formal attire with a doubly-stocked pledge pack, a sleeping bag, and a backpack containing your laptop and any textbooks you may need for the week. Upon arrival, all phones, dorm and car keys, wallets, and egos will be confiscated and placed in a zip-lock bag. You will not see any of these items until the end. Your pledge class will then be herded into a room far too small for the number of people about to call it home for the next seven days.
When you aren’t at class, enduring a lineup, cleaning the house, or grabbing a meal with your pledge class and educator at the dining hall, you will be in this room.
But not to worry, there will be all sorts of fun activities scheduled to occupy your time at Camp Fuck You.
Lineups dialed-up in intensity. Bizarre rituals. Cleanup sessions following the brother’s unloading of the house dumpster in the hallway. Drinking nasty shit. Oh, and a scavenger hunt, which is actually a blast (more on that another time).
I can also say that many of you will think about quitting.
Picture this: It’s day four. You haven’t slept more than forty-five minutes in the past hundred hours. Your muscles are sore. You can smell your balls through your jeans. Every fiber of your being is demanding an answer to the question, “Is it really worth it?”
Just remember this: It is. Remember that there’s a reason the brothers saved the hardest stuff for the end – they know you can handle it. And you can. You’ve come this far, haven’t you?
But don’t do it for the brothers. Don’t do it for yourself, either. Do it for the guy next to you in line. You may not realize it at the time, but you’re sharing the entire experience with him, and the other men beside you. It’s the best time you’ll never want to have again. Believe it or not, you’ll look back on this week with pride. Hell, it sounds insane, but you’ll look back on this week and smile.
Think of it like two-a-days in football, or sitting through dinner with an incredibly hot and incredibly boring girl. When you finally slide on a helmet under the Friday night lights, or finally slide your helmet into Becca’s perfect, gyrating body, the moment is that much sweeter because you endured weeks of brain-numbing tackling drills or what seemed like weeks of brain-numbing conversation to get to that moment.
So savor every droplet of shit that rains upon you after it hits the fan this week, boys. When Brother Talbert extends a finger to your face, retracts it, and hands you a cold one instead, you’ll know it’s all worth it.
With that being said, you still have to pick him up from that Zeta’s house later tonight. On the double, NIB..