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The Worst Pledge Class Ever

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There’s something to be said for ensuring that your pledges know that they are, in fact, the worst pledge class your fraternity has ever seen. It’s an essential part of the process that is a constant reminder to these kids that they are not yet worthy of joining your ranks, or even close. Ironically enough, it begins as a mind game used to enact your dominance over them. However, over the course of the semester, you start to become so enraged by the mediocrity of your pledges, you convince yourself that this pledge class is actually the worst you’ve ever seen. Through your newfound rage-filled sincerity, you will, in turn, convince them. This results in them questioning their every move, scared shitless at the thought of being dropped at any moment.

Every semester you swear that the next crop of recruits cannot possibly be as bad as the last group that just came through. Yet, in the middle of the semester, when you stumble out of bed after a long night of $2 U-Call Its and the flags aren’t up and your house is a mess, you become filled with an all too familiar disdain for your current group of pledges, reaffirming the foregone conclusion that, indeed, these pledges are worse than the last. It’s that constant expectation that they will inevitably fuck up throughout the process that leads to the frustration when they end up fucking up right on schedule. Almost as if they want to feel your wrath, feeding off of it just to push through the dog days of pledgeship.

You will most likely be confronted by one pledge who is constantly on edge and irrationally sensitive, asking you, “Are we really the worst pledge class you’ve ever seen?” Your response should be “I usually say this every semester as a joke, but you guys have really pissed me off with your effort so far, and it really takes a lot to piss me off. So believe me when I say that you are the worst pledge class I have ever seen, and that’s on behalf of everyone.” Sending him back to his peers with a newfound sense of insecurity is more profound than any cleaning session or work party that you will organize. It isn’t about demeaning them for the sake of making them feel bad. Rather, it’s about knowing that you were once in the same situation, and reminding them that they are the worst is simply your way of showing that you care. They may not fully understand now, but it will become visibly clear to them once the dust settles and they are telling a different group of pledges the exact same thing somewhere down the line.

Back at pledge HQ, the pledges should be in a frenzy, having just been reaffirmed that they are the worst class the chapter has ever seen. Panic begins to set in — you have succeeded. The original pledge reports back, “Hey man, they just said we’re the worst class ever so we really need to start pulling our weight. I’m worried something bad might happen.” Another pledge barks back at his comrade, “Chill out! That’s just something they tell everyone. Quit being so paranoid.” With a slight chuckle he adds, “What are they gonna do, ball us?” Standing firm in his state of anxiety, the first pledge responds, “That’s exactly what they’ll do. They really mean this and we’re all fucked!”

You can never truly know the full extent of the havoc that you have wreaked among the pledges. Past experience and memories of your own worst pledge class are your only solace. Exhausted from a long and tiring day of skipping class, you decide to head to the basement and check the progress of their pledge class project that you already know will never be completed. Unsurprisingly, it’s a wasteland of procrastination and misguided effort, only to be exacerbated by the confusion and and fear you just instilled. Fed up, you let them have it one last time. “Are you guys dumb or just fucking special? There’s random shit all over the place and it doesn’t even look like anything has been done. You all are the worst pledge class that I have ever seen. Now put up the damn flags so I can see my freedom fly.”

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