I recently finished a yearlong term as the president of my chapter, and it was the most insane, challenging, and fun experience of my life. I learned quite a lot of unexpected things while working as the glorified babysitter of a bunch of college-aged dudes, and I thought I’d share some of the “wisdom” and “knowledge” I gained along the way.
1. You’re Caught In Endless Cycles
Fraternities will typically elect an entire new group of officers each year, and members are always coming in and leaving. With this unique type of roster and officer turnover, you end up retreading the same ground a lot of the time. Take executive board meetings, for instance. A common complaint in our chapter had always been that exec board meetings took way too long. When I was elected, I worked with officers to streamline the process and dramatically shorten the length of the meetings. That was working out just fine until a few months later, when several people complained that they didn’t feel like their voices were being heard during the meetings. Thus, the meetings got longer.
Give it another few months, and things will probably be back to the way they were before. I used exec as an example, but your chapter is constantly becoming displeased with the way things are running. This will create more internal problems than almost anything, and can even result in ridiculous accusations and conspiracy theories, which leads me to the next thing I learned.
2. There Will Be Conspiracy Theories
I guarantee this happens in almost every fraternity in America, if not all of them. No matter how transparent you and your top officers are with the rest of the chapter, you’ll have one or two members that bring the conspiracy talk to an Alex Jones level.
Did your recorder/secretary post the meeting minutes half an hour later than he normally does? He must have been altering them! Did you eat more than two slices of pizza during the brotherhood retreat? You must think you’re better than the rest of the chapter! Did you and your VP have a conversation behind a closed door? You two must be plotting against the whole house!
Those are but a few examples of the ridiculous shit that your members will dream up under their tinfoil hats, but you’re fine as long as only a few of them are saying things like that. Which is good, because…
3. Your Chapter Is A Bunch Of Morons
I’m sure your chapter is full of upstanding gentleman that are giving all they have to make the house better, but the thing is… they’re idiots. Stupid, incompetent, blithering, slobbering morons who need to be reminded to do simple shit like breathe and dress themselves. You’re essentially in control of a bunch of dumb lemmings that will waddle straight off a cliff if you take your eyes off them for more than ten minutes. The bird metaphor is perfect here, because you have to chew up any and all information before feeding it into their stupid, helpless mouths.
I may be exaggerating a bit, but I spent a ridiculous amount of time the last 12 months wanting to rip my hair out or jump into a canyon. The best you can do is explain everything in a way that your chapter can understand, which you can do by talking very slowly and using colorful pictures to illustrate your points.
It’s All… Worth It?
I got out of my presidency alive, but not unscathed. I have several criminal charges on my record that I had to take on because of stupid things my members did, and absolutely nothing about my life is a secret to anyone on campus anymore. I’ve lost quite a few friends, and have seen my anxiety flare up to exciting new heights. So, should you run for the highest office of your fraternity? Hell yes. You’ll meet incredible people, form lasting business connections, and have a lot of opportunities you’d never otherwise have access to. All in all, it fucking rules..
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