Sunday, December 19, 2010

GPA....Is it really that important???

In a nutshell....YES! I felt the need to address this subject because I have received tons of emails from prospective members who are interested in joining XYZ org but do not have the grades. I have heard everything from, having a low GPA due to family problems, death in the family, having to drop out of school to support their siblings and/or parents, or they partied hard freshman year, etc.... Look, I understand, we have all have or have had our problems in life. However, if the gpa is a 2.5, 2.75, or a 3.0, then THAT is what you need to have to be considered for membership. It doesn't matter if you have thousands of hours of community service (which is awesome by the way) have leadership roles, or have "seen the errors of your ways."

So, in order for you to qualify for membership for any organization, you MUST have the minimal gpa. For my organization you have to have a 2.75, not a 2.5, 2.60, 2.749999 but a TWO POINT SEVEN FIVE!!!!! The only reason why I had to put that in caps because you won't believe how many people have asked me if we would make any exceptions to this rule. And although they came up with some compelling reasons such as....

1. I didn't realize the grade requirement till after I decided I wanted to join.
2. I did horrible my freshman year and I can't boost my gpa up to recover from it.
3. I graduated over 6 years ago, and I don't feel its fair that I am still being punished.
4. They feel we are missing out on a good member b/c they are not allowed to join due to the gpa requirement.

and so on......

Here are a few tips on how you can boost your gpa:

If you have a lot of C's or a couple of Ds or Fs then RETAKE those classes. Most colleges and universities give their students the option of GRO other wise known as Grade Replacement Option. The way this works if you retake a class, and if you get a higher grade, then they will recalculate your gpa with the higher grade. Both grades will appear on your transcript, but only the higher grade's gpa will be calculated on your transcript.

If you have graduated from college with a less than stellar gpa and are either attending or have attended grad school, then your undergraduate GPA is not applicable.

So my advice to you,,,, Concentrate on your classes if you do not have a stellar GPA. That can include retaking classes or you have the option to use your Grad-School GPA if that's applicable.

My BEST advice?? I think joining an organization should be far from your mind if your gpa is really low. Remember, the main reason why you are in school is to get an education....

Ciao for now!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I tried to join ABC, but now I want to join XYZ.....

I have received many emails surrounding this topic, so I felt the need to address it! My older cousin decided to follow the trend and become a zeta when she went to college. All of our cousins were Zetas and Sigmas, so I can understand why she decided to become a member.

She submitted her information, was accepted and started the process. Deep in her heart however, she always wanted to become an AKA. Then the day finally came. The hard work she put in was finally coming to an end. She and her line sisters were about to cross and become a lifetime member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. She told me when it was time for her to take that oath she refused. She couldn't imagine joining an organization that was not truly in her heart. So that night she made the decision NOT to become a Zeta. Fast forward 25 years later......She fulfilled her dream and became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. The ladies who would have been her zeta line sisters were there when she had her coming out show, and they gave her a lot of gifts. She told me they were very disappointed that she dropped line especially since she went through the ENTIRE process, but they also knew that even during the process her heart wasn't in it. Her mom was a Zeta, and her Dad was a Sigma, so of course they were disappointed when they found out she dropped line.

The reason why I am sharing this story to you is for two reason. #1 If you have a family member of XYZ org, please do NOT feel obligated to join that particular organization. Although I would be thrilled if my daughter followed in my footsteps and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority Inc, I would NOT want her to join if her heart was not in it. I want her to choose the organization that is truly in her heart.

Okay, so you see the ABC org on campus, your friends are a member of this organization and they convince you to join the org with them. You attend their events, and the Rush. Now the time has come for you to submit your info/packet. As you prepare your packet, there is something tugging inside of you saying "this isn't right." You thought you wanted this but not as bad as you want something else. Now you feel stuck. You feel as if you invested your time getting to know the members of the organization, but you realize if and once you are accepted there is no turning back. You will be a member of this organization for LIFE! And lets just be honest, if you join an org and your heart is not in it, Chances are once you graduate, your membership card, crossing jacket/shirt, and any other paraphernalia will collect dust.

So how do you rectify the situation? Well for starters, You can start by NOT submitting your information. I would then start by attending the events of the organization of your choice. If you have a close relationship with one of the members, then it's okay to pull them aside, and tell them what your aspirations are. Be honest and let them know that at one point you were thinking about joining one organization, but you came to realization that their organization is the best one for you. In some cases you might be accepted by the new organization, and in some cases you might not be, but guess what? There is always Alumnae Chapter right? If your true heart is with this NEW organization then it shouldn't matter if you pledge Undergrad or Grad right???

Good luck you!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Meet the Greeks!

As promised, I will discuss one of how "Meet the Greeks" works.

Meet the Greeks is an event that most schools host at the beginning of each school. Find out if you school has an event such as this, and if so PLEASE attend!

This event starts out with everyone meeting in one large room. The Executive Board of NPHC (National Pan-Hellenic Council) will introduce themselves, as in some cases a representative from each Greek Chapter. They will then explain how the process works. The girls are split up in four groups, and the Men are split of in five groups. (Of course this is if the chapter has all NINE active NPHC chapters on campus. So for example if there are only three sororities on campus, then they will split you up in three groups oppose to four, and so on). Each group MUST attend ALL the rooms of sororities (women), or fraternities (men). This is for you to get to know all the sororities/fraternities on campus. This is also a clever way for you to be discrete on which org. You want to join.

Once you enter the room, the members will then introduce themselves, and give you a brief history about the organization on a national and chapter level. They will discuss the various programs they host on campus, the requirements for membership, play games, etc. In the end, there is a Q and A for all attendees.

Some prospective members are new to the Greek Life in general. For those people, I would highly recommend that you ask many questions to ALL Greek Orgs. Choosing a sorority/fraternity is a lifetime commitment, so you want to make sure you are confident when choosing the org of your choice.

After the Q and A are over, The group will then move to the next room, and the same thing will happen again.

Once All the girls have visited the Sorority Room, and the Men have met the Fraternities, and then everyone will return to the main meeting room and fellowship with everyone.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hello Followers of Black Greek Life......

Hello My Friends

I have been incognito for a while now, things have been hectic with me starting school back, getting audition dates together, preparing for my recital, etc...But I am sure you all don't want to hear about that, but instead about Greek life right?

I just attended my schools "Meet the Greeks" which is an event most schools hold at the beginning of the semester. Meet the Greeks is a clever way to introduce "Black Greek Life" to freshmen, transfers, and all new students. Attending this really made me think about my past "Meet the Greeks" events that I have attended in the past, so I will be listing a bunch of Do's and Don'ts of what you should do and NOT do when attending a Meet The Greek session later on this evening. Until then stay blessed!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Your Freshman Year in College....

The first day of school can be both exciting and pretty scary. As I explained in my first post entitled "My Journey to Greek Life" the first day can be overwhelming. Meeting your dorm-mate/suite-mate for the first time...Will you get along? Does he/she want to pledge a Greek organization? Will it be the same organization you want to pledge? Do you share your desires with them? Will you make a good first impression with them, or the future members on campus, and so on...

I would never EVER advised anyone to tell their aspirations with someone they JUST met! I will never forget my first roommate in school. She was hoping to get a bid in Delta Zeta (she was Caucasian) but was also hoping to get a bid from Alpha Gamma Delta. She was SO excited about school, and couldn't wait to become Greek. She asked me what I wanted to join, and I told her I was weighing my options (Although I already knew DEEP IN HEART that I wanted to be a delta. So are their differences between pledging a predominantly White Org oppose to a Black Org? I would say yes. On my college campus, they all dress alike, walk in arm in arm with each other across campus, and are always together. They are also allowed to wear the Greek letters before they are initiated...I was SHOCKED when I first saw my roommate come home with all the Greek paraphernalia. At first I was like became a member already?? She explained to me that she wasn't and that this was gifts from their pledge mom while they were going through the process. Quite different from the BGLO experience, that's for sure.

I would always advise that if you don't know anything about Greek Orgs in general, to attend as many Greek events that you can. This is a great way to not only learn about the org, and its members, but to also find out more about the chapter. Most schools have a "Meet the Greeks" event that I will go more in detail in another blog. If your school has this, I would highly recommend that you attend.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pledging/Hazing vs. MIP...Is there a difference???

Before the 1990's Pledging was synonymous with hazing.... This was not a secret and back then everyone knew who was "on-line." Pledging back then included dressing up alike, being with your line sister/brother at all times, and making sure you are are available to serve your Big Brothers and Big Sisters at all times. Spike Lee gave us a taste of pledging when he created "School Daze"... This movie showed how pledging "use to be" back in day before NPHC voted to change the pledge process.

People who pledged before the 90's went through a rigorous process in the open for all to see. The positive side of the pledging process back then included performing different community service with your line sisters, coming up with programs for the organization, creating ideas for different scholarships, etc. This process entailed learning national information such as founders, Greek alphabet, the oath, etc. Outside of the basic information the pledges were also expected to learn information about their chapter and it's members as well. This included learning everything about your line sister/brother as if they were your biological sibling ( This can include Date of Birth, their major in college, clothing Size, Where they live, where they were born, etc) Each chapter also required its prospective members to learn their own "special process" including songs, poems, dances. You were told never to travel alone and you always had to travel with at least some of your line sisters/brothers. If you were ever caught alone, you ran into the chance of getting kidnapped by another organization. They would then call your Big Sister and/or Brother and ask for something in return for their pledgee. (Pizza, money, etc..) The pledges were expected to greet not only their Big Sisters/Big Brothers, but ALL of the other Greeks on the yard each time they saw them.

The dark side of pledging/hazing include breaking pledgees down physically and mentally. The entire process of pledging back then was to break you down only to build you up right before you crossed those "burning sands." The pledges have what is known as "session, or set" all wee hours of the night, making up greetings for their Big Sisters/Brothers, and making sure they were all on "one accord with each other". Back then when you were pledging there was no such thing of "I", but "we." In some cases you were required to live together with your line sisters/brothers. The pledge process was an entire year, and in the 90s' was cut down to an entire semester.

Alpha pledges

Delta pledges carrying ducks

Omega pledges eating together

All of this sounds harmless I know, but somewhere down the line pledging/hazing became a serious issue. People started getting seriously hurt and in some cases killed. The National Organizations had to shed out thousands of dollars for lawsuits and it was giving pledging BGLOs a bad rep. Because of this, NPHC decided to ban the word "pledge" and deemed hazing as being illegal. Pledging turned into MIP which means Membership Intake Process.

Did this help??? No unfortunately this only brought the pledging process from above ground to underground. Pledging "underground" is going through the EXACT same process, but in secret. This is where the term "earning your letters" came from. Even though hazing was illegal, if you were in the Greek world, chances are you still knew who was "online, and getting hazed." On many college campuses, the Black Greek Letter Organizations (BGLO) is very small, and they all stick together by being silent about knowing who was online for what. There is/was also the respect factor. By that I mean, each BGLO wanted to gain the respected by other Greek Organizations, and the only time you could earn respect is by submitting yourself to get "made, haze, pledged, etc."

When hazing became illegal, only a few (very few) undergraduate chapters followed the guidelines, but most did not! Some of the members felt it wasn't right for a prospective member to go through a few weeks of "training" pay their money, and sign their name on the dotted line. This caused a lot of friction between members, especially those whose were "made" vs. those who were "not made." I have seen this first hand...I will never forget attending a coming out show, where half girls who crossed submitted themselves to hazing and the other half did not. Their Big Sisters decided to expose them by giving them bogus line names like Paper W8 (Paper weight), Shakespeare (Who is known a famous writer,,,,hence this person was a write-in), and Nvr Dare (Never There). This type of behavior sends out the WRONG message to the rest of the campus, and I felt it was absolutely unacceptable. It tells prospective members that if they want to join this particular organization, they will have to submit themselves to hazing in order to get respect from the campus. Not only did this cause a problem within the organization, but they were treated badly from other Greeks on campus, as well as nongreeks. Some Greeks feel that it's harmless by requiring the prospective members to "dress alike, require them to spend time together, learn chapter information, greetings, songs, etc, and not doing so deprives these pros. members from bonding with each other.

Don't give into the pressure of allowing yourself to get hazed. What's important is that you are now a member of a prestigious Black Greek Letter Organization. I had a heated conversation with an old friend who was livid that her undergrad chapter recently decided to abide by the rules and do away with their "special process." The reasoning behind it was the alumnae chapter was on their tails and they almost got "caught up" too many times before. Although she has been far removed from her chapter (she graduated 8 years ago) I had to explain to her that it's not worth continuing to pledge these girls if it was going to put the chapter and prospective members at risk. Getting "MADE" plays a serious part in my BLGO system. I have seen sorors/ other greeks quickly dismissed when they mention that they joined an alumnae chapter, (There is this notion that if you joined a BGLO through an alum chapter then you are paper, or skated your way in the organization). I have even heard of alumnae members go BACK to their undergrad chapter and ask to be made, so they get the "undergraduate experience." It's a shame, but unfortunately, Hazing/Pledging is celebrated in our community. There are facebook pages that exist such as "Paper Burns, but Sands Last forever," Pledge Park, and many others. These facebook pages are for BLGO members who became members by getting "made".

Pledging these days is VERY risky. If you simply do a google search for hazing, I am sure you will find tons and tons of articles surrounding hazing and BGLOs. It happens in ALL organizations. Personally, my views behind hazing is, if you are willing to ALLOW yourself to get hazed, then make sure you are well aware of the consequences that may follow. This includes getting caught and possibly BARRED from membership. While I can understand that everyone longs to have the special "bonding experience" with their line sisters/brothers, it's not worth risking or losing your life over it. An example that comes to mind for me is the two pledges that lost their lives trying to pledge Alpha Kappa Alpha in 2002. (Kenitha Saafir and Kristin High), Donnie Wade II died while trying to join Phi Beta Sigma in 2009, Joseph T. Green, 25 died while trying to join Omega Psi Phi in 2001, and the list goes on....

So with ALL of that being said, Pledging/Hazing vs. MIP....Is there a difference??? YES! Joining a BGLO has it's challenges and have changed and continues to change. (shoot even I can attest to it changing since I've joined). When you go through MIP, you are not risking your letters, your chapter, and more importantly your LIFE! You can still bond with your line sisters without having someone "making you spend time with them." A very close friend of mine who just went through MIP told me that it was rewarding, she learned a lot about her line sisters, and she enjoyed her experience. They decided as a line to get together and spend time with one another without being forced by their big sisters. Case in point, don't get caught up through the whole "made vs, not made, skate, paper, process. If that is your main objective in joining a BGLO then perhaps, you need to rethink joining altogether.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chapter Suspension/Probation

So you are interested in joining XYZ org, and you just found out that they are either suspended /or on probation. So what's a girl/guy to do? Nothing! I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if the organization that you want to join is suspended and or on probation then there is absolutely nothing you can do. In some cases there are fines that need to be paid, and more than likely you will have to wait until the time has passed. Most BGLOs have now posted information regarding chapters that are either on suspension or on probation. I would suggest that you visit their national website to see if your chapter is listed.

In the meantime, continue your community service, focus on your academics, getting involved on your college campus. You can also join the organization of your choice at the Alumnae Level. There is also a chance that the chapter might come back on campus before you graduate.

If the chapter's suspension is up, and the fines have been paid and they are still not on campus, then your next step is to contact the nearest alumnae chapter in the area. Chances are, they will have a say on if they want the chapter to return. Sending a friendly email, or a phone call stating your interest is the first steps.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

"The Interview"

I received quite a few questions around "the interview process." If you receive an interview to join an organization, chances are your packet was complete, and congrats are in order because you made it to the next step! People that do NOT receive an interview typically have an incomplete packet and are not granted an interview.

Once you have completed your interview, the waiting begins....Depending on the chapter, the wait can be very VERY long! This can be due to how many people the chapter needs to interview, the voting process, and verifying other qualifications (such as letter of recommendations from community service, and LOR from an active member (for example for Delta you have to you are required to provide a letter of rec from a financial member).

I have seen cases where the interview process ALONE can take up to TWO weeks, and after each interview is completed, the verification process begins. So if you have interviewed for a fraternity and/or sorority and haven't heard anything, don't freak out! Chances are they are still going through the motions of verifying info, still interviewing prospective members, get approval from the regional director, etc...

After the interview, I would recommend that you keep yourself busy oppose to stressing out about getting chosen. You will end up pulling your hair out if you don't.

Most chapters will inform you in a form of a letter if you you were not chosen for membership.

Fraternity Sweethearts....Will this help my chances of getting picked???

Alpha Angels/Sweethearts, Sigma Doves, Que Essence/Pearls, Kappa Diamonds/Sweethearts,... etc.... Depending on your college, many fraternities have what are known as "sweetheart" organizations. Prior to a few years ago, these organizations were maintained by the fraternity. Now they have all became "incorporated" and have distant themselves from fraternities all together. Back when I was in school, many girls thought that if they wanted to be Deltas, then they had a better chance by pledging/joining "Que Essence/Pearls. Let me stress that joining these auxiliary groups will NOT put you a step closer in becoming a member of the sorority of your choice. On the contrary in SOME cases it may hurt you. There are some cases where girls just want to join these sweetheart groups simply because of the love they have for a particular fraternity. For the most part however, I have seen so many cases where women feel that they NEED to join these auxiliary groups in order to become a member of its "sister" (and I use this term loosely since the only TRUE brother and sister Greek Organization is Phi Beta Sigma and Zeta Phi Beta)

How do I feel about these orgs? Well considering my stance of being an Alpha Sweetheart, I think joining them can be a great thing as long as you are doing it for the RIGHT reasons! For some like myself it means helping the fraternity out by volunteering your services (helping run programs, community service, helping out with voter registrations drives, etc..) But as I stated before it REALLY depends on your college campus. I have seen it where the Sigma Doves and the Zetas HATED each other. When the Sigma Carnations (sweethearts) crossed over, the Sigma gave them jackets, with line names, numbers and they hung out with the Sigmas all the time. Even at Greek parties the Sigma sweethearts would stroll with the Sigmas. This would cause so much confusion because people would sometimes confuse the sweethearts for Zetas. As you can imagine the Zetas were not happy about this at all.

So here is some advice, before joining a sweetheart organization, do some research. If you find you really want to be a member of Zeta Phi Beta, and they despise the Sigma Sweethearts, then maybe it's not a good idea to join the sweetheart organization. Petty I know, but remember we ARE women and women CAN BE petty! I recall at one particular school where there was a huge conflict between the Deltas and the Que Sweethearts!

Sweethearts can also include MEN auxiliary groups as well. There are MIAKAs, Delta Gents, Rhomeos, etc....Joining these groups will NOT guarantee you a spot in the fraternity of your choice as well.

Remember, although joining an auxiliary group can be fun and exciting for college, it's not worth sacrificing your desire in joining a Sorority or Fraternity if there is a conflict with the sorority of your choice.

You've Been Accepted!!!!

It's that time of year again, and I felt the need to post a blog and CONGRATULATE those who have received an invitation to join the organization of their choice. If this is you and you have been following my blog, I would love to hear from you. So with that being said.....

CONGRATS! Your dreams have finally come true! You can't believe it, you were FINALLY accepted and within the next few days you will become an MIT (Member in Training,, back in the day we use to call this a "pledge") You are overcome with emotion and you can't believe that in a few weeks, or months (depending on your organization and/or process) you will be a member of the organization you dreamed about.

As much as you would like to shout it to the world, call your family, friends, boo, roommate, etc...I would advise against it. Instead take this time to prepare yourself for what you are about to face ahead. If you are a student, your life is about to change because your study habits are going to increase drastically. Although I can't speak for all organizations, I can tell you that the Tests that you have to take AND pass for Delta is NO JOKE! I swear I felt as if I was taking the ACTs/SATs all over again. If you are joining an alumnae chapter, time management will be your best friend. Although I didn't pledge (or join) Delta through an alum chapter, I can only imagine trying to balance a family, work, and school (if you attend school part-time) household, et.c....... But many before you have done it SUCCESSFULLY, so I am sure you will have no problems fitting it all in your schedule.

Once again congratulations, and I hope you treasure and value your process. I know I did and wouldn't change one thing about it! Learning all that valuable information about my organization, my beloved founders, and my chapter was an experience that I will never forget.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Do I have to learn how to step????

I have received quite a few emails from aspirants asking if they have to already know how to step or learn how to step in order to join a Black Greek Letter Organization, so I decided to write a blog about stepping.

Stepping is one of the perks of joining most undergrad chapters and a few graduate chapters have step teams. So first you may ask "What is Stepping?"

"Stepping is a form of percussive dance in which the participant's entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps. Though stepping may be performed by an individual, it is generally performed by groups of three or more, often in arrangements that resemble military formations. The tradition of African American stepping is rooted within the competitive schoolyard song and dance rituals practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities, beginning in the mid-1900."

Stepping is fun, exciting, hard work and a great way to advertise your organization.
At my college, we would always host a "yard step show" at the beginning of the school year to show off our "stuff" to the incoming freshmen and transfer students. I have been involved in tons of Stepshows both as a member AND as a step-master and a judge. I enjoy stepping because its another way to create close bond with your sorority sisters and/or fraternity brothers. Practices can be long and tiring but the end result is worth it. (Especially if you have a few pounds to lose, because believe you me, you will lose weight practicing steps).

Stepping is an extra-curricular activity and is NOT a requirement for membership.