Saturday, November 21, 2015

When is a good time to pledge??? (Grad)

I blogged about this topic at the undergrad level a few years ago. Although I meant to blog about my thoughts on when is a good time to pledge at the graduate level, it totally slipped my mind, so here we go!

So, you tried to join the organization of your dreams, but you couldn't due to circumstances beyond your control. This can be due to the org was suspended or on probation on your campus, the National Organization was going through a moratorium, you tried several times but not selected for whatever reason, or you just never thought about pledging!

So when is a good time to start perusing the organization of your desire? NOW!  Joining an Alumni/Alumnae Chapter is MUCH different than trying to join an undergrad chapter. It is easier to get to know the members on a college campus than members from a graduate chapter. Through taking classes together, being members of other org on campus, being roommates, neighborhoods, staying in the same dormitory, etc. Trying to connect alumnae/alumni members has its challenges because the only opportunity you may have to connect with members is at events, at your job if you work together, or at church.

I have mentioned in one of my previous posts that my best friend FINALLY became a member Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc-her dream sorority. It was a challenge for her for many years. Trying to get to know the members of the chapter, making that particular connection with members, etc. After she finally made a few connections with members, attended their events, and she allowed them to get to know her it made her journey so much easier.

So when is a goo time to pledge at the alumnae/alumni level? Well, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.

1. Why do you want to become a member?
   Is it a longing that you have had for years and years but did not have the opportunity?
  Were you not financially stable to make that commitment? (It is expensive)
  Were you focused more on starting your career, and now that you have started your career you fell that you are ready?
  Is it something you never thought about before, but now for some reason you have this longing in your heart and finally make that step?

Or maybe it can be something entirely different that I didn't even mention. I always tell prospective members to figure out why they want to pledge before making that step. Evaluate and re-evaluate your reasons before taking that leap.

2. Do you realize how EXPENSIVE it is to become a member and to REMAIN a member? Membership in these organizations costs money.....a lot of money. I am not going to sugar coat it; I will just tell it like it is. The cost of membership varies from organization to organization, but at the end of the day, it cost money. Also please understand that membership does not stop AFTER you pay your initiation fee. Once you become a member, there are yearly dues that you must pay, some events that you must support financially and so on. If you feel you are not at a point to support the org of your choice, then wait. Wait until you are financially in a position to support the organization.

3. Are you still holding on to those college dreams/fantasies? Just......STOP...and DON'T!  It doesn't matter if you are 21-61-or 91, If you are seeking membership at the graduate level, then you are a COLLEGE GRADUATE! Now I am not saying that you can not go back to your alma mater to represent your organization during homecoming, but at the end of the day, you are NOT a member of that college chapter. I have seen this so SOOOO many occasions. Folks were trying to pledge XYZ org didn't get either picked, or the chapter was suspended, so they join as SOON as they graduate. Nothing wrong with that, except some of these folks, go BACK to their alma mater and try to "act as if" they are from that chapter. Now don't get me wrong, your membership is no better than the membership of those who pledged at your alma mater, HOWEVER doesn't fake the funk as if you were a part of that chapter. This may sound crazy, but BELIEVE ME, I have seen it happen!

4. You saw XYZ doing amazing things in the community, and you want to attach your name to that particular organization. Nothing wrong with that.

5. You are a legacy, you want to make your mom/grandmother, father/grandfather proud!

6. It's on your bucket list and something you want to cross off your list.

Now there may be many other reasons for why you wish to join at the grad level, but I guess the main point I want to get across is you need to make sure you understand your reasoning of why you want to join.

One you realize that you want to join, you have your finances in order, then what's next???

Making your interests known is a GREAT start. Now I don't mean that you have to walk up to a member and say; Hello, my name is________ and I want to be a ________. That is not a good idea. What I mean however is attending different events, volunteering at community service events when possible. Striking up a conversation at a few of these events if the opportunity presents itself, etc.  For years, I have been saying how important it is for them to get to know you and for you to get to know them.  Remember that this is sisterhood/brotherhood that you are joining.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

More Than Just Strolls, Calls, Hand Signs, and Colors

Today was a day I decided to reflect on the meaning of true sisterhood, and how I feel about being a member of one of the Top African-American Organization. As I rolled out of bed this morning, I geared myself up for the days events. First Delta Chapter meeting of the year, first Sigma Alpha Iota Chapter E-Board meeting of the year, and the first meeting of ASTA. When I decided to join a sorority, I had my heart set on wanting to join the ranks of an organization that was about Sisterhood, giving back to the community, and making a difference. Participating in Greek Step Shows, Going to Parties connecting with sorors from across the globe for me is just the "icing on the cake."

When I was a college freshman, watching the Greeks on the yard was an amazing site to see.  The Alpha's stepping in their Black and Gold, AKA's looking pretty and meticulous in their pink and green, the Q's stepping harder than ANYONE with dog tags around their necks, and hopping carrying on to the infamous "Atomic Dog", and so on...... Although, to some, this is their first introduction to Greek Life, that was not the case for me.

The reason for this post is to state that being a member of a BGLO is more than just strolls/struts, calls, hand-signs, and colors. Most of these "traditions" are considered unofficial and did not come into existence until decades AFTER the organizations were founded. What prompts this post was after when I found myself speaking to a group of young collegiate who were stating their reasons why they wanted to join the various Greek organization. I have heard everything from, "they are the best steppers on campus, they get big "play" (I didn't even know they still use this word) at parties. They go on to say other Greek Orgs on campus will notice them.  They want to be a part of the pretty girls; they seem so cool and down to earth, etc. Never once did I hear, I want to join because they have the highest GPA on campus, they won student organization of the year, they love the community service projects that they are currently involved in, etc. I find this terribly funny because it never fails, when it comes down to the interview process, their answers change.

If you are joining at the collegiate level, I get it! Trust Me! Getting admired on campus by your peers, standing out in a crowd because of those letters.  But being a member of a Black Greek Letter Org is more than just the college experience. What is life like after you graduate? For the first few years, you may find yourself going back to your school to connect with people that are still there. Your prophytes that pledged you, or your neos that you pledged. You want to keep it cute at your school's step shows, homecoming, reunions, etc.  Hey, I get it! I have been there. Or you might find yourself NOT going back for several years because you are trying to secure a job, career, and start your adult life. Student loans are knocking HARD at your door six months after you graduated, so you trying to make sure you, you have a job to make that first of many payments. Some members of BGLOs continue to serve in their organizations, and some take a break for financial reasons. (As I have stated before, being a financial member in a BGLO can be pricey, no need to sugar coat it)!

Now can you have fun afterward?  Absolutely!