Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Pledging is Expensive, and Membership is Even More Expensive.

I have said over, and over, and over, and over again that becoming a member of the Divine Nine is NOT cheap. Not cheap by NO MEANS! When I realized I wanted to become a member of my organization, I started to do my research. I had no clue how much it would cost for me to pledge. Was it $300? $500? $1000? $2000? The information wasn't available and at that time I had no CLUE that I had family members who were Greek. So I was left in the dark. Since I only worked during the summer in college,  I saved. I saved, and saved, and saved. I went as far as opening up a savings account at my mom's bank and put at least 50 percent of my  earnings into a savings account every pay day. I was on a full music scholarship at my school, and I did not want to take out any loans. Thankfully I didn't have to. As soon as you realize you want to pledge, I would suggest that you start saving. Save as much as you can.  Some of my sorority sisters took out loans to pay for the initiation fee. Some had family members who paid the fee. Some like me, worked and paid their own way.

Thankfully I saved up more than enough money. No worries there. However the buck does not stop at your initiation fee. After you become a member, you will still need money for your annual membership dues. College dues are substantially a lot LOWER than Alumni/Alumnae dues. (Thank GOODNESS FOR THAT). As a member of an undergraduate chapter, there are still other things to consider that costs money. Regional Conferences, Collegiate Retreats, National Conventions, Membership Training, etc. All of this cost....Yup, you guessed it, MONEY! More than likely you will need to travel to these conferences/conventions which also costs MONEY. Membership in these organizations can be expensive. Some of my sorors have asked, what is the benefit of going to these conferences/conventions. Well, the benefit is knowing how the organization works on a Regional/National Level. You are also allowed to get your voice heard, and there is the sisterhood/fellowship side of it. I have met so many sorors from across the globe at National Convention. My first convention was in my hometown, Chicago,  Il in 2000. I met a ton of sorors back then that I still keep in touch with. They include sorors from California, Texas, Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington D.C.  Not only did I learn a lot of Delta from the business side of things at the national level, I had a ball. From the welcome event, the step-show, Celebrity Gala, the after hour parties, etc. Let's just say that I did't get ANY sleep during this time. For one it was my FIRST national convention. PLUS, I was brand spanking new in the organization, just crossing a few months before.

   My Ship and I at our first National Convention In Chicago

When my husband and I first got married, he was stressing out on what to get me for a wedding present. He asked me if there was anything that I wanted, and without giving it a second thought, I told him that I wanted to purchase Diamond-Life membership with my sorority. It as $1500. That was a LOT OF MONEY for us back then
considering that I JUST left college with NO job, and he just started his brand new job. I told him that there was Delta allowed its members to make a payment plan, so all I would need to do was sign up. Thankfully I did. Two years later, Delta did away with lifetime memberships.  I was able to jump on the last train before it left the track.

When  I was no longer a college student, I transferred my membership and became a Membership at Large. This allowed me to still register for Conventions and Conferences, as well as still be in the "know" in terms of Delta however I did not have the benefit of fellowshipping with Sorors within a chapter. When I made my LAST Diamond-Life payment, I was ecstatic!!!!! It was HARD at first, but well worth it in the end. Since I no longer had to make payments, I used that money to pay for Regional Conferences and National Conventions. Registration fees, flights, hotels, and food all cost money. Not to mention, you might want to have a special stash of money to shop at the vendors. When I went to our Centennial Convention in Washington D.C. I spent well over $4000 for that trip. (Flights, Registration, Hotels, etc). As I stated before, It costs MONEY to be in these organizations.

The point of this post? Keep that in mind as you are going out for membership. I have witnessed too many times where people who are dying to become members of the Divine Nine, they get it, work HARD during their time in the undergrad chapter (or the first couple of years at the alumnae level), and then......NOTHING! They are no longer interested in paying dues, and/or being active. Now I get it LIFE HAPPENS! I've said this before if crossed at the undergrad level, once you graduate from college, your first priority might not be to become active in an alumni/alumnae chapter. You need to find a job, or you are continuing your education at the graduate level, and overall you are trying to settle into adulthood. In today's society people are worried about layoffs, job security, bills, family crisis, healthcare, etc., so paying dues and/or attending a Regional Conference/National Convention is just not a priority for them. Totally Understandable! What irks me is when people that no longer wants to pay their dues, and complain that their organization is too expensive, YET at the drop of a hat, they are the main person front a center at a step-show, or pari'd up from Head to toe at their school's homecoming.

To perspective members- I will say this now, MEMBERSHIP in ALL of these organizations are expensive. EXPENSIVE! I just want to ensure that you know this now before making a lifetime commitment.

To Neos: Make sure you save, save, save. I think it's beneficial that you attend a regional conference AND A National Conference/Boule so you can see the inner workings of your organization. This is also a great way to network, fellowship, and connect with sorority/fraternity members from all over the globe. Personally, I feel you are doing yourself a disservice if you do NOT attend a convention/boule.

In summary, my advice to all is to SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ring, Why don't you,,,,,,RING!!!!!!

You Attended Rush
You Submitted Your Packet
You had your Interview
And wait, And Wait, 
AND WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This part of the process is torture! Every time the phone rings, your heart skips a beat. You double to check to make sure the ringer is turned all the way up on your phone. Back when I was waiting for the phone to ring, I had to make sure the phone was not OFF the hook. My girlfriend and I (who also applied) went to Denny's to grab a bite to eat. We were BOTH nervous as all get out. We both figured, no sense of being nervous on an empty stomach. We ate, talked about being line sisters, laughed, and then rushed home to make sure we wouldn't miss our phone call. 

Look, I get it. The waiting period is brutal. A day can seem like a week. A week can seem like a month and 2 weeks can seem like a year.  My advice? Keep yourself active. If you are in undergrad then study for that test, or put your head in those books.  Go to the gym. Go out with our girlfriends/guy-friends. If you are applying for the alumni/alumnae level, keep yourself occupied with work, or your family.  Keep yourself busy, Busy, BUSY! TRUST ME, once you get that phone call that you have been "Chosen" for membership, your time as you know it will be limited. So enjoy the free time while you can. 

A constant question that I get often is how long do I have to wait. Well, it depends. How many people were at your rush? Were there a lot of prospects there? Why does this matter? Look at this way. Let's say there were 300 people at the Rush.  250 applied for membership and turned in their application. After going through all of the apps, 225 qualify for an interview. That's a lot of interviews. Once the interviews are over, the members need to narrow it down to prospective members. There are a lot of factors involved, for example does the organization have a legacy clause?  Does the College /University have a cap/limit of how many prospective members the org can accept? This all takes time. Good luck to all of you, and once you cross into Greek-Land, come back share your story with others. I have also been known to send "Neophyte" gifts to new members, so you NEVER know. :) wink!