Fraternal Lessons

The misunderstood side of Greek Life and why you should hire me for a job

I am in a fraternity.

That sentence immediately evokes images and stereotypes to most people. What exactly are YOU thinking about? Togas? Parties? Maybe you are

National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)

thinking about philanthropy or service instead. If it’s the latter, you are probably one of us. The media has not always been so kind to Greek Life.

“Bad behavior draws attention. The many good deeds do not.” — Charles Eberly, Eastern Illinois University

To be quite honest I had no idea what being in a fraternity meant when I came to college. Going off to college is overwhelming for everyone involved — parents and students both (heck, maybe even faculty!). I was constantly told to “be smart” and “make good decisions.” I was warned about the dangers of drinking and the dangers of associating yourself with Greek Life. There was no way I was EVER going to join a fraternity.

Yet here I am. I have successfully completed four and a half years of college (my degree requires six years) and four years of that time have been spent as a Brother of Kappa Kappa Psi. In that time I have come to know Brothers across the Nation, and no matter if I am in Massachusetts or Indiana there is always someone willing to help me without me asking.

I obtain decent grades in school, but I won’t have the highest GPA in my pharmacy class. I may not have all the answers to the preceptors questions, “but what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career” (Taken 2008). Through my fraternal experiences I learned three skills that will aid me in my career: 1) I learned how to manage people, 2) I learned how to be a follower, and 3) I learned how to take an idea and transform it into a reality.

Managing people and learning to follow. My perceptions of what it means to be a leader have changed drastically since I entered college. I used to believe being a leader meant you were in charge and you had the power to make decisions. I didn’t realize that those that were in charge had earned the respect of their colleagues who simply supported the decisions they made. The only person you can truly lead is yourself. It’s the followers that truly make a leader.

Transforming ideas to reality. Have you ever stayed up late talking to someone about a crazy idea? Where did you go with it from there? These

sparks of madness are what can transform businesses. Our Chapter had recently commissioned a $500 piece for Wind Ensemble from a former director of ours, but we wanted to reach higher. We wanted to commission an $11,000 piece in two years. Now, I should mention our yearly operating budget, minus membership dues, was only about $1,500-$2,000 per year. So how were Idyll and Whirlwind financed? Collaboration. We simply asked for help, and because we are a fraternity we received more than enough — so much that we were able to bring the composer to work with our Wind Ensemble at the world premier of these two pieces.

So if you happen to be a future employer that has used Google to find my name, hire me. Hire me because I will take the lessons learned both in the classroom and outside and use them to make our job better. Hire me because I know how to work with people who are united towards a common goal. Hire me because I can transform ideas and dreams into tangible realities that will positively impact our community.

Hire me because I am in a fraternity.

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**Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this post are not approved nor endorsed by Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Fraternity for College Bandmembers.

Kappa Kappa Psi operates primarily as a student service and leadership recognition society whose chief aim is to assist the Director of Bands in developing the leadership and enthusiasm that is required of his/her band. Our goals are to provide the band not only with organized and concentrated service activities, but to give our membership valid and wholesome experiences in organization, leadership and social contacts. The honorary nature of membership is based on our premise that “it is an honor to be selected to serve” this band, its department of music, its sponsoring institution, and the cause of band music in the nation’s colleges and universities.

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