seeing the big picture

Question:

I joined the fraternity several days ago. But unfortunately, I just faced some financial problems and I don’t think I will be able to pay my dues. Is it a good time to quit and how can I do that? I have some friends in the fraternity and I don’t want my dropping out to influence our friendship. What should I do?

Answer:


First off, I commend you with attempting to be fiscally responsible.  That is an admirable quality and one that is not very common in our society.

That being said, in nearly every situation I have encountered the real problem is with wanting to pay dues.  Everyone has the ability if it is important enough to them.  What you are really telling me is that joining this fraternity isn’t worth the money that it will cost you.

There is nothing wrong with feeling that way.  If this is how you feel, quit immediately.  Go talk to the new member educator or the chapter president and quit.  Don’t waste any more of your time or the fraternity’s time.  It isn’t fair to anyone if you continue to drag this out when your heart isn’t in it.

Realize that the friendships you have with guys in the fraternity will change.  You will no longer be as involved in their lives as you are no longer involved in a lot of the things they do with the fraternity.  Life will move on without you, and your life will move on as well.  Right or wrong, some of the brothers may harbor some animosity towards you.  They will feel that you are quitting on their friendship because you are quitting the fraternity.   It is normal for people to naturally distance themselves in this situation.

You are missing the big picture here though.  College isn’t just about learning in a classroom, it is about seeking personal growth.  There is no better place to do that on a college campus than in a fraternity house.

You want to be surrounded by people who strive for success.  You want to be around people who value living their lives to a higher standard.  You want to be around people who are committed to giving back to their university and their community.  You want to be around people who will help you develop and achieve socially, as well as academically.

That is why you join a fraternity.  It is for the opportunity to surround yourself with these types of motivated individuals.  You will learn from them, and they will make you a better version of yourself.  You will gain experiences that will lead you to a lifetime of success.

Of course, this doesn’t apply if you join a mediocre fraternity.  Unfortunately, there are chapters out there that leave a lot to be desired.  Joining these types of groups will drag you down.  Avoid these chapters at all costs.  If you find yourself in one of these chapters, and are highly motivated to improve it, I suggest you check out my book The Fraternity Leader.  This will provide a lot of common sense ideas that can help you turn your chapter around quickly.

Again, I respect your decision to be concerned about your finances.  If you are not going to pay your fraternity dues, then by all means quit and save everyone a lot of trouble.

However, you have a golden opportunity in front of you that can shape your next four years.  And as I hope you realize, the next four years will serve as your foundation for the rest of your life.

If I were in your shoes, I’d figure out how to make the money work.  I would want to find out for myself what fraternity is all about.  You simply can’t know from just going to a few fraternity recruitment events.

To scrape together the money you should get a part time job, or get a student loan or bum some money off your folks.  Use that money to gain a valuable life experience.  If you find that in the next few months that the fraternity experience isn’t worth the financial hardship you are facing, then quit.  You will be confident you are making the right decision because you will have all the facts.

Now though, you just don’t know.  You could be passing on an incredible opportunity that will shape who you will eventually become.  By passing, you could miss out on life experiences that will be the difference between having a fulfilling college experience or not.

Sometimes the best opportunities in life don’t come at the most opportune time.  This is obviously one of those situations.  You have to seize these opportunities when they present themselves as these opportunities don’t wait forever.

Good luck making your decision.

This question was submitted by one of our readers. If you have a question you want me to answer go here to submit it: Fraternity Advice.






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