fraternity new members

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.


My fraternity initiation is on Sunday and I’m not sure if I should go through with it. I love all my brothers but I’m afraid to be honest with them. They are so open with me and willing to help and I feel I might not be up to their standards. What should I do?


The feelings you are having are more common than you think.  Being initiated into a fraternity is a big deal.  It is a life-changing choice for a college student.  It would be weird if you didn’t have cold feet.  There are two things though that I want you to realize.

First, you have achieved a lot to get to this point in your new member program.  You have had ample opportunity to quit and you decided to stick it out.  I am sure there are tons of other priorities in your life, but you chose to continue the new member process because you believe in something the fraternity has to offer.   I suggest you stick it out and experience what all your efforts have been building towards.

Second, you worry that you might not be up to the fraternity’s standards.  I hate to break it to you like this, but you are 100% right.  You are probably a clueless freshman who is really only 10 weeks out of high school.  You are not up to your fraternity’s standards.

But remember that the fraternity did not offer you a bid and welcome you into their fraternity because of who you are today.  They want you to be their brother for the man you will become.

One of the most important parts about fraternity life is you will experience growing socially and intellectually with other high quality men.  Because you are in a setting where growth and achievement are important, you will become a better man.  This is all because of your commitment to your fraternity and the men in it.

Take a cue from your soon-to-be brothers and be honest with them.  Discuss your concerns openly and honestly.  You will find that there are others who have felt the same way you do.  If you fear being open and honest with your brothers this late in your new member program, I fear you might have missed one of its most important lessons.

Finally, enjoy your experience this weekend.  Being initiated is a fantastic achievement and will be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.  Listen carefully to the words of your ritual, and do you best to live by them.

You have made a good choice by joining a fraternity.  It will make your college years and after much richer and more rewarding.  Don’t second guess your good decision.

One more thing – print this article out and put it somewhere.  4 years from now pull it out and see if what I wrote was true.  I promise you it will be…


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.

3 thoughts on “New Members – You Are Not Up to Your Fraternity’s Standards

  1. Second.

    The art of what the fraternity means is different out here than it was as an undergraduate. There’s no pledgeship to teach you that, though maybe there should be. I forgive a lot of my brothers who have been distracted by life and maybe not felt what I have. I believe God will lead them where he needs them to be.

    For me, my fraternity gave me more as an undergrad than I can repay. I just set out live my life by the things I learned to believe in and to give back where I could. It has been both a struggle and more rewarding than I have a right to expect.

    Not just as an advisor, but with the number of people I’m able to influence in the world and the bigger things I’m able to accomplish… this isn’t a game anymore, and I love it. It’s like going from the minors to the show.

    I get this kid’s trepidation. He doesn’t think he’s deserving of the next level, but when the big league club calls you up, you go up. You still have a lot to learn and a long career to contribute. This is just the beginning. Accept the honor and keep earning your place every day of your life.

  2. Dennis – you make a very valid point. I think it is such a shame that a number of fraternity men thinks the brotherhood ends at graduation. The experience on the other side of graduation is often more rewarding and satisfying in my opinion. My hope is that guys realize the gift of fraternity is life-long – if they let it be…

  3. Solid response.

    I would add: Plegeship is not the end of the education process, it’s the beginning. It is only the tryout to see if you have the potential to become what your fraternity is about. Your whole time as an active is the actual educational period for you to really learn to become what your fraternity means and what mission it is calling you to do. Your time as an alumnus is when you actually go into the world and accomplish that mission, and even that is an always learning and improving process.

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