When I was in high school, my father shared with me some sagacious advice. He’s a member of Kappa Sigma and was trying to combat the negative stereotypes I was harboring against fraternities. You know the ones to which I’m referring: the reputation reinforced by Van Wilder, Animal House, and the drunken antics of some peers. I had no desire at all to join a fraternity. I was completely opposed to the idea and destined to remain forever a … PNM* (You almost said it, didn’t you!? Rude.).
Despite these feelings, my father understood the importance of fraternity. He had experienced the maturation and growth that derives from shared living experiences, late night bull sessions, and an organized social agenda. He never pushed Kappa Sigma, but he advocated as unwaveringly as he could for my membership in some sort of fraternal organization.
Like a notable portion of our Brothers, I found Chi Psi, fell for the ways in which it defied my preconceived expectations for fraternities, and joined as quickly as I could. And more advice followed.
“Brad, you’re going to meet a lot of guys in Chi Psi. And you’re going to be friends with most of them. Forty-five percent will be your good friends, and you’ll maintain that friendship throughout your lives. You’ll grab a beer occasionally, attend their wedding, and enjoy their successes. The second 45% won’t be as close to you, but they’re still your Brothers, and you’ll learn a lot from interacting with them. There’s going to be about 5% that you just won’t like…that’s life, and you’ll get over it. And you’re going to meet 4 or 5 guys that are going to be your best friends for life. These guys are your 4:00 AM Club. When you need something at 4:00 AM, they’ll answer the call and get you what you need without judgment. I’m talking about your best friends.”
This prophecy has come true in ways that are, frankly, kind of eerie. I had no idea my father was so smart, and no one needs to tell him I said that.
My membership in Chi Psi has afforded me thousands of Brothers. My position with the Central Office has allowed me to foster many dozens of friendships outside Alpha Sigma. In Chi Psi, I’m lucky to have several good friends. And a select few of these are in the 4:00 AM Club. These men have celebrated with me. They’ve seen me cry, and they’ve seen me pump my fist in the air. They know my secrets, my goals, and my passions. They share in these, and while we may disagree on many things, we agree without hesitation on the strength of our friendship and its longevity. There’s no agreement…no special treaty that assures me a listening ear on the other end of the phone line at 4:00 AM. It’s just understood. It’s respected. It’s incredibly important to me.
I’m grateful for all of these relationships and appreciate the power of an organization that can provide them. I know that our organization has provided a 4:00 AM Club to many, and I’m glad that my peers have that listening ear available when they most need it. I’m proud of Chi Psi for the ways in which it combats negative stereotypes, and I’m thankful for a family that supports my membership in our family of gentlemen.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy, and friendship-rich Thanksgiving!
*PNM means “potential new member,” and it’s the acronym that’s replaced an older, less complimentary nomer for those students who have yet to affiliate with a fraternal organization.