I have not been to every Lodge in America, but I am slowly on my way. As one could assume, there are vast differences between Alphas: the university, Greek culture, etc . Undergraduate Chi Psi members ask me how their Alpha compares to others, and they are surprised to hear that I have not found any significant differences between Alphas other than some trivial differences. Not surprisingly the majority of Chi Psis share a culture of “Chi Psi weirdness”.
Let’s define what weird really means. Dictionary.com says that weird is fantastic and bizarre. In my opinion, being weird is a good thing, something to celebrate. I have found that Chi Psi takes great joy in celebrating the weirdness of their members. When I first arrive to an Alpha, I have a slight feeling of isolation, a normal feeling for any individual to have when entering someone else’s home.
Then something “weird” happens. I hear the sound of techno being played as loud as it can at 10am while someone surfs Reddit while complaining about how much work they have to do.
Or there are a few brothers getting ready in the morning, making jokes filled with self-deprecating humor, weird inside jokes, and complaints about all the work they didn’t get done the night before. It is strange, I am not part of the conversation, nor am I on the inside to understand the context of the jokes, but there is something familiar about the conversation. It is one that I had many times before. The jokes, although not knowing context, are funny to me. I understand the laughter at the most basic level simply because I, too, am weird.
Later in the night, I hear the same song, coming from the same room, while the same someone surfs Reddit complaining about the work he should have done that day. I can do nothing but crack a smile. Lodge weirdness is alive and well.
I can always tell which members are the “old bros,” they are easy to spot because they are normally the weirdest of the group. Being weird is a good thing, it means that we are staying true to our values. Valuing diversity is crucial to maintaining the weirdness of an Alpha. There are so many skills I have learned from brothers who have lived some weird lives. Everyone brings their own local and cultural differences together, and they clash and mold together to become a mini-culture within Chi Psi.
It creates a really cool experience unparalleled to anything we will experience in our lives. Never will we be in such close proximity of people with such various backgrounds. Never will we be able to learn from so many teachers that share a common experience, a Brotherhood to develop young men into gentlemen.
Have you ever been home and made a joke that Brothers of your Alpha would find hilarious, and no one from home laughs? I am sorry to say, but Chi Psi has turned you into a weird bird. Chi Psi offers an experience so awesome that you can’t help but appear weird to others who haven’t had the same opportunity. The opposite of generic, Chi Psi somehow mystically creates a culture where people’s true self can grow. Weirdness is celebrated.
I feel bad for the other tens of thousands of fraternity men that do not get the same weird experience Chi Psi offers. I would hate to have a shallow and generic experience. Chi Psi pushed me to be a better man, to open up to experiences from other cultures, and to try new things with men I regard as Brothers.
It is really cool to experience all the different nuances from Alpha to Alpha, but is even cooler to know that every Alpha is weird. That’s why alumni come back. They can no longer be as weird as they were when they were undergraduates, but they can help the next generation by offering them expertise and knowledge.
So go out and enjoy your Brotherhood. If there is some weird passion you have, invite brothers along, teach them something new, let them teach you something new. Foster each others’ weirdness. Be fantastic and bizarre.